A Case Study of the Tutor/Mentor Connection of Cabrini Connections
An Effort to Build a Supportive Infrastructure for Tutoring and Mentoring Programs in Chicago
Church groups, sports leagues, tutoring programs, and other small primary support programs are important fixtures in many neighborhoods--providing children with safe spaces to spend their out-of-school time and offering young people opportunities not only to form meaningful relationships with adults and peers but also to learn new skills. Recognizing the challenges that many primary supports face in sustaining their programs--particularly small organizations--Chapin Hall has considered the types of "infrastructures"--such as physical resources, information, or support services--that might be developed to support such programs. To broaden understanding of the various types of primary support infrastructures that do or could exist, Chapin Hall conducted a brief case study of one infrastructure-building effort in Chicago called the Tutor-Mentor Connection (T/MC), whose mission is to serve as a catalyst for expanding and improving after-school tutoring and mentoring opportunities for inner city children in Chicago. The report begins with background on T/MC, including its origins, mission, leadership and staffing, funding, and planning and evaluation efforts. Next are descriptions of T/MC's four primary program components: research, public awareness, resource-building, and education/consulting, as well as the benefits and challenges of each component according to various interviewees. The report concludes with a discussion of the overall benefits fostered and the challenges faced by T/MC, several considerations for T/MC's future work, and suggestions for further study on primary support infrastructures. The appendices include a list of people interviewed and materials reviewed for the case study, a supplementary report on a spring 1998 survey of tutoring and mentoring programs, and a copy of the interview protocol.