This article quotes Malcolm Gladwell saying "if you want to shine, put in 10,000 hours".
It goes on to say "The greatest athletes, entrepreneurs, musicians and scientists emerge only after spending at least three hours a day for a decade mastering their chosen field."
The map at the right shows nearly 180 locations where great leaders are needed to operate volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs that are constantly improving their ability to transform the lives of youth and adults.
How many of the leaders and key staff or board members have 10,000 hours of experience learning to lead a tutor/mentor program?
Our maps show that there are many neighborhoods and zip codes in Chicago and the suburbs with no tutor/mentor programs. How many more are needed? How many more leaders are needed? How many incorporate the "mentoring to careers" vision of the Tutor/Mentor Connection? In the 25 cities of the US with youth populations of 100,000 or more, how many more tutor/mentor programs and experienced leaders are needed?
The chart at the right illustrates the K-16 path young people take to finish school and begin jobs and careers. What will it take to convince industry, philanthropic and government policy makers that we need systems of leadership development that begin to prepare people to lead tutor/mentor programs in high poverty areas when those people are in middle school and high school!
Imagine service learning programs in city and suburban schools engaging youth in research that enables them to learn about poverty and its impact on learning and aspirations. Imagine if the same programs were providing service opportunities and were teaching youth to make videos, write blogs and organize social media communities aimed at building greater understanding of the challenges faced by inner city kids and aimed at generating a flow of volunteers and operating dollars to the different tutor/mentor programs operating in different neighborhoods.
If students practice this and learn from their service they can log 10,000 hours before they are in their mid-twenties and they can log another 10,000 hours as they move from that stage of life till they depart this worldly existence.
Everyone subscribed to this Ning community can be part of this learning and information sharing and can apply the ideas to building a network of experienced leaders for youth development and social problem solving programs in their own communities.
As Gladwell says, "it is practice, however, that makes perfect. The best way to achieve international stardom is to spend 10,000 hours honing your skills."