Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mapping Strategies in Response to Baltimore Riots

It was easy for me to do a Google search and find a map showing the widespread rioting in Baltimore.

I did a search to find a map showing tutor/mentor programs in Baltimore, and while I found program lists hosted by Johns Hopkins University and by the Montgomery County Network of Care, I did not see a map showing where existing programs are located, or being used to mobilize leaders to help mentor-rich programs grow in all high poverty areas of the region.

I posted a blog article this morning showing how cities like Chicago and probably others have never had a comprehensive battle plan to distribute programs, resources and opportunities into the high poverty areas of their cities. I also focused on this in the eMail newsletter I shared today.

I've been piloting a map-based tutor/mentor program locator since 2004, which not only shows where existing tutor/mentor programs are located, but breaks this down by age group served, and type of program. It also includes layers of information showing indicators of need, such as poverty and poorly performing schools. And it shows who should be helping (assets), such as banks, churches, universities, etc. It even has layers showing political districts.

I posted this 1998 presentation on Slideshare this week, showing work I've been trying to do in Chicago to support the growth of mentor-rich programs in all high poverty neighborhood. The map-directory is just one part of a comprehensive on-going strategy....which never has been consistently funded or supported by civic leaders in Chicago.

I encourage leaders in other cities to consider this as a NEW idea which they could implement with much greater impact than I've had in Chicago. I'd also like to find volunteers, partners and benefactors who'd help me upgrade the program locator and other projects I'm working on.

I noticed that Johns Hopkins University Hospital is in the middle of the riot area. In the 1990s they were the lead hospital in a Hospital Youth Mentoring Network. I attended a conference they hosted in 2002 and they attended the Tutor/Mentor Conference a year earlier. I'd like to connect with someone who'd bring the Tutor/Mentor Institute into the university, where the ideas I've been building for over 40 years can be taught to a generation of future leaders.

Monday, April 20, 2015

15 US Cities Where Poverty Growing Fastest

This map is from a Brookings.edu 2014 research brief, titled "The Growth and Spread of Concentrated Poverty, 2000 to 2008-2012".

Every circle on the map represents a community that could adopt the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy, supported by the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.

Another use of Interactive Map - Food Insecurity Map

One of the goals of this blog is to showcase innovative uses of maps which could be duplicated in efforts to support the growth of youth tutor, mentor and learning programs in high poverty areas. Visit this link and browse the Feeding America site and Food Insecurity map.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Black Male Achievement Funders Map - Excellent!

If you browse articles on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC blog, I've posted maps that show where volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs and other forms of learning support are needed, based on data like poverty, poorly performing schools, violence and health indicators. In a few articles I've indicated a need for maps showing where funding was being distributed, so more organizations and activists could use that information to encourage continued funding where it is now landing, but to increase funding in areas where more, or better, tutor/mentor programs are needed.

Thus I'm really pleased to encourage you to look at the Funders Map posted on the BMAfunders.org web site. BMA seeks to support organizations that offer Black men and boys in the U.S. greater access to the structural supports and opportunities needed to thrive. Thus, this map focuses on funding of those types of organizations.

I encourage you to browse the map and learn to use it. Read this Forbes article to learn more about funding of BMA programs.

If you zoom in you'll see grants distributed in some neighborhoods but not available in others. I'm not sure if this platform yet has the functionality of the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which enables map views (see right) to be created that show existing tutor/mentor programs in high poverty area. However it has a level of visual excellence that the Program Locator does not have and it has captured donor information, which the Program Locator does not do.

In the Forbes.com article is this quote: "George Soros, founder of Open Society Foundations, noted in the 2012 report, “this is a generational problem. It demands a long-term commitment.” I'd like to see an army of "story tellers" using this platform to educate donors and policy makers so the commitment and flexible operating funds are continued for a decade or two, and extended to every high poverty neighborhood (and to other minorities and girls).

I think more can be done.

What I feel needs to be created are a set of maps. First, concept maps need to be created that show the supports youth in poverty need as they move from pre school to jobs and careers. This map is an example.

Depending on the level of poverty, segregation and isolation in a neighborhood a child will need more or less of the supports shown on this map, and they need them starting at preschool. The nodes on this map have the ability to link to web libraries which contain links to web sites related to each node. Thus, people interested in learning about technology programs focused on middle school youth should be able to look at web sites of organizations already doing that work, or showing who funds that work.

If the blueprint shows the types of youth serving organizations needed at each age level,the map should show organizations doing that work, and what neighborhoods they serve. Thus, if tutor/mentor programs for middle school kids are important, you should be able to search the map to see if such programs are available in all high poverty neighborhoods, and if the are being funded by multiple donors.

You should also be able to look at program web sites and see blueprints like the one above, with highlighted areas showing what part of the work each organization is doing.

The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator was designed with this level of functionality. Thus you can look at layers of information, showing locations of various types of tutor/mentor programs, by elementary school, middle school and high school service levels.

I've not had funds to update the Program Locator's technology or data since 2009, yet it still represents a useful resource. I was able to create these map stories, using it. However, unless I can find partners and resources to improve the technology experience, and update the data, this will become a great vision, but useless tool.

I've reached out to BMA and similar groups to introduce my work, and to invite partnership. This has not yet led to anything where I could say "my ideas are included in their work" and their "network is supporting my work".

I'll keep trying. I'll also keep pointing to good work being done by others.