I’ve been building a library of articles related to social capital since the early 2000s. Around 2010 I started putting some of t hese into a blog article on my Tutor/Mentor Connection.ning.com site, then in 2016 I created a WordPress article with these same links. I’ve continued to add since then.
I led a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago from 1975 to 2011 and over that time I saw hundreds of inner city youth build bonds with multiple workplace volunteers. Some of these have lasted for decades. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that I began to recognize that this was a form of bridging social capital that was made possible by organized tutor/mentor programs being available and able to attract volunteers from a wide diversity of backgrounds.
I’ve recognized social network analysis as a process of mapping networks that could be applied to helping build an understanding of how networks change as a result of a youth and/or an adult being part of an organized tutor/mentor program, but never was able to find the talent/manpower to apply this thinking to the program I led in Chicago. Nor have I found examples of this work being done by others.
Below is an example of using SNA to understand who I was connected to on Facebook. I did this in 2012. In this cluster you can see students and volunteers from the tutor/mentor programs I led in the 1970s-2000s who I am still connect with via social media. You can view that PDF Report here.
Today I read a 2020 Christensen Institute report titled: The Missing Metrics: Emerging practices for measuring students’ relationships and networks, that talks about the value of social capital and describes four types of measurement. I annotated the report as I read it, and you can see my annotated version here.
I encourage you to share this report with youth program leaders and educators and with policy makers and philanthropist. In the final paragraph of the report the writers say .
“Of course, developing measurement tools and data infrastructure doesn’t come cheap. Funders can also play a pivotal role in accelerating research and development by investing in programs’ measurement capacity and advancing research to validate survey instruments”
Unless major donors step forward and encourage this work, and fund it, it will likely not be done in many places.
I no longer lead a direct service tutor/mentor program so even if I had the resources I do not have access to a group of youth and adults where it could be applied. Thus, this needs to be shared with others who will see the value and want to develop SNA program designs and evaluation tools…..with help from donors.
Read more about my interests in network building and network analysis. click here
I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social media platforms. If these ideas are important to you, let’s connect.