Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How to use the T/MC Interactive Program Locator

Last Thursday, July 16th, the same gloriously sunny day that Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection was hosting its 14th annual Jimmy Biggs Memorial Golf Tournament, Chicago woke up to find out there had been 8 shootings the day before. Our GIS and Mapping Coordinator, Mike Trakan mapped where these shootings happened, and his map is our featured map on the homepage of our Tutor/Mentor Program Locator. You can also enlarge the map at the right to see where the shootings happened and the tutoring and mentoring programs, percentage of those living in poverty and the failing schools in those area.

One of the questions I get about these maps, especially the interactive ones, are "How do I use them?" It truly is a lot of information to wrap your head around. So, one of the new tools that you can access on our Tutor/Mentor Program Locator is "How to use the interactive T/MC map."

Taeho, an intern from the University of Michigan, who came to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection for a week in the early Spring as part of the Alternative Spring Breaks program. Taeho created a movie and a simplified breakdown of all the different components that go onto the Interactive Map: Cities, Boundaries (County, Community, Zip Code), Schools, Poverty, Tutoring and Mentoring Programs, and an Advanced Search Option.

By looking into each component of the interactive map, the concept of how many different factors go into making kids at-risk and what it takes to make them succeed becomes more apparent. You can then go into the asset map and find out about the banks, insurance agencies, pharmacies and other businesses that are located in these neighborhoods that can help tutoring and mentoring programs find dollars and volunteers. For a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the asset map, go here.

If you want to get leaders in government involved, you can find maps with a similar structure to the interactive maps, but showing all the different factors within the lines of an alderman's district, or a State Senator's district, or a U.S. Represenative's district. To find out how to use the government maps, go here.

Finally, like the map posted above, Mike creates maps of the neighborhoods where a child is shot or beaten, when that story makes it into the news. He will then show where the neighborhood's poverty lines, the failing schools, the tutoring and mentoring programs, and the businesses in that area. We call these maps the "Rest of the story" maps since there's much more to the story than what the media reports. To find out how to use the "Rest of the Story" maps, go here.

Hopefully, people will take an intensive look at these maps and begin to understand all the things we do and all the people we try to bring together to make a difference in these communities. Look around and if you have any ideas for a map, leave a comment.

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