I’m part of two on-line communities. One is the Connected Learning #clmooc group, which is active on Twitter. The second is the Giraffe Heroes group, which just formed on Facebook.  Below is a response to a post I made this weekend in the Giraffe group.


I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in Chicago in 1993 (and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011) to support the growth of volunteer-based non-school tutor/mentor programs in high poverty areas. I drew from my own 20 years experience leading such a program to project areas of need which I could focus on.  One was the challenge of attracting consistent, flexible, on-going operating dollars. The second was that of attracting and retaining talent to help lead the program.

In my #clmooc group we’re reading a book about on-line affinity groups and talking about “What it is that keep us connected and learning together. What is meant by affinity space?” I encourage you to visit the hashtag and follow along.   There are amazing stories of how some young people are connecting with others in these groups, and are motivated to spend countless hours contributing to the group’s success, and in building their own skills.  I asked if there was a list of  universities teaching future teachers to nurture this type of learning and someone responded, saying “It would be a small list”.

That got me thinking of my own outreach to universities. And it led me to create the graphic shown below, which I posted on NOWCOMMENT, asking for help in unpacking its meaning.


You can see an arrow in the middle, showing the path every youth goes through as he/she grows from first grade, through high school, then toward jobs and careers.  College and/or vocational school is a period following high school and before jobs for most kids.

I’m proposing that a college curriculum could be developed, using this graphic as a blueprint. It proposes reaching kids when they are young, and staying connected to them, perhaps through a variety of  course work, and formal and informal affinity groups (?), as they move through college into — and through — adult lives.

At the right side of the arrow you see two yellow boxes. The top one is for those who go into direct service work in nonprofit organizations as staff, and future leaders, of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and throughout the world.  The bottom box, is for other students, who go through the same path, take some of the same courses, are part of the same discussions, but who pursue careers in business, finance, law, journalism, religion, politics, etc.


Here’s a second graphic, from this series of INFLUENCE articles on my blog.

Look at this graphic, and think of those two boxes as people on the left and people on the right side of this graphic.

Both want the same long-term outcomes.  However one works in direct service, and is constantly seeking resources to support their continuing involvement and the constant learning and innovation that leads to better outcomes.

The other represents people who have the talent, dollars, time and other resources needed, but under the current system of philanthropy and government funding, limit their giving to only a few of those who need help, and for only a few years of the time help is needed.  It’s a system not designed to deliver real long-term change in thousands of locations.  It needs to change.

That change can start here. What if the learning that people do, starting when they are young, prepares those on the left, to be more proactive, and generous, in giving support to those who need help, using data maps to show where help is most needed, and the web sites of those on the right side to decide who to help, and how much help to offer?

SDGs-GlobalGoalsForSustainableDevelopment-05As my Giraffe friend said, “funding the work is almost always a problem“.  At the right is the graphic showing the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development.   Visit this blog article and then the link to the SDG site. Look at the information available for each goal.

Imagine the potential of universities in every part of the world offering a curriculum that prepared some graduates to work directly in solving these problems and prepared all other alumni for a lifetime of supporting that work.

I’d be delighted to explore this idea with others, especially with people who have the wealth needed to fund new programs on college campuses.  I doubt that the motivation to adopt this idea will come without a significant financial incentive.