Thursday, October 1, 2015

Resources for Community Development Planning

This blog, and the Tutor/Mentor Blog, are primarily focused on helping mentor-rich, non-school, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs grow in areas of high poverty. By "grow" we mean first, there needs to be some organizational structure/team that operates a youth program in an area of the city and suburbs where such programs are needed. Second, we mean such a program is able to attract talent and resources, and is constantly learning from its own results, and from what others share on their own web sites. Third, such programs engage youth, volunteers and community members in on-going efforts to understand WHY such programs are needed, and WAYS the program and its members can help the youth in their programs move more successfully through school, and into adult lives. That means we want the result of what we do to help kids be working in jobs with livable wages once they are entering their mid-twenties.

There are many stories on the Tutor/Mentor Blog that point to information related to these goals. Most of the stories on this blog focus on uses of maps to make sure programs are available in all the neighborhoods where they are most needed. Many stories also show uses of concept maps, as a tool for communicating ideas and strategy.

Below is one resource that we've made available to planners. In this pdf the number of youth, age 6-17, who are under the poverty level, are shown. Thus, if a neighborhood has 1000 kids in poverty, it might need 20 tutor/mentor programs that each serve 50 kids to serve 100% of those kids. That's not a realistic expectation, but having no programs or just a few, is an undesirable level of program availability.

Chicago Community Areas_Youth in Poverty Analysis by Daniel F. Bassill

If you follow the links on the side of this blog, and scroll through stories written since 2011 you'll see that I point to other mapping platforms. The Program Locator that the Tutor/Mentor Connection created in 2008 only shows known tutor/mentor programs, and uses poverty data and school performance information to show indicators of where programs are needed. It also has a section showing assets, such as banks, drug stores, faith groups, colleges and hospitals, who could be part of neighborhood planning groups in different community areas. Unfortunately, I've not been able to update this since 2010, and recently error codes on the database make the site un-usable. I'm looking for help to fix this.

That means the other mapping platforms I point to need to be used to create map stories showing where tutor/mentor programs are needed, and you'll need to add your own information showing existing (if any) programs already operating. The Chicago Programs Links library is one resource you might use to identify programs you could add to your map.

I keep finding new mapping resources. When I do, I write a blog article, like I am now. And also add the resource to this section of my web library.

Today I was browsing through the Quality of Life Planning section on the LISC-Chicago web site and found this Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 page on the Chicago Community Trust web site. This points to a City of Chicago’s 2013 Citywide Retail Market Analysis, which divides the city into 16 business districts.

For each district there is a map, along with demographic and business data. Community planners could use these maps, along with my maps, and map views created using other platforms, to build a case for more non-school tutoring, mentoring, learning, jobs and recreation programs, along with a strategy of engagement, identifying assets and leaders who need to be involved in building on-going visibility and a consistent flow of funding to the neighborhood, to support the growth of all of the organizations that planners show are needed.

If you know of other resources like this please share. More importantly, if you know of ways communities are connecting on-line for deeper learning and more frequent interaction, complementing the on-the ground planning and traditional meetings, share that information, too.

If you're an organizer, or a teacher, I encourage you to use stories like this to stimulate discussion of work that needs to be done to make neighborhoods safe and great places to raise kids and build families.

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