network (16)

Think of idea sharing as exploding fireworks

12637706258?profile=originalI started this forum in 2007 when platforms like Ning were a new way to meet, connect and share ideas.  While a few people still join every year the forum has not been very active for a few years.

However, I still use it to archive work done in the past and to maintain connections for those who did join.

I created this graphic recently to show how an idea I or others launch with a post, like this one, explodes into a network of people who we know, or who are also part of the forum.

What you do to share this post in your own networks is similar to how new explosions of fire works emerge from the initial bomb bust, one after another.  In network building these represent an idea being blasted into larger and larger networks of people.  

I used this graphic in this article. Take a look and share it with others.

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Archive of Twitter posts using Wakelet

12637705895?profile=original I post messages daily intended to draw visitors to my blogs and use hashtags like #tutor #mentor #learning to narrow the focus.

This week I learned about Wakelet which is a platform to archive and share collections of Tweets, based on specific #hashtags.

This graphic shows five collections on my page that I created in just a few minutes. 

See this in this blog article.

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Since the mid 1990s I've tried to visualize my ideas and strategies using PowerPoint and other drawing tools. I've been uploading these to slide share and other platforms for past few years. Here's one example.

Problem-Solving Strategy-Explanation and Overview by Daniel F. Bassill

View these to expand your own understanding and use these in group meetings to help others understand these ideas and innovate ways to apply them in your own community, or support my own efforts here in Chicago.
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A few months ago I read this Civic Enterprises report, titled  Untapped Potential: Filling the Promise of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Bigs and Littles they Represent.  If you're a current or former BIG, or have experienced the feelings outlined in this report from your involvement in a different mentoring program, I encourage you to read this report (PDF), and add your talent to our efforts.</p>

According to this report, "Youth who are part of the mentoring provided by Big Brothers, Big Sisters do benefit in a variety of ways, but many face "challenges of ruptured families and unsafe neighborhoods, bad influences from adults and peers in their lives, and schools marked by low expectations and insufficient student supports". These challenges are greater obstacles to successful youth development and movement to college and jobs than what a single mentor alone is able to overcome."

Many of the BIGs feel that their experience has motivated them to do more to mitigate these challenges. This report summarizes those feelings and suggests strategies that Biggs could take.  Many of our volunteers at Cabrini Connections experience the same feelings. I'm sure this is true in many other programs, too.

<b>As your read this, I encourage you to read the collaboration strategies on the site.</b> If you're one of those
BIGs who wants to do more to help these kids, join with us in events aimed at building greater public awareness, better understanding of tutoring/mentoring strategies, and a greater flow of operating dollars and volunteers to all of the neighborhoods, and programs, where kids and volunteers can connect.

Here are some highlights of focus group discussions with more than 557 adult volunteers (Bigs) and 400 youth (Littles) :

Overall the "Big" experience profoundly changes the volunteer's perspectives on the lives of at-risk youth. More than four out of five
BIGs (84%) said their experience has changed the way they look at
the challenges that at-risk youth face a great deal, or a fair amount.

Over half of the
BIGss surveyed (56%) said they worry that their Littles are not getting the education they will need to support themselves as adults.

More than one out of three (37%) of
BIGs said that not having enough to do after school was a barrier to their Littles' future success.

Seven out of 10
BIGs said that kids having more access to positive role models like coaches and teachers (73 percent) and role models like BIGs (69%) would improve childrens' chances for success a lot.

Four out of five
BIGs *82%) said their experience as a BIG leaves them feeling like they wish they could do more to h elp their Littles and children like them.

Seven of 10
BIGs (69%) said that they would definitely or consider helping encourage more adults to help disadvantaged children in some way

Four out of five *82%) believe that
BIGs working together can make a very significant or significant impact.

BIG said, "Why go to the government.? This country isn't designed for that. It's about all of us volunteering and making it a better place."

More than 78% said that encouraging other individuals to become more involved in directly helping children was more important than working to change public policy.

<b>there were more than 245,000 active mentors involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2009. </b> Think of how many have been involved over the past 30 years!

Imagine if just a small portion of these volunteers took on some of the leadership and organizing roles suggested in this report, or suggested in the Leadership and Collaboration strategies suggested by the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

It does not matter what city you live in. You can connect with each other, and with us, on this forum, or on forums you create. Let's put the potential of this report into action. Let's start now.

Visit and support the Chicago volunteer recruitment efforts of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Visit and take a lead at bringing Bigs and BBBS programs from all over the Midwest to the May or November Tutor/Mentor Conferences held in Chicago.

Visit http;// and see how you can map locations of tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, or your own community, and use the maps as part of an outreach campaign intended to help more volunteers connect with kids in well-organized programs in Chicago and
throughout the country.

<b>Finaly, read the leadership ideas on the and enlist your business, college, faith group, professional group and/or hospital network as leaders and resource providers to this mobilization.</b>


Together mentors from many mentoring programs can do more to help inner-city kids have the support network they need to overcome the challenges of poverty. Let's connect in 2011 for the benefit of these kids.

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Unleashing your personal power



This is a graphic that I include in many articles I write, illustrating the role individuals can take in reaching out to people they know to draw them to information we share on our web sites and to tutor/mentor program locations where they can be volunteers,  leaders, donors, etc.  I am speaking to a group of students from Governors State University tonight (4/5/2011) and at Loyola University  on Thursday (4/8/2011) and created this pdf essayto try to illustrate the ways they and others can help tutor/mentor programs grow.


While my mission and focus is on tutor/mentor program growth, these ideas can be applied to build more consistent and long-term support of organizations involved in any form of social problem solving where resources need to be consistently available in order for organizations to build the strength and knowledge to begin to have an impact on those issues.


I encourage anyone who reads this to share it. I also encourage you to create your own leadership essays so you can share your own thinking on these topics.  If you want to volunteer time and talent to help convert this idea to a video or a graphic animation we welcome your involvement.

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Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2015

I hope all who visit this forum or who have joined it since 2007 will enjoy this holiday season and have peace, happiness, health and prosperity in 2015.


While there's not a lot of activity on this site, I keep adding new blog articles to the tutor/mentor blog and mapping for justice blog. The other blogs I point to on the home page are also updated often, so consider this site an entry point into a wider network of ideas.  

The goal of this forum remains the same as when it was launched. To collect and share ideas and information that anyone can use to build volunteer based tutoring, mentoring, arts, technology and learning programs that help youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods move through school and into adult jobs and careers.

I find few support systems that are collecting the type of information I collect, and who also take action daily to draw people to the information, and to draw people directly to youth organizations in the Chicago region who require a consistent flow of dollars, volunteers, talent, technology and ideas to build and sustain life-changing relationships with youth and volunteers. 

To my friends in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. I encourage you to draw from this site, and to duplicate what I'm doing.  The causes of poverty, the challenges NGOs face, and the solutions that are working in your country are different than what's happening in Chicago.  The map of  your city/country is different. The organizations already working with youth is different. Thus, you need to build your own web library.  

However, the challenges of getting large numbers of people to look at this information, understand it, then act consistently to support youth serving organizations throughout a geographic area are similar. Thus the ideas I share can be used to support this network-building effort, as can the ideas you share.

Hopefully 2015 will bring us a beneficiary who will provide needed financial support to this effort in addition to helping me find and train younger leaders to carry the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC forward in future years.

With your, help, God's help, and good luck, this can happen.

Thank you for visiting.

Daniel F. Bassill, D.H.L.
Tutor/Mentor Connection -
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC -

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This graphic is what you see when you visit the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library, which I've been building for more than 20 years (and on the Internet since 1998).  


The library is organized into categories, just like any other library. You can find research showing where and why volunteer based tutor/mentor programs are needed. You can find information to support organization and fund development. You can find training for volunteers as well as strategies for volunteer recruitment.  You can find dozens of blogs focusing on learning, collaboration, network building, etc. 

When you visit the site, click on any of the 8 boxes and the library will feature links for that category. It will also show sub categories within each major section.

There are 26 categories in the library, so the graphics only point to 8 of them. You'll need to browse the listings below to know what other categories are available.

While some of this information focuses on Chicago, most of it can be used by anyone in the US to help build mentor-rich learning supports for youth in different places.   The ideas on process improvement, collaboration, innovation and learning can be used in any part of the world, not just the US.

Thus, if you're building your own web library, with information specific to your community, a link to the Tutor/Mentor Connection library gives your site visitors access to all of the links I've aggregated, without you needing to do that work.


What's really needed, are people who spend time building their own  understanding of information in this web library, and on forums like this,  then reach out to people they know to help them find and use the information in their own actions that support youth in one, or many, places.

As you browse the web library and find links of interest, I encourage you to write about what you find.  Here's a blogarticle written by Mark Carter, a consultant in Chicago, telling his readers about an article found in another section of the web libraries I host.   

You can use your own blog on this forum to write similar articles, or any other blog you may host, to write similar articles. If more people take this role, they help others find and use the information, and this helps bring more support to tutor/mentor programs in  youth in Chicago and throughout the world.

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This is a graphic that I  posted on my blog last Friday. It's intended to illustrate how we want leaders and volunteers to develop strategies that not only say "we have a problem" but also say "go here" to learn more about the problem, and go here, and here" to choose organizations that you can support with time, talent and/or dollars.


Since most of the 300-plus members of this forum work with non profits and NGOs that need money to operate, the more people who visit this forum to learn what we each do, and to help us with resources, the greater will be our  ability to succeed in our work.


Thus, if every three months you send out an email or some other correspondence pointing to something that is going on in this forum, in Chicago, or in your own city/country, you can increase the number of people who hear this message and respond to it.


If we can teach our friends, volunteers, family, youth and others to also send such messages, we can dramatically increase the number of people who are learning ways to help us.


If we can teach media, celebrities, CEOs, ministers, elected officials, etc. to do this, they can draw more resources into high poverty neighborhoods on a consistent basis, and do more to help effective non profits and social services do good work in many places.


Anyone can take the role of teacher, or evangelist, to spread this message and help others accept it and adopt it. Give it a try.



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12637695674?profile=originalThis photo shows Mike Trakan with one of the maps he has created for Tutor/Mentor Connection since he joined us in Jan 2008. View the maps and read the articles he writes on the mappingforjustice blog

The T/MC received a $50,000 donation from an anonymous donor in Nov. 2007 which enabled us to hire Mike and rebuild our mapping capacity. We used this money to also create aninteractive program locator where you can create your own map.

We depleted all of the funds from this grant in early 2009 and have been organizing events like theTutor/Mentor Jamconcert to raise money and encourage more people to use the maps. 


We need help finding another angel investor who will help us continue this mapping. Please forward this story to people in your network who might help us find such a donor.



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Help Spread the Word

This is the first page of this PDF volunteer recruitment presentation. If you're trying to draw volunteers and donors to your non-profit, it will help if people in business, media, religious groups, etc. are using their own media to encourage volunteers and donors to find you.

You can save this image to your computer, and then put it in your own blog, with your own message. If enough people do this in August we can increase the number of volunteers and donors who are supporting us in September and beyond.

I created a set of "blog exchange" links on the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site. If you use this image in a blog story, why not add a link to the story in the T/MC site. As we aggregate these we can learn from each other, and build more attention for each other's work.

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On this Ning site many are writing blog articles focusing on goals of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection. On the Cabrini Blog, you can see how our staff are writing blog articles every week. Be sure to look at the links on that site, because each is another blog written by one of our staff, or volunteers, or interns. On my own Tutor/Mentor blog, I link to the blog of Mike Trakan, who creates the maps we use. I also link to a list of bloggers that I follow.

I hope that each of our writters are reading blogs written by other people, especially those who provide ideas for how to increase the number of people who read your blog, and who respond to what we are all writing about.

That's the goal. We want more people thinking about tutoring/mentoring, where programs are needed, and ways they can use their own time, talent and dollars to help these programs constantly improve. We want to reach people with only a little time and a few dollars. We also want to reach people with immense wealth and huge celebrity. Anyone can read what we write and follow our ideas.

If what we write is interesting and well written.

Thus, I'd like to point to one blogger who I feel has a good strategy.

This is a discussion on Social Edge, talking about "theory of change". If you scroll through it you'll see that I've posted comments. You'll also find this comment by Pamela Hawley. .

Now visit Pamela's blog. You'll see that she points to the discussions on Social Edge, then shows here own comments, and goes on to explain them in further detail. If you scroll through the past articles you'll see that she does this often.

You'll also see that I've posted comments to Pamela.

I hope you'll each work to develop your own strategy, and share ideas you've learned by reading blogs written by others who have good ideas to share. Together we will attract the attention needed to sustain Cabrini Connections and other tutor/mentor programs, and to help each of us build the leadership, and program activities, that have a greater long-term impact on our volunteers, kids and communities.
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Below is a map showing the mix of organizations who were part of the May Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago.

On this map we see there were many tutor/mentor programs, some from other states, but not nearly as many programs as there are in Chicago. We see a few universities, represented. We see one donor. We see some media. This mix needs to change, to include more donors, more universities, and workforce development leaders, if we're to do more to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow.

What we need are more facilitators, helping us connect these groups, and others, in on-going discussions that take place between each conference, so that when we come together, we are all more connected to each other, not just to the T/MC.

One participant at the conference was Charles Cameron, of Social Edge. I encourage you to read the handout he presented at the conference. Then go to this discussion, and see how he's following up to expand the network building to include people who are meeting with him on the Social Edge discussion forums.

Another participant was Katie Anderson, a student from Dominican University who is volunteering with the T/MC. The map I show on this blog was created using power point. In this forum you can see how Katie and another Dominican student are using inFlow softwared donated by Valdis Krebs to create more sophisticated maps, and a better understanding of the networks that are being formed as a result of the work of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, the Conference, and people like Charles and Katie who take active volunteer roles to help.

We need more help in almost every part of what the Tutor/Mentor Connection is doing. If we can get more help we can create a better understanding of the networks we are connecting with, and share that in ways that other people can use the network to build their own networks, supporting their own organizations and missions.

Below is a worksheet that anyone can use to identify people in their own network who might help the Tutor/Mentor Connection, if they knew we existed, and if the introduction came from someone they trust. However, this is also a chart you can use to build a network of support for your own organization. Try it out, and let us know what success you have.

As a result of this network building we want to increase the number of people who don't live in poverty who are investing their own time, talent and money on a regular basis to help tutor/mentor programs in one or more communities, do more to help youth grow up to fulfill more of their adult potential.

Invite others to join this Ning group, or join the discussions on Social Edge, or post notices of other places where this type of network building is taking place. As Charles says, we can meet in many spaces, not just in our own hosted space.

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This graphic is one of many that I've created to try to illustrate ideas. In this case, I represent the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) which is the host of this forum. We're a small, thinly funded non profit in Chicago, so we do a lot of what we do with the help of volunteers and interns. Throughout this Ning site you'll see examples of how interns have converted graphics like this into animations, or how they are doing Social Network Analysis, or writing about what we do to help people in their own networks understand, and join us.

There are many people who could help us, ranging from faith groups, to alumni and business groups, as well as foundations, policy makers, etc. If you map your network as Willow and Jenny have done, you'll see that many people in your network have these skills, talents and assets. Many of them could help the Tutor/Mentor Connection, or Cabrini Connections, or any other non profit tutoring/mentoring program, in Chicago, or in any other city.

There are now more than 200 people in this Ning group, and we each are connected to hundreds, or thousands of other people via our networks and social media.

Every few months, there is an opportunity, and a reason, for each member of this group to share a message with the people in their network. This flash animation illustrates how the events on this graphic each have multiple goals. If you do this, with enthusiasm, creativity, and purpose, you can help the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and we can do more to help each of the organizations who are looking for the same resources that we are looking for.

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This photo is one of many taken on Thursday and Friday, at the Tutor/Mentor Conference held at Loyola University in Chicago.

One of the speakers was Charles Cameron, who I first met on Social Edge many years ago. Below you can upload the handout Charles prepared. I hope you'll all read it. It shows how we can connect through the Internet, build strong relationships, then connect face to face. This is all part of a journey that each of us takes separately, but which enables each of us to mobilize support for projects that we are leading, or involved with.

There are several others in this Ning community who also were speakers at the conference. I encourage you all to post comments on your profiles. I'll upload some of the other presentations in the coming week.

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I encourage bloggers who are writing for the T/MC to read the 2009 president's essay and others that are posted on this Foundation page.

We need to encourage people to connect on-line and at face to face events such as the Tutor/Mentor Conference, to discuss the ideas raised in these reports and other research.

We need to focus attention on

a) strategies that make constantly-improving youth-serving programs available in every high poverty zip code

b) strategies that provide operating resources and leadership support, so people stay involved for decades, not one or two years

c) strategies that help kids move from first grade to first job, with the support of the community around them, which includes schools, businesses, non profits, faith groups, etc.

d) strategies that weave all of this information into life-long learning, starting when kids are young, so it becomes a habit to visit sites like this and learn what's making life so difficult for so many in the world

e) strategies that turn people into actors rather than spectators. At the end of each day, look in the mirror and say how did I use my gifts, my time and my talent to help one or more places where youth are being giving more help to reach their full potential. How do we ingrain this into the daily habit of millions of people?

If you write about these ideas, and other people read and write about them, we are like a pebble that is thrown into a lake which becomes a boulder thrown into the ocean. We create ripples and waves that represent a growing number of people reading and responding to what we write.

Do this to help shape the world you want to have in the future and to enlist others to help you.

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