Daniel Bassill
  • Male
  • Chicago, Il
  • United States
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Tutor/Mentor Blog

How I'll spend MLKing Holiday

View map here
While many will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday by attending prayer breakfasts or visiting schools and/or community organizations to paint, clean or do special projects, I'll spend the day at my computer, looking at my list of nearly 200 non-school tutor, mentor & learning programs in the Chicago region.

I'll refresh my knowledge of each program, make sure the link works, and try to make sure the program is still operating. That part's not always easy because many don't have the resources or commitment to constantly update their web sites.

Then, as I review program websites I'll Tweet a few so others will be encouraged to look at them, too, and possibly become a volunteer or donor or do something else that helps each program grow.

Anyone can duplicate my role
The graphic at the right visualizes what I've been doing for the past 25 years.  I maintain a library of information, including maps showing where poverty is concentrated, and a list of Chicago non-school youth tutor/mentor programs. I share this on my web sites and point to it through my blog articles, and my social media efforts.  My goal is to draw help directly to programs in every high poverty neighborhood of the Chicago region, so that each program is learning from each other, and they all have the talent and resources needed to constantly improve in how they help kids through school and into adult lives.

I wrote about the this in 2018 and in previous years, such as here, and here.   Here's what I wrote last year

The type of articles I write on holidays are the same type I write other days, because the work of raising kids, and of building great youth tutor/mentor programs, is work that requires daily investments of time, talent and dollars.

Imagine if millions of people had been spending time each day since the 1960s doing what's needed to reach youth in high poverty areas with support needed to help them through school and into adult lives.

view map  here
Imagine if millions were spending time reading about the challenges facing people of color, and people living in high poverty, so that they did more to remove those challenges, in all parts of the country, and the world, not just in a few places. 

The concept map at the right is one of a collection that I host at this link. Take some time tomorrow, or on another day, to look at each one and follow the links to the information they point to. Bring them up in a classroom, study group, or learning circle, as thought-starters for more and more people.

view video

If you're going to an event or to work on a service project tomorrow, take some time to view this video, before or after.

Every time you do service you are learning, or prompted to learn, about the people you are trying to help. Think of ways you can share that with others so in the future they offer their help, too.

I look forward to connecting with you on one of these social media channels tomorrow.

Building Public Attention and Support

At this week's #ChiHackNight gathering at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago students from the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation at the University of Chicago presented information about a Million Neighborhoods project which you can view at this link.

Below is a Tweet from @miurbanchicago that was shared during their presentation. Great use of live Twitter!
Below is a screen shot from the Million Neighborhoods site showing all the areas of the world which they have mapped thus far. You can zoom in to the neighborhood level for many major cities (this will be slower on older computers).

Million Neighborhoods Project
I had seen this site a few months ago and reached out to make a connection, and also encouraged them to present at ChiHackNight.  As I listened to this presentation last night my two questions were,

1) how will they teach people to tell stories, over and over, to draw viewers to the map from each of the cities that are featured; and 

2) how will they help people in these areas get enough computer power to easily zoom in and out of the map platform.  It worked great at the ChiHackNight session, hosted at the Braintree headquarters in Chicago. It's much slower for me using my old PC in my home.

Interns spend time learning about CC
and Tutor/Mentor Connection

I led a two part Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection non-profit in Chicago between 1993 and 2011 and have continued to lead the Tutor/Mentor Connection since 2011 via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.  

While we had college interns often between 1994 and 2005 we did not have them consistently writing blog articles or creating videos and visualizations to show what they were learning until 2006 when our first intern from Hong Kong joined us. We continued that practice every year until 2015.

See intern work - click here

I created this graphic in 2018 to highlight the work of interns from South Korea, India and Hong Kong, which largely consisted of creating visualizations and videos. They were all encouraged to use a blog on the Tutor/Mentor Connection Ning.com site and this Intern blog launched by Michael Tam in 2006 to reflect on the work they were doing and what they were learning.

However, I've not given as much attention to the work done between 2007 and 2011 by four Public Interest Program Fellows from Northwestern University.

Northwestern University Public Interest Program - click here

We began the fellowship partnership in 2007 and for the next four years we had one NU graduate work full time at Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection each year, helping us operate our youth program and helping us support other programs in Chicago via the Tutor/Mentor Connection and the bi-annual conferences that we hosted.

Each one was encouraged to write a blog on a regular basis, reflecting on what they were learning and sharing our vision and strategies.  At this link you can find four articles that highlight some of the writing that each of these NU alumni did.  I encourage you to read each of these, then go to their individual blogs and read more.

We also had interns from other universities work with us during this timeframe and you can see a full list, with links to some of their work at this link.

The important message is that they did this on a regular basis, week after week.  That's what I've been doing, too. I've been writing articles on this blog almost every week since 2005. That's a model for what I've asked interns and my staff at Cabrini Connections to do.

Share what you learn
This  graphic visualizes this strategy.  As interns get to know the Tutor/Mentor Connection, they are sharing what they learn via their blogs, videos and visualizations with people who read their blogs, usually friends, family and others in their network, with the goal that some of those will become informed, and then share the ideas with even more people.

This is the answer to Question 1 that I posed to the Mansueto Institute.  To build greater attention enlist student and volunteer bloggers and social media partners to be "story tellers" and "sense-makers". The Mansueto Institute is part of a powerful university, which means many students could be taking a role, learning about the Mansueto Institute data and platform and then sharing that information with others.

They also could be teaching youth at high schools and colleges in every city that they are mapping to take the same role.

Network Building 

This is also part of the answer to Question 2.  If we consistently  share what we're learning, and some people in our networks share what they learn with people they know, we eventually can reach one or two people with wealth, power, talent and/or influence to do things we can't do because of our own limited capacity.

In this case improving internet access in high poverty areas of the world is an essential step in opening doors to all the knowledge that is available on the Internet, including the maps on the Mansueto Institute web site.

I've applied this strategy to helping expand the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute's visibility. It applies in many sectors.  It's even being applied by Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Twitter, as volunteers tell others about his ideas.

If you're at a university, high school or youth serving organization and want my help thinking through these ideas just reach out to me on one of these social media platforms.

If you want to help fund the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC please visit this link to make a contribution.

Bringing Old Posts to Life

I've written this blog since 2005 with more than 1000 articles. Many from the past are relevant today and to any who are trying to build systems of support that include the non-school hours, school hours and volunteers in organized #tutor #mentor programs. While people can skim the blog I doubt that many take the time, so I use my Tweets to try to draw attention to older articles.

Here are a few I posted today on my @tutormentorteam Twitter account:

Here's another

And another

And another

I've written many articles encouraging universities and/or high schools to create student leadership groups who study my blog articles, websites, and Tweets, and then create their own interpretations of what I'm saying.  Here's a video showing some student interns who have done this in the past.

Visit this page and see a collection of visualizations created by interns between 2006 and 2015.

Imagine finding a collection of student-created presentations like this on a high school, college and/or fraternity web site in the future.  That's my goal. Let me know if I can help you.


Daniel Bassill's Page

Profile Information

School / Work Affiliation
Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
Skype, Twitter, or Other Accounts
About Me
I've led a volunteer-based non-school tutor/mentor program in Chicago since 1975. I created Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to aggregate information about similar programs all over the Chicago region and to help each program get the resources, ideas and talent they need to constantly improve. I created Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to continue this work.

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Daniel Bassill's Blog

Distribution of resources must be part of conversation on future of education

Posted on April 15, 2009 at 7:38am 0 Comments

I added a new map to my photo album on Future of Education today. It's one of many you can see here and here. I've also added an interactive Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, that enables site users to create their own map views.

These are intended to support visual thinking so when we talk about… Continue

It takes a village.....Build the village

Posted on January 10, 2009 at 8:38am 1 Comment

I've led a volunteer-based, non-school tutor/mentor program in Chicago for more than 30 years where we connect inner city kids with volunteers who live beyond poverty and model jobs and careers and education levels not consistently modeled in high poverty neighborhoods. In recent research, this is called "bridging capital".

I have created a library of information to help people understand the challenges of living in poverty, and how… Continue

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At 6:48am on March 16, 2009, Jesse moyer said…

I think you are exactly right. That is why we have convened business leaders, teacher unions, legislators, other non-profit foundations, and other education leaders from around the state with our project. We believe that in order to change the system, you must work with ALL people within the system. Eventually, we will include teachers, principals, parents, and students in our transformation.

At 6:22am on March 16, 2009, Jesse moyer said…
Hi Daniel,

I hope you are doing well. I would love to browse your sites and will do so later this week. Most of the work that I do at KWF revolves around system change in public school systems, so I may not be the best person for you to connect with here at KnowledgeWorks. Once I have had a chance to review your information, I will pass it on to the appropriate people.

At 6:47am on March 14, 2009, alexyu said…
Thank you for your sharing, I will pay close attention to these!
At 9:22am on January 12, 2009, Lisa Perez said…
Hi Daniel: All of the things you mentioned are important and I believe are already taking place in different capacities within CPS. Feel free to call me sometime and perhaps I can point you to the correct departments to locate the information you mentioned.

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