2011-12 Tutor Mentor Institute Goals

The mission of the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) is to provide an organized framework that empowers and encourages adult volunteers to contribute their time, effort, ideas and advocacy toward creating life-changing solutions for children in educationally and economically disadvantaged areas.

This mission will now be supported by the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, based on the ideas shown in this PDF report.

We seek to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs like Cabrini Connections, get the resources needed to operate, and constantly improve, in every high poverty area of the Chicago region.

This mission is accomplished through a four part strategy.

1) Collect knowledge from key stakeholders about volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs: how programs succeed, where programs are located, and where more programs and resources are needed.

2) Aggressively share this knowledge through marketing and public awareness campaigns, capitalizing on the Internet as a chief vehicle of communication.

3) Strengthen involvement of community and industry leaders to increase essential resources to tutor/mentor programs.

4) Facilitate understanding and collaboration among stakeholders to develop the long-term, integrated actions needed to help youths move from birth in poverty to a job or career by age 25.

Review Tutor/Mentor Connection Concept Map (Strategy) to understand these goals in more detail.

Between 2007 and 2009 we used funds from Lawyers Lend A Hand and from an anonymous donor, to upgrade the database of tutor/mentor programs, reach-out to build personal relationships with contacts at more than 240 different programs, and with others who are involved with youth, education, workforce development, etc.; and we have updated our capacity to use maps to show where tutor/mentor programs are needed, where existing programs operate, and what assets are in a neighborhood who could be working together to help tutor/mentor programs grow.

While we need to continue to maintain this data and this relationship-building, we need to focus efforts in the coming year on the second, and third, parts of this strategy so we

  • increase number of people who look at the information, by increasing # of articles in traditional, business, and non-traditional media
  • help more people understand and use it, by creating interactive media, webnars, and by hosting one-on-one and small group meetings
  • and recruit more people to share ownership of the T/MC vision, so it has a greater chance of success in Chicago

What are the ways we might do this and what ways might we quantify this? I’ve started the discussion with ideas of my own. Please add to this with your own ideas.

Strategy 2: Increase number of people who look at this information.

Our goal is to increase Reach (number of people who we reach with our messages) and Frequency (number of times each day, month or year we reach these people). Most of these are activities; what are the ways we measure impact?

  • Continue to follow negative media stories with blog articles and maps. When Chicago Tribune or Chicago SunTimes put violence and schools on front cover, they attract half a million readers. We need to find ways to attract some of these people to T/MC blogs, web sites and the Program Locator.
  • Continue to visit tutor/mentor programs and write blog articles about these programs. However, contact local newspapers and encourage them to visit the programs, or reprint your blog articles. In 2010 we should have at least one media story on a tutor/mentor program each month.
  • Attract high profile speakers, or interesting speakers, to conferences, and work with media to get stories told about these people
  • Work with media to get stories told about our use of GIS
  • Work with other programs to encourage blogging. Set up blogs for at least 12 programs in 2010. Encourage links from these programs to T/MC Program Locator and Library
  • Obtain funding for quarterly print “leaders” newsletter to reach 500-1000 business leaders; 300 faith leaders; 3-10 people at every university in the Chicago region; 2 reporters at every newspaper, tv and radio station; one contact at every tutor/mentor program; one contact at every public school; as well as top leaders at CPS and Board of Education; one contact at every foundation; all aldermen and Mayors of communities with high poverty. This will show how to use maps, what info is in T/MC library, and what programs are doing outstanding work. It will also link Chicago programs to national research and tutor/mentor networks.
  • Recruit volunteers from business, churches, colleges to be “story tellers” – count the number of people taking this role.

Strategy 3. Facilitate Understanding – help people find and use info on T/MC site

  • Lead small group activities, webnars, and conference workshops to help programs learn how to use maps, T/MC OHATs, Program Locator database, and the other information on the T/MC web sites.
  • Count and report number of referrals that are received in T/MC office
  • Recruit 10 to 20 people to become recorders/partners, using T/MC OHATS
  • Recruit others to help – count them, just like we count number of speakers and participants at conferences
  • Use Survey Monkey to identify needs of tutor/mentor programs; use findings as reasons for small group meetings that focus on solving problems
  • Participate in collaboration and networking events hosted by other tutor/mentor leaders; publicize these efforts with T/MC blogs, etc.

Strategy 4: What happens because we do these things?

We want groups to form that share T/MC goals, such as Lawyers Lend A Hand. These groups use their own time, talent and resources to help T/MC achieve strategies #1, #2, and #3 which draw volunteers and donors to tutor/mentor programs.

At the same time, we want traffic to rise on T/MC sites, especially the Program Locator, so that we know this information is being used to build collaborations, or to help parents, volunteers and donors find specific tutor/mentor programs in different zip codes.

  • OHATs can track number of people who are using our strategies, if they document
  • Write blog articles about people who give positive feedback (e.g. Mike’s story about person at conference who said he used maps)
  • Investigate opportunity to use VolunteerMatch resources, or something like that, to track # of programs posting volunteer help ads, and the number of people who respond

Are we missing anything? Are there goals we can achieve, or different activities that we should be focusing on? If you were the Mayor, or the Governor, and you said "I want every child born in poverty to be starting a job by age 25, and I think the only way we can do this is by getting others in the Chicago region personally involved" what would your strategy be to achieve this?