Tutor/Mentor Connection

Connect knowledge, volunteers, youth and make a difference.

Hi Everybody,
I just wanted to invite everyone who would like to be involved in the planning of the May 2010 Leadership and Networking Conference, which will be held at Loyola University Chicago's Rogers Park Campus, to post questions, ideas and suggestions HERE. It takes a village to make the conference happen and we want everybody to have their voice heard in the planning of it.

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As we head into the May conference, I encourage you all to be thinking of the conference as part of a year-round strategy, with events every three months that draw attention to the work being done in tutor/mentor programs, and that draw volunteers and donors directly to the different programs in the city. People can use the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, the Chicago Program Links, or the Agenda and Speaker lists for each conference, to learn more about existing programs and what they do.

Thus, a first goal of the planning committee, is to find ways to increase the number of people, like our intern Jordan Merlo, and like conference speaker Eric Davis, who are writing about the conferences so people in their own networks know about it, and are motivated to learn more about how they can get involved with tutoring/mentoring programs.

As more people use blogs, twitter (#tmcon), Facebook and other social media to talk about their own tutoring and mentoring, and to point to "hubs" of information like the Tutor/Mentor Connection, this will generate more public awareness and more support for every tutor/mentor program.

Thus, goal number 1 is to recruit people who help build this visibility.

Goal number 2 is to help T/MC find some sponsors who will pay for the work we do to organize the conferences, and the expenses of the conferences. We need sponsors who will provide $15,000 per conference. Nicole has been collecting information about Mentoring Partnerships in other cities and states. Many spend more than $40,000 on their conferences. Thus they can attract more people, and build more visibility for the mentoring and tutoring in their areas. We need to expand our ability to do this in Chicago.

Goal number 3 is to attract a range of workshop speakers and panel members who can talk about the issues on this list.

In the 1990s we organized Best Practice Awards, which were presented at the May conference. These were for volunteer recruitment, volunteer training, activities, communications, etc. The award process encouraged other programs to come to Chicago for the conference, and it added to the library of ideas that T/MC was able to share. We stopped doing this after about 3 years because we did not have the money to market the awards, and did not have a committee of peers to judge them fairly. However, the idea is a good one if a sponsor and team of volunteers would take the lead.

Goal number 4 is related to number one. We want to draw more people to forums like this and encourage more interaction around the issues that are important to every tutor/mentor program. Prior to the Nov. 09 conference, Nicole did a survey asking what the most important issues were. No surprise. Funding was #1. Manpower #2. You can see the surveys and comment on them here.

If we can attract more people to the conference, and to forums like this, we can find more people to help share the work, and to do things that we don't have the capacity to do right now. If we do this well, we can help each tutor/mentor program in Chicago get more ideas and resources that they can use in a flexible manner, based on their own program design and vision, to help connect youth and volunteer tutors/mentors.

The Tutor/Mentor Connection is an extremely small organization. The more you help us build the conference, and build public awareness and involvement in tutor/mentor programs, the more you are helping your own program meet its goals.

Note: You don't need to be a member of a tutor/mentor program to be a volunteer with the conference committee, or to be a blogger or volunteer with the Tutor/Mentor Connection. You don't need to be in Chicago to do this work, or to use the ideas that we share. Just join in the discussion and add your time, talent and creativity.
Hello Everyone!
The May 2010 Tutor/Mentor Conference is shaping up nicely. We already have a number of workshops and keynotes booked:
- James Garborino, a professor of psychology at Loyola-University Chicago will be giving the morning keynote on Thursday morning, May 27th. He wrote the book, "Lost Boys," and will talk about young men and violence.
- Tracy Swartz of the Chicago Tribune RedEye and Phillip Thompson of the Mash, will be talking on how the media treats violence and how it relates to tutoring and mentoring.
- Scott McFarland of the Serve Illinois Commission will be giving a workshop about partnerships between tutoring and mentoring program and Serve Illinois, the state of Illinois's Commission on Volunteerism.
- Katie Cusack and Sandy Reyes of Gads Hill Center will be doing a workshop about "Thinking outside the Box: Creative Ways to Foster Youth Development.
- Jordan Hestermann of Becoming "We the People," will be giving two workshops: One on leadership in tutoring and mentoring organizations, and the other on how tutoring and mentoring organizations are fighting poverty.
- Cynthia Townsend of Temple to the Classroom, will be giving a workshop on "Achieving more Effective Tutoring and Mentoring."
- A panel discussion on how tutoring and mentoring organizations can better get media attention is in the works.
- Leap Learning Systems is also putting together a workshop or two on brain development and learning disabilities
- As always, there will be a volunteer recruitment and retention strategies and a student recruitment and retention strategies panel.
If you would like to do a workshop or be a panelist, you can leave a reply to this post, and/or fill out a workshop proposal online at: http://www.tutormentorconference.org/forms/presenter_form.asp
Thanks so much everybody!

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