The area of the city we are focusing on is again, the west side of Chicago. These include Austin, Pilsen, North Lawndale, East Garfield Park, and Little Village. Some of the conclusions we have drawn from our research of our neighborhoods are that some of these children are fortunate and some are not. Some of the children have to live with the struggles of poverty and some children do not. Circumstances under which they live inclue: drug dealing, poverty, crime, and very few educational opportunities. The primary types of crime in these areas consist of: theft, battery, narcotics, criminal damage, assault, and other similar offenses. These children have very few ways to escape their surroundings, and most of their chances are provided by the schools. The children are served by their schools by extra help from teachers, joining a sports team or club, and perhaps even a tutor/mentor program that takes place at the school.
Some of the differences we have observed in our areas are that some are wealthier than others, some are more crime-ridden, and some have a lack of tutor/mentor programs such as Little Village. Some similarities are parts of all these neighborhoods do have crime and poverty. We see specific needs for a tutor/mentor program in this area. We think that in order to keep the children in school and off of the streets the tutor/mentor programs need to be better known. If children were participating in tutor/mentor programs then they would have a brighter future and people to help guide them throughout the way. Tutor/mentor programs, especially mentor, provide a safe and secure environment for these children to learn, become involved, and build a lasting trust in a parental figure. Neighborhoods in our area that do not have a lot of tutor/mentor programs, such as Little Village, may engage in other activities that perhaps are not for the best such as being involved with drugs. Having tutor/mentor programs in an area can give these children growing up a motivation to do well in school and participate in activities that benefit them in the future.
What can be done to alleviate the tutor/mentoring program problem is getting more individuals involved in becoming volunteers . If more people were willing to help perhaps it would show the students that people really do care and it could motivate them to come. Tutor/mentor programs can have speakers from their programs to talk to schools about their mission. This would also motivate them to come to the institutions willingly and with a more positive attitude. Also, we believe that the government can speak out publicly, perhaps Barack Obama, about the benefits of these tutor/mentor programs and how they are available in almost every neighborhood not only in Chicago, but in the entire United States. Making tutor/mentor programs better known can help decrease the dropout rate that Obama has already addressed in some of his speeches. He and others should take an interest in these problems because this could be a way to help solve lost futures of students across the nation. Also the government can donate more money to tutor/mentor programs to help keep books and information updated and allow these programs to stay open. The advantages of this proposed solution is that it is easy to accomplish. If more people knew about tutor/mentoring programs they would be able to become involved and make these things happen. If enough people backed up tutor/mentoring programs they would become a huge success.
Advice I have for the next group of students who will work on this project is to write about specific stories that have proved that tutor/mentoring programs truly help a student struggling in school. For example, perhaps go to a specific tutor/mentoring location such as Cabrini Connections and interview a student. Find out how they got interested in participating in that program and what circumstances were they in that led to them being there. Our class provided background information, statistics, and specific tutor/mentoring programs. The future classes need to make the blog more personal to relate to these parents and students who may become interested in tutor/mentoring programs. The future class needs to get a few success stories from each tutor/mentor program to show that they truly do make a difference in the personal lives of the students and in their education.