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 Programs in Every Place Where they are Needed
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.

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 2

What do we mean by “Great”?
A “great” program is a place where a core group of adults make a longterm 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. 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

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 3

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 neighborhood? How many years has it operated? If over 5 years old, does it show stories of youth and volunteer involvement? Does it have core of volunteers who have been involved 3 years or longer? How long have key staff (highest program leaders) been involved? Does the program show collaboration with others in its area? How does it engage youth, volunteers, staff, donors in learning? What sort of adult screening is done?

Is it part of a larger organization or a standalone tutor/mentor program? Does it show a “theory of change” or “logic model” on the web site? Does it point to web sites and/or research that it seeks to duplicate in its own efforts? Does it show attendance rates, number of youth & volunteers regularly involved? Does it show length of participation history for youth and volunteers? Does web site show mix of volunteers from different education, work, race backgrounds.

Awards & Recognition? Formal evaluation? Measures of long-term or short term Impact? Shows its financial reports on web site, including 990s.

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 4

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. A number of free and low-cost mapping tools are now available that tutor/mentor programs can use to map participant addresses. The Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator at http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net shows locations of more than 140 different non-school tutoring and/or mentoring programs. You can use these maps to see if the program operates in a high poverty area, near poorly performing schools, etc.

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 5

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.

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 6

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. Visit the Chicago program links at

http://tinyurl.com/TMIChiProgramLinks to see how different
web sites signal their mentoring and tutoring strategy.

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 7

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 program’s web site showing what they do to help the youth have mentoring supports in the years after they participate in this program?

Learn how to create a “Theory of Change http://www.theoryofchange.org/

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 8

Does 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 mentoring or tutoring?

Research Links to draw from: http://tinyurl.com/TMIResearchLinks

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 9

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

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 10

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 PDF http://www.tutormentorexchange.net/images/PDF/decade2 000-2010.pdf See: Chicago Youth Programs web site: http://chicagoyouthprograms.org/index.php/outcomes/

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 11

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?

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 12

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 and volunteers can provide stories and testimonials on web sites and blogs that show the long-term impact of the program. How long are volunteers involved? Programs who keep volunteers involved for 3 to 10 years or longer build a tradition and leadership corps that strengthens a program and provides transition when paid staff move on to new jobs. Look for stories showing volunteer engagement, not just youth engagement. These stories can be told regularly in blog articles more easily than on web sites.
Pg 13

a

b

c

Alums of tutoring program who spoke at past Tutor/Mentor Conferences in Chicago (a & b). Alum (c) from 1980s whose son attended Cabrini Connections and graduated from HS in 2013.

“If it weren't for my mentor Joey Molenda, I would have never considered IB, I would not have known how to apply for college, and I would have probably fallen into the trap many of my counterparts fell into. Thanks to Cabrini Connections, I was shown alternatives to the life I saw everyday in Cabrini. Thanks so much for starting the program.” Message posted on Facebook from college graduate alum of Cabrini Connections.

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

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/lookingbeneath-surface-of-tutormentor.html

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 14

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.

Instead of competing for resources, work together to expand the resource pool.
Use the Interactive Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator to create maps showing other programs in specific geographic areas, as well as assets who could be supporting all programs in an area. See How to use program locator http://tinyurl.com/TMILocator-how-to Do you see evidence on the program’s web site that its leaders work with others to make resources available to all programs in the area? Does it take part in volunteer fairs, joint training activities?

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 15

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 http://tinyurl.com/TMC-Homework-Resources or college & career access resources like http://tinyurl.com/TMI-College-Career

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?
Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net
Pg 16

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? Download Elements of Effective Practice at

http://www.mentoring.org/program_reso urces/elements_and_toolkits

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 17

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-andrecognition

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.

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 18

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.
Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net
Pg 19

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: Your web site:

Organization Your email address

Property of Tutor/Mentor Connection, Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC www.tutormentorexchange.net tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Pg 20

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://tutormentor.blogspot.com http://www.tutormentorconference.org 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

Pg 21

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful