I saw the post below in my Twitter feed today:
It's a long article
, but I decided to read it. Toward the end found this paragraph:"His data also suggest that who you know growing up can have lasting effects. A paper on patents he co-authored found that young women were more likely to become inventors if they’d moved as children to places where many female inventors lived. (The number of male inventors had little effect.) Even which fields inventors worked in was heavily influenced by what was being invented around them as children. Those who grew up in the Bay Area had some of the highest rates of patenting in computers and related fields, while those who spent their childhood in Minneapolis, home of the Mayo Clinic, tended to invent drugs and medical devices."
I've been describing mentor-rich youth programs as a form of social capital for a long time and use this Total Quality Mentoring graphic to visualize how an organized program might help connect a young person to a wide range of influences over multiple years in a program.
|View Total Quality Mentoring essay
The most important idea to take away from this is that youth don't form these bonds without help; and youth living in high poverty areas with strong influences by others living in poverty, don't have natural connections to other influences which are available to youth in more affluent areas. Some form of intermediary needs to help these connections form. Volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs serve that intermediary role in many places. There are not enough of such programs and funding for long-term operations is almost non-existent.
I learned about the Opportunity Index last year and wrote about it in this article
. I've a wish list that I'd love to present to researchers like Raj Chetty
a) Look at 990 reports and identify all tutor/mentor programs in the country; then survey them to see which include a social capital vision in their strategies and practices. What percent of existing programs include this? Plot locations on maps to show where they are and what age groups they serve, and where more programs are needed, which is what I've tried to do since 1994 (dormant since 2013).
b) Develop a tool that programs can use to measure the social capital of youth and volunteers when they enter an organized tutor/mentor program; and to show how that changes for each as they participate for multiple years. Find a way to aggregate and share that data. Make sure the collection is long term.
c) Build a "data story telling" program into your research practices. Teach more people to dig into your reports and tell stories that share the information and draw needed resources to organizations that show strategies for expanding social capital. This is Step 2
in Four Part Strategy that I've followed since 1993.
d) Teach people involved in youth programs to tell "how" they do what they do; "what works" and "what challenges they face" on their web sites and blogs, then teach them to spend time reading and learning from each other on a regular basis. Teach donors to seek out such programs and provide on-going, flexible, non-restricted operating funds.
d) Encourage your students and followers to read articles on my blogs and look at how interns
have communicated these ideas;
e) Invite me into your conversations and brainstorming.
Here's a page
on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site where I point to many social network analysis and social capital articles.
Read some of the articles
I've written about Robert D. Putnam's work on social capital and his book, "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis".
Until more people read, understand, embrace, then act upon this information too few kids will have the opportunities that are available in America. Please read and share.If you value what I'm writing, please support me with a contribution. Click here.
"What kind of tutoring do you offer?" That's a question I've been asked over and over for nearly 25 years. Here's a blog article I wrote in 2007
, in an effort to show what a tutor/mentor program offers. It starts with these two paragraphs:
Between 1995 and today I've created several visualized presentations to try to show what an organized, on-going, volunteer-based tutor/mentor program might offer, based on what we were trying to offer in the Cabrini Connections program I led until 2011.
I've embedded a few of these for you to review:Defining Terms: Tutor. Mentor. Same Words. Different Meaning.
Virtual Corporate Office.
Think of a tutor/mentor program site as a retail store for hope and opportunity. What types of activities, tutoring and mentoring might need to be available? How can we make such programs available in more places?
What will it take to assure that all youth born or living in high poverty are entering careers by age 25?
What Role Does Mentoring Have? What can we learn from others? This shows work done by Tutor/Mentor Connection through 2015. Much of this is now in archive form, ready for other leaders to give it new life.
In addition to creating visual presentations to communicate ideas I've also created a library
of concept maps. Below is one that shows the many supports that kids need as they move from pre school through high school, then on toward adult lives, jobs and the ability to raise their own kids free of poverty.
No single organization can provide all of these supports and few are designed to keep kids involved for 20 or more years. That means an ecosystem of organizations needs to be available in every high poverty area, to provide as much of these supports as possible.
If you open the map and look in the lower left corner you'll see that I show a role of volunteers who become part of organized tutor/mentor programs is to help make all of these supports available.
That's the final presentation. I'm pulling from Slideshare for this one.
Any of these presentations can be shown to a small group at a church, business or small gathering, or can be shown to an auditorium full of people. They are intended to stimulate thinking, discussion, then actions that generate the flow of resources needed to make mentor-rich programs available in more places and keep them there for more years.Any of these can also be improved.
That's an open invitation to students, volunteers and people/organizations who'd like to partner with me, to update all of the Tutor/Mentor Connection resources and carry them into the next decade.
I'm on Twitter
. Let's connect.If you like what I'm sharing, you can help me keep this work available, with a small contribution. Click here for information.
I joined with millions of others today in offering congratulations to the Women's World Cup Soccer Champions. I did so with the post shown below.
It takes the dedication and hard work of many people to put a winning team on the field. I've written many articles
over the past 14 years comparing this effort to what needs to be done to build and sustain world-class tutor, mentor and learning programs for k-12 kids in high poverty areas of the US.
I followed my first Tweet with a second showing an article I'd written in 2014 following another World Cup event.
This is a photo of me from the 1990s, using a map of Chicago to show where poverty is concentrated, and where high quality, long-term tutor/mentor youth development programs are most needed.
My goal is writing this blog and Tweeting those posts is to enlist athletes and leaders from every sport to take my place, becoming the leaders who share these ideas and mobilize others to do the work needed to build great youth programs in more places.
Your visibility, talent and influence can do more to make such programs available than anything I've been able to do over the past 25 years.
I'll help you as long as I'm able to.