One of the goals of our Social Network Analysis is to find a way to show how the networks of kids living in highly segregated, high poverty, inner city neighborhood changes over many years as a result of being part of a tutor/mentor program like Cabrini Connections. In this web site, Bob Pearlman shows that "who you know" is more important than what you know. He points to a Silicon Valley study by AT Kearney, which shows how kids living in poverty don't have people in their lives modeling college and technology careers, thus they are less likely to pursue those careers.
Thus, if we can create a SNA survey that shows how frequently kids are in contact with people who went to college, hold jobs in Science, Math, Technology, Engineering, health care, law, etc., we can ask our teens to take this at the beginning of each year. Comparison maps from year to year, should show an expanding network created as a result of being part of a tutor/mentor program.
This article is titled "A Social Capital Framework for the Study of Institutional Agents & Their Role in the Empowerment of Low-status Students & Youth". It provides many reasons to support the growth of mentor-rich non-school tutor/mentor programs saying "To alter the destinies of low-status students and youth, is not only to empower them with institutional support, but also to empower them with a critical consciousness and the means by which to transform themselves, their communities, and society as a whole."
If we can connect with people doing this type of research and with people who are working to build a universe of mentor rich programs that are full of "empowerment agents" we can find people to help develop tools that demonstrate the growth of a youth and volunteer network as a result of on-going and multi-year participation in a tutor/mentor program. That would be a step toward finding the funding to staff such programs with leaders who are "empowerment agents themselves" and who can teach volunteers to take the same role.
I posted this discussion in April 2010 and point to it frequently in my network building. I've still not found a partner/volunteer and/or investor tho help build a tool that youth organizations could use to map changes in the network of youth and volunteers as a result of on-going participation in an organized non-school program. I've also not found any web sites showing others doing this. If any of you want to help on this project, or know of other examples, please share by posting on this site.
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