Letter from the Conference Chairperson
HOW DO WE ENGAGE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN ACTIONS THAT HELP INNER CITY KIDS?
I don't have the answer to that question, but I believe if we connect with other people who are thinking about the same problem, and create a library where we can look at their ideas, read, reflect and compare them to our own, we can innovate new solutions. If we can bring leaders, policy makers, donors, volunteers, youth and community members into this process, we can build a flow of resources so as we have ideas we have the ability to apply them in hundreds of locations throughout big cities like Chicago.
I share my own ideas in visual presentations like this one. You can see more at this link.
My vision since first starting the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 has been to connect people who are already involved so we could share ideas and help overcome the challenges we face in building and sustaining long-term connections between volunteers, tutor/mentor programs and inner city young people.
I have been involved as a volunteer and leader of tutor/mentor programs for over
35 years. I believe that comprehensive, volunteer-based non-school
tutor/mentor programs are just as important for helping youth succeed
in school as are well trained principals, smaller class sizes and new
curriculums. I also believe that they expand the networks and social capital of
young people AND the adult volunteers who are involved. They are a strategy for
closing the gap between rich and poor by engaging volunteers from beyond poverty
who would never understand the challenges kids face without being part of a
Such programs should be available in every neighborhood with high poverty and poorly performing schools. Thus most people who have met me have seen me point to maps of Chicago, showing all of the places where volunteers and dollars are needed for good programs to operate, not just the place where I need these resources to operate my own program.
The only way we'll get enough people involved in discussions and learning that results in a continuous flow of dollars, talent and ideas into every tutor/mentor program in the country is by using on-line forums and collaboration technologies. They only way I can bring that into the Tutor/Mentor Conference is by partnership with others who already host such events and who share my passion for helping kids living in high poverty neighborhoods.
The only way we can increase the number of people involved is by finding new and more effective ways to communicate, along with more partners to help distribute our ideas to more people.
I am just one person. After leading the Tutor/Mentor Connection as part of a non profit organization from 1993 to July 2011 I've been continuing to support this effort through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, which is a service enterprise, not a traditional non profit. I've not yet figured out a business plan that generates revenue for the information collection and sharing that I've been doing for nearly 20 years. Thus, expanding the vision for the conference requires the help of others who believe in the benefits of volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring, arts and technology programs.
Thus, I hope you’ll join me at the next Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference, or in an one-line forum where we can get to know each other and exchange ideas that lead to a greater involvement of people beyond those who lead non profits or teach in inner city school, so we have a more consistent flow of resources to every tutor/mentor program, and more tutor/mentor programs in places where they are needed. If you’d like to talk, call me on Skype at dbassill, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel F. Bassill, President, CEO of
Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
and the Tutor/Mentor Connection