tutor (13)

30 year reflection

I created this Ning forum in 2007 to support the growth of intermediaries who would help volunteer-based youth tutor/mentor programs reach more kids in high poverty areas of Chicago and other places with long-term support that helped those kids through school and into adult lives.

The site shares a strategy that I started in 1993, and named, Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC).   In 2011 I created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue the T/MC in Chicago and help it grow in other places.

Ning changed its hosting structure nearly 10 years ago and it became less valuable as a networking and idea sharing forum.  I kept using the site through 2015 to host interns who worked with me in Chicago and to share photos from conferences and other actions of the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

It still offers potential for people from around the world to connect and share ideas for duplicating the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy in other places.

Every January I write a reflection.  You can see my 2024 article at this link.

If you're creating an intermediary with similar goals and you share ideas via a blog and visual essays, share links to your work in this forum and on social media sites.  

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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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I'm hosting a webinar focused on volunteer recruitment for tutor/mkentor programs at 2pm EST on April 21.  You can sign up here

I've been sharing strategy ideas via pdf visualizations and blog articles for many years and have done a few on-line presentations.  I'm using WizIQ for this one and if it works out well I'll do more.

I feel the on-line events are a way to reach more people, and encourage collaboration among larger groups of people. It's not just what you learn, but who you meet, and how that leads to further connections, interactions and shared efforts to help solve community problems that are common in many places.

If you attend the webinar, come back here and offer your comments for future presentations.

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I'm trying to create a visualization that any youth serving organization might be willing to use to visually communicate what time of day they reach youth, what age range they serve and what types of learning and mentoring activities are offered.

This is what I've done so far.  This could be downloaded and colored in by hand, then scanned and uploaded as a jpg. Perhaps it could be imported into photo shop or a paint program and colored in.  Or perhaps someone could create a graphics program that enables people to fill in this information via their computer, then produce a jpg that could be posted on their web site.

If we found a way to make this easy to create, and to motivate a larger number of organizations to put this on their web sites it might have two benefits. Programs might see activities that are included in work of other programs and try to duplicate that in their own programs. Donors might begin to differentiate between school based, non school, volunteer based, etc. and use this information to support fund raising or volunteer involvement decisions.


The collection of information about programs, based on what they do, needs to also be part of a matrix showing who they serve, and where they are located.  Programs operating in big cities have a different costs of operating framework than programs in smaller communities.

I don't know of anyone collecting and analyzing this information.

In the next class of interns I'll offer this as a project.  If anyone viewing this would want to create their own version and share it, please do.

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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 - http://www.tutormentorconnection.org
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC - http://www.tutormentorexchange.net

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12637700452?profile=originalOn Monday I hosted another Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference in Chicago. This was the 40th in the past 20 years. I'm still going through attendance information, evaluations, etc. but it looks like about 105 attended.
One participant, Changyue An,  is a graduate student from IIT in Chicago. Here's some information he shared from a workshop titled "Mentoring Urban Youth"

1.  Two important principles we must remember

  • Young people do not see what you see.
  • If they are gangs, you must see them as individuals.

 2.  The Approach to be a good tutor/mentor

  • What you see might not be what others see.
  • What you experience plays an important factor on how you react and handle situations.
  • Gained knowledge allows you to make certain judgments about situations and/or people.

 3.  Build Methodology-Relationship Building

  • Diversity
  • Respect
  • Open & Honest Communication
  • Trust
  • Teamwork

 4.  M&M’s-another way to be a good tutor/mentor

  • Meet youth where they are at
  • Make a connection
  • Master their needs and interests
  • Maintain positive relationship
  • Manage their trust
  • Motivate them to positive programs

If any of you attended the same workshop, please add your own thoughts. If you would like to post a review of other workshops you attended, or of the overall conference, I encourage you to do that, too.

In the Groups section of the forum one sub group shows interns from universities working with me every six months to create strategy visualizations.  In this album, and this album, you can see photos from previous conferences, which were taken by interns who attended those. 

These illustrate roles  young people can take as intermediaries, and communicators, using their own skills to draw attention to events, activities and ideas.  Youth from many schools could be doing this and the result would be greater attention for social issues like tutoring/mentoring of youth, and a greater flow of resources from those who could help tutor/mentor programs operate in different cities.

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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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In every high poverty neighborhood there are one or two anchor institutions, like a hospital, university, bank, etc. that could provide leadership and strategic support to strategies that support the growth of youth mentoring programs.

If those same institutions also focus on community wealth building then they may be more likely to build the types of leadership support needed to take a long term approach to youth mentoring program growth. 

This graphic is included in this blog post that I wrote today on this topic. I encourage you all to review t his and use the ideas in reaching out to anchor institutions in your own communities.

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A different kind of Philanthropy

I encourage you to read Sean Stannard-Stockton's article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review. He leads off with "What if foundations mostly gave unrestricted funding instead of dictating how grantees could spend their grants? What if foundations kept supporting grantees who performed instead of ending funding because the “grant cycle” had ended? What if foundations ditched the whole system of soliciting grant proposals and focused on proactively searching for great grantees? What if foundations expected grant reports to mostly consist of information the nonprofit was collecting anyway rather than specialized requests that sap the grantees resources?"

Then he points to the "Mulago Foundation may very well be a case study of an emergent model of how to run a foundation."

I go a step further. What if someone built a "blueprint" that showed the infrastructure needed in a tutor/mentor program, and provide a vision, like the birth to work chart shown below, indicating the long-term goal of youth who are part of a tutor/mentor program having age appropriate supports each year from when they join till when they graduate and are headed to college and careers.

They could also provided something like the "success steps" model that Cabrini Connections uses to illustrate the types of supports that should be provided each year for many years.

Then they could also provide poverty maps showing where tutor/mentor programs are most needed in Chicago or other cities, such as the one below.

These maps show where they are needed and the blueprints provide a vision that many programs could aspire to. If the program can show on its web site that it is providing the services that are needed each year, then donors and volunteers could look at the type of infrastructure that is needed, and provide the dollars, time or talent to programs in these neighborhoods to help them stay connected to kids and volunteers through all of the years it takes for kids to go from first grade through 12th grade, and even beyond that to when they are looking for jobs and volunteers could be helping open doors.

If the theoretical model is created by a collaboration of programs offering tutoring/mentoring and the people who want such programs to exist and succeed, then donors who believe in the theoretical model should be able to look at a programs web site and decide if they are in an area where the program is needed, doing the type of work that would lead to the outcome they want the program to impact, and then provide the resources needed based on what they have to offer. Visit the Tutor/Mentor Institute for more articles related to this idea.

This chart illustrates the role that intermediaries could take in buiding a theoretical model, or blueprint, that could be a common vision used by those who can help and those who need help. If such a model were created it would relieve all non profits who share the vision with the burden of providing their own theoretical model and would provide a common tool that resource providers and service providers could use to lobby for expanded resources to flow on an on-going and long-term basis.

Does this exist anywhere for the tutor/mentor field?.

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12637695476?profile=originalThis 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, 12637695478?profile=originalhow 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."



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I'm Eunsoo Lee who is IIT student.

Hello. from now on, I will do intern for this company.Thanks to my friend named Peter, I can be here to work for this company.We want to share anything with you and have a good relationship.below is my Email that I used to access usually for this company.eunsoo86@gmail.comNice to meet you, everybody.Leaving some message for me would be good help for me.
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