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SHOPPING GUIDE!

For choosing what tutor/mentor


program to support with time,
talent and/or dollars.
For volunteers, donors, business partners, media, parents, educators!

Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC


http://www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net
Merchandise Mart PO Box 3303, Chicago, Il. 60654
Great Non-School, Volunteer-Based, Tutor/Mentor
Programs in Needed in All High Poverty Areas on the Map

Our goal is that great volunteer-based


tutor/mentor programs be available to k-12
youth in every high poverty neighborhood of
Chicago and other cities. By providing links to
existing programs and maps that show where
they are located we hope to help volunteers,
donors and parents become “educated”
consumers, so they can shop and compare and
determine which programs seem more effective
than others.

Since every neighborhood needs great


programs, we also hope to provide tips so every
program in every neighborhood -- with the help
of volunteers, donors, youth and parents --can
constantly improve by applying consistent
resources and borrowing good ideas from peers
to support this process.

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What do we mean by “Great”?
A “great” program is a place where a core group of adults make a long-
term commitment to do all they can to help youth who join that program
move safely through K-12 school and into future adult jobs and
careers..with the help of volunteers recruited from a wide range of
industries and professions.

In such programs leaders constantly learn from their own efforts, from
other programs, and from a wide range of ideas available from youth,
volunteers, community and the Internet.

Programs don’t start out as “great”. They start with a few people who
make a commitment to youth. The become great over a period of years.
Then they stay great by the way they learn from their own actions and
those of others and by how they are consistently supported by volunteers
and donors.

Read the book “Good to Great and the Social Sectors, by Jim Collins.
http://www.jimcollins.com/books/g2g-ss.html

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Can you look at a Volunteer-Based Tutoring and/or
Mentoring Program web site and determine if it is
worthy of your Support? Use this checklist.
Is it serving youth living in a high poverty If over 5 years old, does it show stories of
neighborhood? youth and volunteer involvement?

How many years has it operated? Does it have core of volunteers who have been
involved 3 years or longer?

Is it part of a larger organization or a stand- How long have key staff (highest program
alone tutor/mentor program? leaders) been involved?

Does it show a “theory of change” or “logic Does the program show collaboration with
model” on the web site? others in its area?

Does it point to web sites and/or research that How does it engage youth, volunteers, staff,
it seeks to duplicate in its own efforts? donors in learning?

Does it show attendance rates, number of What sort of adult screening is done?
youth & volunteers regularly involved?

Does it show length of participation history for Awards & Recognition? Formal evaluation?
youth and volunteers? Measures of long-term or short term Impact?

Does web site show mix of volunteers from Shows its financial reports on web site,
different education, work, race backgrounds. including 990s.

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Is the program serving youth living in a high poverty neighborhood?
Does the web site include maps showing program sites?
Maps can show where programs are needed
based on poverty, violence, poor schools, etc.
They can also show where existing programs
are located, and where more are needed.

The Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator,


created between 2004 and 2008, is now and
archive. View it at
https://tinyurl.com/ProgramLocatorMap-archive

The current map showing locations of Chicago


non-school tutor and/or mentor programs can be
seen in a blog article at
https://tutormentor.blogspot.com/2020/02/
help-youth-tutor-mentor-learning.html

It shows locations of more than 140 different


non-school tutoring and/or mentoring programs.

A number of free and low-cost mapping tools are


now available that tutor/mentor programs can use
to map participant addresses. You can use these
maps to see if the program operates in a high
poverty area, near poorly performing schools, etc.

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How many years has the program operated?

It takes a few years for new programs to build trust of


youth and volunteers and experience that makes it a
“great” program.

Programs that reach youth in elementary or middle


school need to stay connected to youth for 6 to 8
years if the goal is high school graduation.

Thus, understanding how long a program has


continuously operated is one indicator to look for on
a tutor/mentor program web site.

Note: if the mentoring program is part of a larger


organization, look for information showing how long
the mentoring program has operated, not how long
the larger organization has operated.

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Is the tutor/mentor program part of a larger organization?

Some tutor/mentor programs are the only business of the


organization that operates them, such as Big Brothers Big
Sisters. Others are part of larger organizations who have a
range of youth and family services or other missions that
are larger than the commitment to long-term mentoring.
Faith groups might fit into this category.

Thus, when looking at a web site, look to see if there is a


clear, long-term commitment to the mentoring, tutoring
strategy. Without this the tutor/mentor program competes
for resources and often starts and stops depending on the
commitment of leaders and resources available.

Use this concept map to find links to


Chicago programs, organized by section of
the city.
http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Volunteer-Opportunities

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Does web site show a “theory of change” or “logic
model” on the web site?

What impact do they seek?


Look for information on the
organization’s web site showing it’s
commitment to helping youth move
through school with the help of the
program and the volunteers who
connect to the youth through the
program.

A program may only serve youth in


elementary school and focus on reading
or learning. Do you see anything on the
Learn how to create a “Theory program’s web site showing what they
of Change do to help the youth have mentoring
http://www.theoryofchange.org/ supports in the years before, or after,
they participate in this program?

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Does the program's web site point to web sites and/or
research that it seeks to duplicate in its own efforts?

Who are their role models?


Does the organization have a section on its web
site, or with its “Theory of Change” section
where they point to other youth tutoring,
mentoring programs that they feel do good work
and illustrate what the program seeks to do in
its own service area?

What research do they point to?


Does the web site include a set of links pointing
to research showing why the program is needed
and why it is needed in a high poverty area?
Does it point to links showing the value of
Research Links to draw mentoring or tutoring?
from:
http://tinyurl.com/TMI-ResearchLinks

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Does web site show mix of volunteers from different
education, work, race backgrounds

Does the program show a commitment


to expanding the range of adults
involved in lives of youth in the
program?
Pictures on the program web site or blog
can show age and race diversity. Stories
can show that volunteers have college and
different workplace backgrounds.

Read articles on social capital.


A growing number of research shows the
isolation of youth in high poverty areas and
the value of building connections to
mentors and experiences beyond the
neighborhood. See links to such articles at
http://tinyurl.com/TMI-Research-SocialCapital

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Does it show attendance rates, number of youth & volunteers
regularly involved?

How many youth and volunteers are involved?


Programs serve different numbers of youth and have
different levels of volunteer involvement. Budget size
should relate to program size.

How long are youth and volunteers involved?


What are weekly attendance rates? In non-school
programs youth and volunteers “vote with their feet”. Look
for programs that show high attendance patterns, and/or
retain youth for multiple years. Does the web site include
charts showing that some youth are involved for multiple
years? What percent of the program’s total enrollment
each year represents students who have been involved 3
or more years?

See: Cabrini Connections 2001-10 Impact PDF


https://www.scribd.com/document/76426503/Review-of-
Decade2000-2010-Cabrini-Connections-Tutor-Mentor-
Connection

See: Chicago Youth Programs web site:


http://chicagoyouthprograms.org/index.php/outcomes/
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If the organizations talks about seniors who graduate from high
school does it show how many years those seniors were part of
the program? How many youth started as freshmen?

If the organization makes


claims of "graduation and
college attendance rates" do
they base this on the number
of youth who started with the
program, and who are still
participating when they
graduated?

See: Cabrini Connections 2001-10 Impact PDF


https://www.scribd.com/document/76426503/
Review-of-Decade2000-2010-Cabrini-Connections-Tutor-Mentor-Connection

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If over 5 years old, does it show stories of youth and
volunteer involvement?
It is difficult to stay connected to youth in
years beyond when they were active, thus
providing numbers showing graduation,
college success, jobs and careers is difficult.
Yet programs who do stay connected to youth
a b c and volunteers can provide stories and
testimonials on web sites and blogs that show
Alums of tutoring program who spoke at past
Tutor/Mentor Conferences in Chicago (a & b). Alum
the long-term impact of the program.
(c) from 1980s whose son attended Cabrini
Connections and graduated from HS in 2013.
How long are volunteers involved?
Programs who keep volunteers involved for 3 to
“If it weren't for my mentor Joey Molenda, I would 10 years or longer build a tradition and
have never considered IB, I would not have known leadership corps that strengthens a program and
how to apply for college, and I would have probably
fallen into the trap many of my counterparts fell into. provides transition when paid staff move on to
Thanks to Cabrini Connections, I was shown new jobs. Look for stories showing volunteer
alternatives to the life I saw everyday in Cabrini. engagement, not just youth engagement.
Thanks so much for starting the program.” Message
posted on Facebook from college graduate alum of
Cabrini Connections.
These stories can be told regularly in blog
articles more easily than on web sites.

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How long have key staff (highest level program
leaders) been involved?
If key staff (Executive Director, Program
Coordinator) change frequently, the
organization does not build organizational
knowledge.
In stand-alone tutor/mentor programs key staff
are responsible for many activities that build and
sustain a strong mentoring or tutoring program.
Look for information on web sites showing how
long key leaders have been involved in the
mentoring or youth development field, and in
this particular organization.

Help build organizational strength.


Your on-going, flexible operating dollars, along
with donations of time and talent, help
organizations attract and retain key staff. Adopt
a program and stay connected to it for many
years. Share it’s success.
See this graphic explained in article at
http://tutormentor.blogspot.com/2008/10/looking-beneath-surface-of-tutormentor.html

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Does the program show collaboration with others in its
geographic area?
Can you find information on the web site
that shows how this program interacts with
other tutor/mentor programs in its
neighborhood, or community?
Frequent contact with peers in other programs leads
to idea-sharing and collaboration. Programs serving
elementary age youth could be referring them to
programs that support those youth in high school and
programs that provide college scholarship and
support. Youth in higher level programs could be
mentors to youth in elementary school programs.

Between 2004 and 2008 the Interactive Chicago Instead of competing for resources, work
Tutor/Mentor Program Locator was created with maps together to expand the resource pool.
showing more than 150 tutor and/or mentor programs Do you see evidence on the program’s web site that
in specific geographic areas of Chicago, as well as
its leaders work with others to make resources
assets who could be supporting all programs in an
area. available to all programs in the area? Does it take
part in volunteer fairs, joint training activities?
While this is now an archive, it's a model of what could
be built and used in many cities. This “How to use
program locator” show it's features -
http://tinyurl.com/TMILocator-how-to

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How does it engage youth, volunteers, staff, donors in
learning?

Does the organization’s web site also


serve as a platform for engaging
youth, volunteers, donors in learning?
How does the organization do this? Do they?
Do they point to homework help links like
https://tinyurl.com/TMI-Homework-Help or
college & career access resources like
https://tinyurl.com/CollegeCareer-Resource

Does the organization connect its


members to each other, and online
information resources, using social
media or other forms of on-line group
support and facilitation?
What types of training events are hosted by the
organization at its facility? Does it participate in
conferences? What can you learn from the
organization’s web site about this?

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Volunteer Screening. Protection of Youth, and
Volunteers.

Does the organization follow MENTOR’s


‘Elements of Effective Practice’ for
volunteer screening and protection of
youth?
How does the organization do this? Are
instructions to prospective volunteers
provided on the web site? What types of
background checks are required?

View Elements of Effective Practice at https://tinyurl.com/MentorResourceTools

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Awards and Recognition. Formal Evaluation

Has the organization received awards or


media recognition for its work?
This is a page showing media stories generated by the
Tutor/Mentor Connection.
www.tutormentorexchange.net/news-pr

This is a page showing awards and honors.


http://www.tutormentorexchange.net/awards-and-recognition

If the organization has conducted formal or


informal evaluation is information posted on
the web site? Most smaller tutor/mentor programs
don’t have the funds for controlled evaluations and few
long-term evaluations are yet done showing 10 to 20
year impact of tutoring/mentoring programs. Yet, you
may find charts and graphs showing ways the program
evaluates its effect.

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Shows its financial reports on web site, including 990s.

Does the organization show costs for its


tutor/mentor program on its web site? Are
financial reports available?
Costs will vary from program to program depending on
location, size, facility required (rented, owned, donated,
etc) and number of youth and volunteers involved. You
need to be able to compare costs from program to program
and cannot do this if programs don’t make the information
available.

Become an investor. Adopt a program and help


it grow. The information on preceding pages has invited
you to choose neighborhoods to support, then choose
programs within those neighborhoods based on the
information they provide on their web sites. Depending on
how long a program has been in operation, and its
leadership, your investment choices may be limited to
adopting a program that needs a lot of help. Yet, if that’s
the only program in a neighborhood where kids need
tutoring/mentoring, this is what needs to happen…unless
you choose to start a new program.

Great programs in every neighborhood is the goal; not a few good programs
in a few locations. Constant investment is required to achieve this.
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What Would You Add to this?
I’d like to hear from leaders of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs. What would
you add to this list? What would you remove?

I suspect it might challenge many of you to put all of this information on your web
sites. How would you overcome that challenge?

Write your suggestions and send them to Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC at


tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Your name: Organization

Your web site: Your email address

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Learn more about how you can
help make best practice tutoring
and mentoring programs be
available to more inner city youth.
Visit these web sites:

• http://www.tutormentorexchange.net
* http://www.tutormentorconnection.org
* http://tutormentorexchange.net/conceptmaps
* http://debategraph.org/mentoring_kids_to_careers

Email: tutormentor2@earthlink.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TutorMentorInstitute
Twitter: @tutormentorteam

Copyright 2011 Property of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and Tutor/Mentor Connection, Merchandise
Mart PO Box 3303, Chicago, Il 60654 Email for permission to use: tutormentor2@earthlink.net
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