the community at technology for humanity

Despite the incredible growth of the Internet since the early 1990s, many citizens still do not have easy access to basic IT tools, whether it's access to hardware, software, or the Internet itself.

Access is an issue that affects people at home, at school and in the community at large. Neighborhoods with less technology access are at a disadvantage in contrast to those neighborhoods with more access when it comes to seeking better education, better jobs, even higher levels of civic participation.

Different groups often lack access for very different reasons. In rural America, especially Indian Country, the high cost of establishing a communications infrastructure has meant that these areas are often the last to see the benefits of the Internet. The disabled community, including the visually impaired, the homebound, and millions of people with other disabilities, often find themselves lacking basic Internet tools because of the limited investments in assistive technologies development.

And K-12 schools across the country continue to struggle when it comes to bringing the Internet into the classroom. Despite the enormous success of initiatives like the federal E-Rate program, schools must still contend with aging computers, crumbling buildings and limited hardware funds. No matter the situation, the access dilemma rears its ugly head in profound ways.

New research titled "Youth Labor Market and Education Indicators for the State of Illinois" shows that huge numbers of minority youth, age 16 to 24, have left high school, lack credentials and are unemployed or essentially unemployable without interventions such as job training and placement. This meeting reinforced the urgency that Tutor/Mentor Connection and others who receive this email have placed on developing strategies to create "alternatives routes beyond traditional public schools to provide skills, socialization and credentials these youth require. The research was sponsored by The Alternative Schools Network is available on the web site.

A second report, published by the Diversity Pipeline Alliance, titled "The Pipeline Report: Building Leaders, Building Business", takes a revealing look at the downward turn over the past several years in the level of
minority participation in business education and the pursuit of business careers. This can be found at

Both reports reinforce the T/MC's call for greater business involvement in on-going actions that PULL youth to careers, using employees, jobs, dollars, technology as strategic resources. When companies encourage employees to become involved as volunteer tutors, mentors, leaders and change-agents in the lives of youth who have too few adult support systems, they reduce the disconnection, provide positive learning opportunities, and develop future workers. Read more about these concepts in the Tutor/Mentor Institute section of

Following are links to a few organizations in Chicago where the primary mission is to create a long-term connection between inner city youth and adult tutors and mentors. Each of these organizations is constantly looking for volunteers and donors to sustain this connection. Visit the LINKS section at to find additional listings of Chicago programs, along with links to similar programs in cities throughout the nation.

AGAPE Youth Network

Cabrini Connections

Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program, Inc.

Chicago Youth Programs, Inc.


Midtown Education Foundation

On-line forums where you can meet leaders and exchange ideas:

MENTOR'S Online Community
hosted by the National Mentoring Partnership
Check out the Elements online at to get a jump on the discussion.

MentorExchange Listserv
hosted by the National Mentoring Center

Join the Tutor/Mentor Connection's Volunteer Recruitment and Leadership Conference eGroups.
Visit the Discussion section at

Volunteer and Donor On-line Resources
Workplace fund raising is now in full swing. Business can support tutoring/mentoring programs that connect youth with adult support systems by encouraging employees to make payroll deduction contributions to local or national tutor/mentor programs. Following are on-line resources that can help volunteers and donors learn about such programs in Chicago or beyond:

State of Illinois
Volunteerism & Community Service

Chicago's Community Resource Network


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