Thursday, November 18, 2021

MapsCorps - another data source

I've used this blog for more than 12 years to show uses of maps in stories that attract attention to important issues and to places where people need extra help from volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs and much more.

Here's a resource to add to your collection.  I've known about MapsCorps for a couple of years but had not seen their community mapping pages.  

If you go to and scroll down on the home page you'll see this map of Chicago.

Next click on any of the Chicago community areas shown in red to open a map focused specifically on that area. I clicked on Washington Park, which is just West of Hyde Park on Chicago's South side.

The community area is shown and you can zoom in and out to get a closer look.  On the left side bar are categories of information shown on the map.  I opened the "childcare and schools" category, then clicked on each category to see what would show on the map. When I clicked "other" the Chicago Youth Programs site was shown.  The pop-up provides an address and phone number but not a link to the website.  

Open each of the community areas and you'll find a similar map, but different information will be shown. It's a great resource. I just wish they had a category for "tutor/mentor" program, and that more of the programs operating in the city were showing up on the maps. 

If you use this resource, along with data from other platforms (see this article, and others like it on this blog) you can build an understanding of community needs, available  youth serving organizations, and assets in the area who might provide volunteers, technology, ideas and dollars.

All of this can be included in blog articles, videos, PDF presentations and more, with a goal of supporting existing programs and helping new ones grow where needed.

I learned about this resource in a webinar hosted the the To&Through Project. In the Tweet below you can find a link to the video and learn about this, and the map resources provided by LISC Chicago.
Universities and high schools should be teaching young people to create such map stories and show how they need to be repeated over-and-over for many years in order to build attention and convince leaders to provide the needed resources to the neighborhood. 

A blog like this one, and the Tutor/Mentor blog, which I started in 2005, should be found on various websites in every community area of Chicago, its suburbs, and in other cities. Note that I've written these for more than 12 years and have led the Tutor/Mentor Connection since 1993. Until others build and sustain such a long-term commitment and consistent flow of stories too few will respond to the needs of kids and families in each area where map indicators show there is a need.

It's the only way we will ever cut through all of the noise and attract needed attention and resources to high poverty areas of Chicago and other cities.

I'm on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.  Find links here.  Let's connect.

I'll be 75 this December.  You can support my work by making a small contribution. Visit this page

However, what's more important, is that someone from one of Chicago's universities steps forward to take ownership of my archive so it remains available as a teaching tool and inspiration beyond my own lifetime. A wealthy donor could make that happen.  

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