Tutor/Mentor Connection

Connect knowledge, volunteers, youth and make a difference.

The November 2011 conference was held on Friday, Nov. 4 at the Metcalfe Federal Building, 77 W. Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. If you attended please offer your feedback. You can also offer feedback in this discussion on Linked IN.

Conference Objectives:

  • Draw leaders, volunteers, and stakeholders from more than 150 agencies together for networking and information sharing. Read this blog article to expand your network-building abilities.

  • Draw business and philanthropy partners into ongoing learning and partnership with tutor/mentor leaders

  • Provide a vision for comprehensive, long-term mentoring that leads youth to careers
  • Build trust and relationships among stakeholders to generate partnerships and information sharing during the months between each conference.
  • Build awareness of online learning and networking resources and motivate a growing number of participants to use these tools for capacity improvement

Conference Workshops:

  • Workshops should focus on ways volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs can improve quality, build capacity and succeed for the long-term.
  • Topics include volunteer recruitment and training, learning strategies for adolescents and teens, fundraising, evaluation and management activities. See our list of suggested workshop topics that have been requested by participants at previous Conferences.
  • Speakers are encouraged to stay for the entire day of the conference. They are not charged a registration fee.

Some of the questions/topics we seek to cover in each conference:

  1. What is mentoring, tutoring and how do these combine as school-to-work concepts?
  2. What are our students and volunteers telling us? - "What does it take to make a difference?"
  3. What do leaders tell us. "What does it take to succeed?"
  4. What are communities doing to build more and better tutor/mentor programs?
  5. Who are some of the groups doing the best work that might be copied?

Please join this discussion and help us meet these goals so we can help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs throughout the Chicago region, and in other places.

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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you to everyone who attended. Thank you to Mark Duhon of Highsight for pitching in at the last minute to host an evaluation discussion until the scheduled speaker was able to get to the conference.





Welcome :

Linda Stewart,
MENTOR, National Mentoring Partnership, Senior Director of Outreach, http://www.mentoring.org

Daniel F. Bassill, Founder, Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, http://www.tutormentorexchange.net




Challenges of Non Profits - Panel Discussion of Tutor/Mentor Program Executive Directors, focusing on Fundraising in difficult times, Managing a small NPO, Emergency management of an NPO.


Panel includes:  Jen Sontag, Executive Director, East Village Youth Program, Virginia Spritzer, Executive Director, Working in the Schools

Moderated by Jordan Hestermann, Executive Director of Becoming We the People


City as Classroom: an interactive workshop, presented by Eric Davis, Founder/Director, Global Citizenship Experience High School


Best Practices: Recruitment and Engagement, presented by Racquel Fields, Garrick Charles and Eboni Prince-Currie, Program Specialists with After School Matters
After School Matters will present a conference session on "Best Practices: Recruitment and Engagement" from out-of-school time programming that other program providers will be able to tailor towards there own programming needs


Using National Service to Expand Your Program. Hosted by Scott McFarland, Illinois Commission on Volunteering and Community Service
This session is intended for program leaders who might be interested in using National Service to support their program. The session will start with a brief overview of Learn and Serve, AmeriCorps, and Senior Corps presented by Scott McFarland. The session will then move into a panel format, facilitated by Scott McFarland, where each of the Members present will give a brief description of their program and what they do on a daily basis. The audience will then be able to ask questions of the panel.

Nurturing the Art of Self-Learning, presented by Andrius Kulikauskas, Self Learners Network
We ask ourselves 12 questions that help us grow forever (What is your deepest value? What question do you seek to answer?...) We then consider art projects that invite others to explore with us deep ideas in Math and other subjects they wish to learn. (See workshop descriptions for more detail).




Improving Your Board Of Directors, presented by Raja Baptiste, RNB Consulting Services. The workshop will focus on the creation and development of a Board of Directors which will enable an agency to grow and sustain its mission through the years.


The Right Mentoring Option for the Right Mentor, presented by Sue Sowle, Project SOAR at McGaw YMCA.   Description of four different models of mentoring developed to fit different types of volunteers. This workshop will explore the four models and their evolution as well as discuss ways to problem solve when a good mentor doesn't fit your program design.


What Results Story Can You Tell, presented by Debra Natenshon, CEO, The Center for What Works

There is a clear need to focus on outcomes for the kids we serve, yet defining success and specific targets remains elusive to many smaller tutoring and mentoring organizations. Join this hour long discussion on results. You'll leave with a clearer understanding of how to define success and set targets for your key clients.



Faith-Based Youth Mentoring & Personal Development, discussion led by Steve Braxton, Program Manager-Mentorship & Jobs at Lawndale Christian Legal Center and Mitchel Scholar, Faith-based leader, Minister and lead Coordinator for Lamp-a youth mentoring. This workshop will describe a holistic approach to mentoring youth 15-24 to help and assist them with social actions issues, and social media life challenges. Designed to help reduce crime, violence, and gang activity. 


Strategic Planning - Ways to engage volunteers and build for long-term success, presented by Toni Wheatle, President of Wheatle Peart. This session will provide several strategies for retaining and engaging volunteers. It is vital that organizations understand the dynamics of volunteerism and why people choose to volunteer. Once they understand that component, then organizations will be able to engaged them.



Lunch and Networking



Afternoon Keynote:

Tramaine Montel Ford, actor, New York City. Alumni of tutor/mentor program in Chicago.
Tramaine will show how his first taste of acting was with the Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor program in Chicago. http://www.thetramaineexperience.com/


Building Business and Professional Support for Tutor/Mentor Programs throughout an Urban Area, presented by Daniel Cotter, Chair of the Executive Committee of Layers Lend  A Hand to Youth

Mr. Cotter will talk of the way lawyers have built the Lend A Hand Program and raise more than $2.5 million for tutor/mentor program. Show that this could happen in other industries and that in a May conference we could be giving recognition for what is happening in various industries in similar ways to how LAH gives recognition to people in the legal community during their annual lunch. 

Collective Action-Planning Ahead. National Mentoring Month, May 2012, presented by Daniel F. Bassill, President of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and Tutor/Mentor Connection. Bassill's presentation will focus attention on events and actions taking place from December 2011 through May 2012 that create opportunities for tutor/mentor programs and supporters to work collectively to expand the resources available to support each volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring program operating in Chicago. 



Volunteer and Student Recruitment, Training, and Weekly Support, Panel Discussion.  Panel includes
Joel Newman, Director of Community Partnerships, Big Brothers Big Sister of Mississippi Valley

Sarah Bird, East Village Youth Program

Christy Beighe-Byrne, Director of Mentor and Volunteer Services, Chicago Youth Centers
Whitney Capps, Teen Program Manager at Step Up Women's Network in



Understanding and Applying Elements of Effective Practice of MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, presented by Dr. Clara Carter, former Director of Training for the Maryland Mentoring Partnership. Learn more about Dr. Carter.
Mentoring partnerships and organization across the country are united behind a common set of standards for high quality mentoring programs. These are called the Elements of Effective Practice. http://www.mentoring.org/program_resources/elements_and_toolkits


Engaging Tutors, Volunteers, Parents, and Teachers, presented by Jordan Hesterman, Executive Director of Becoming We the People

This workshop will give participants tools for better communication with tutors, volunteers and teachers. It will include a discussion of ways to engage different stakeholders, build their involvement and retain them longer.


Implementing Mentoring STEM Enrichment Programs,  presented by Bernard Key, technologist, Key Link Technologies.   This workshop will discuss how to incorporate Technology and STEM enrichment and mentoring initiatives in schools, faith based, park districts and other community organizations.





Second Afternoon Workshop Sessions

Public Relations for the Nonprofit Organizations, presented by Natalie Wahlberg, Director of Public Relations, Becoming We the People. This session will include a how-to guide for writing dynamic promotional material, disseminating it through social and print media, and maintaining a social media presence.


Building better data and understanding, a discussion hosted by Bart Phillips, President of CB Tutors


A Positive Approach to Mentoring Urban Youth, presented by Guillermo Gutierrez, B.U.I.L.D, Inc. Participants will have an understanding of Urban Culture. Through this understanding the group will identify individual and institutional assets allowing them to take on an asset based approach to the interaction with youth as they mentor them from the margins to the main stream.

Use of Mobile Marketing by Small Nonprofit Organizations, discussion led by Brian Banks, Chicago District Mananger, AdvaTEXT.com


Mapping for Justice

Tutor/Mentor Interns

Tutor/Mentor Exchange

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