Tutor/Mentor Connection

Connect knowledge, volunteers, youth and make a difference.

As the title of this post indicates, this is my first week with T/MC, and as such, I will begin my blog posts with an introduction to who I am as well as the networks that I am currently involved with.  For starters, I am an intern from the Adler School of Professional Psychology where I am a first year student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program.  This program emphasizes a systematic way of thinking, and to identify problems not just individually, but to be able to look at them on a larger scale, as there are typically many different individuals that are involved with any problem.  After doing some research into the OHATS program, I find that the thinking behind it is much the same as a systemic way of problem solving, in the sense that instead of focusing on the problem using many, individual groups, OHATS is attempting to create a mesosystem that encompasses these groups and unify them to solve a common societal issue.  I had never realized that my coursework would so closely mirror the ideology of T/MC.

With that revelation being stated, I will continue on with my introduction.

I completed my undergraduate work in Psychology and Biology at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign in 2004.  I became a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity while attending the university, and still associate with that organization to this day.  While attending the university, I worked for the America Reads/America Counts program, tutoring children with learning disabilities in a local elementary school, which ultimately inspired my interest in working with T/MC Cabrini Connections.  I currently live in the Rockford, IL area, where I have been involved through my previous employment via DCFS with the school systems there. I was a case manager for specialized foster children, and worked closely with a foster parent alliance group that met weekly to discussthe needs of the foster children in the area.  At that time I had wondered if other foster care programs in the area had similar foster parent groups, and if so, what were they discussing?  Yet another instance where a more systemic way of addressing the problems they faced could have been useful, as I'm sure they were not unique to this particular group of foster parents.  Many of these problems did focus around the education of the foster children, as they were typically falling through the cracks with few people to advocate for them, and few resources to utilize.

These past experiences have gotten me excited to work for a program such as this one, and hopefully I will be able to contribute and to spread the word to others about this program.

Below is my network map of resources, but it is the first one I have ever made, so I am sure that are details that I have overlooked and links that I have missed.


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Comment by Bradley Troast on February 1, 2011 at 9:01pm
Welcome to T/MC, Joe. We still need to find a time to sit down together...
Comment by Daniel Bassill on January 12, 2011 at 11:37am

Thanks for joining  us Joseph.  I attended an open  house atThe Adler School of Professional Psychology at 17 N. Dearborn last night and had the opportunity to see what a great facility it is and how committed its leaders and faculty are to social justice.


As I look at your network map I see many opportunities to help groups grow who use the T/MC as a resource in their own efforts to create social justice, improve education outcomes and build a stronger workforce representing people from diverse backgrounds.

Here's a couple of articles I encourage you to read.
Collective Impact on Stanford Social Innovation Review - One quote says "Collective impact requires insteadthat funders support a long-term process of social change withoutidentifying any particular solution in advance. They must be willingto let grantees steer the work and have the patience to stay with aninitiative for years, recognizing that social change can come from thegradual improvement of an entire system over time, not just from asingle breakthrough by an individual organization."  One of the programs this article focuses on is operating on a $1.5 million annual budget. This blog articleshows how T/MC operates on less than $200k but serves one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country.


Also read Constellation Collaboration: A model for multi-organizational partnership.  I don't think any single organization, especially one as small as T/MC, can get everyone to follow their lead in a city with as many silos and self-interested organizations. However, we might be able to encourage a the growth of a constellation of organizations who share a common vision and who are supported by a network of organizations that include the T/MC.


During your six months I hope you can show folks in Rockford, or in Champaign/Urbana, or at the Adler School, how they might include T/MC ideas, and help provide funding, so that they are able to use these ideas in their own efforts in the communities they serve.  If we can find a small group of benefactors who fund our efforts the way similar benefactors fund the Adler School and the various Institutes within it, we can have a much greater impact in future years.


These benefactors are people who are part of the networks that each of  us working with the Tutor/Mentor Connection are part of.

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