At Tutor/Mentor Connection, Mike Trakan creates maps that look at the relationship among poverty, community resources, school performance, and locations of non-school tutoring/mentoring facilities for K-12 students. The maps help community, business, and political leadership visualize these relationships when working toward strategies and partnerships that offer much-needed support for these non-profit programs. The maps are also made available to journalists or anyone who wishes to include "tutoring and mentoring" in published discussions of social problems (crime, poverty, failing schools, etc.) and the search for comprehensive solutions.
Recently, Mike has been blogging about how faith communities can support tutor/mentor programs. "I think you might conclude when looking at our maps that, while many people are already working to help bridge gaps in support structures needed for kids in impoverished neighborhoods to have a shot at meaningful careers and futures... there is a lot of work needed," says Mike. "Faith groups that are already hard at work and generous just might be perfect leaders for new multiple-congregation alliances that promote and support new and existing programs." Recognizing the sheer number of churches in Chicago, and that most share common values of charity and service, Tutor/Mentor Connection believes that faith-based volunteers and donors can play a significant role in the establishment of more tutor/mentor programs and in supporting those which already exist.
If you are interested in this topic, please head over to Mike's blog to find out more. Post a comment or send him an e-mail. I know he would love to hear from you.
P.S. Mike is also a talented singer/songwriter. He put together a free song for this holiday season to thank his fans for support over the years. He describes it as "a spirited Christmas story straight from the streets of an economically-riddled North Pole." Give it listen here.