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Tutor/Mentor Connection

Learning is more than school. And solving society’s biggest challenges (notably, the self-perpetuating cycle of poverty that prevents many from experiencing the benefits of an education) occurs through small groups and networks of passionate volunteers. “A way of being” can be more effective than large government or foundation dollars. One such organization is Tutor/Mentor Connection (have a look at a concept map of the organization, it’s goals, and volunteer structure). From their site: “We believe volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs are the bridges that connect volunteers, donors and business leaders with the children, families and schools on the other side of the socioeconomic divide.”

According to Dan Bassill “Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) is to provide an organized framework that empowers and encourages adult volunteers to contribute their time, effort, ideas and advocacy toward creating life-changing solutions for children in educationally and economically disadvantaged areas.”

Individuals like Dan and those within T/MC offer a hope, and rare glimpse, of a learning society that is based on equality, volunteerism, and contributions from those who are able to give time and expertise.


  1. Thank you George for introducing the Tutor/Mentor Connection to your network. When most people visit our sites they are “overwhelmed” with the amount of information. Thus, we don’t expect anyone to learn all of this in one or two visits, just like a student is not expected to pack four years of college into one or two hours of study.

    What we have is a portal that anyone in the world can use. We hope this leads to students from different universities, and even high schools, spending quality time learning what the T/MC is, and what ideas in the T/MC can be applied to help youth in their own communities.

    As this happens, we’ll have a growing number of “experts” who understand and can use the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and who will begin adding their own ideas to constantly improve the information being shared.

    Of course, until people actually begin to follow the links through the site they won’t know if what I’m saying has value, or not.

    Thanks for sparking curiosity among your readers.

    Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  2. Nicola wrote:

    Hi George, thank you for highlighting a wonderful initiative. I am now going to read in more detail.

    Hi Dan, I think what you are doing is amazing, we had started to look at working out what might be useful as a mapping solution for a networking project in the UK. I’ve attempted to outline in a PLENK discussion post today. I wondered if you can see any synergies or connections to your portal.

    We hadn’t got too far in terms of trying to think how to use a map – wanted to mess around with an existing Elgg plugin and see if it could be adapted. I won’t comment further because I haven’t had a chance to read more about your vision and story, so would prefer after that (don’t want to ask unnecessary questions).

    Some detail about how far we got is on an image (site is at ninjatherapy which is personal experimentation area):

    1 is what currently seen by everyone, 2 is personal dashboard which can be customised, 3 is showing some current dropdown options with how the classified page currently looks and 4 is just an example of a group. This is all very early messing around.

    Friday, October 29, 2010 at 6:55 am | Permalink
  3. Hi Nicola,

    From what I gathered on PLENK the goal is to gather women in a portal where they would find information, focus, collaborate around issues important to them. This could be defined as trying to bring half the population of the world through an “intermediary bridge” where they would focus on issuses and challenges in any part of the world. That’s a huge undertaking.

    If you look at the Tutor/Mentor Connection you’ll see we also are trying to attract attention of people from all over the world and focus them, using maps, on places in Chicago where high poverty puts challenges on how kids are able to grow up and prepare for adult roles. While the map of Chicago region is a huge geographical area, poverty is only part of it, and we narrow our focus even further, by focusing on organizations where volunteers involved as tutors/mentors.

    Once those volunteers get involved, we then focus them on a wide range of information they could use, drawn from all over the world, to help the kids and programs where they are involved.

    Thus, we’re trying to provide a pretty specific, but important, reason for lots of people to want to come through our web site.

    I think this could duplicate in other cities, and even in other causes, but I think that anyone who tries to solve too many problems, will have difficulty providing focus and attention needed to attract participants to the site.

    I’m a small non profit trying to get attention in a big city where “not invented here” means everyone does their own thing. Thus, I’m very interested in finding ways to work with groups in other cities in ways that would also benefit us where we are.

    As you look through our sites and learn more, feel free to ask questions and offer suggestions.

    Friday, October 29, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  4. Nicola wrote:

    Hi Daniel, thank you so much, this is very helpful and great points re focus and attention, we will go and read, think some more. We have discussed about starting with a small group in one specific location such as a town or city and seeing how they interact, if there was a need for anything specific such as one particular local women’s issue but, but as you say – everyone does their own thing – different projects changing all the time and it could be impossible to try and create a single platform or site that would cover all other womens issues in that area, as well as further outside of that location.

    Thank you re ask questions and offer suggestions, would like to come back to you at some point in the next few weeks or month when we are a bit more coherent and see if there are any possibilities.
    Much appreciated.

    Friday, October 29, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink