Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Party a Huge Success!

Cabrini Connections held our Annual Holiday Party on December 20 and 21st. The food table was filled with pizza, homemade goodies from the volunteers and treats from Bespoke Catering. In addition, each volunteer received a framed picture of themselves with their student. The activities included board games, group-building activities (sponsored by the Young Leaders club), video skits (sponsored by IYP) and ornament making and cookie decorating (sponsored by the Art Club.) The clubs took a big role in planning and running activities for the party. The pictures speak for themselves!

Go here for more pictures.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Invisible Volunteers

Pictured above are volunteers from the Bethesda Home in Chicago who donated their time to stuff and send our Annual Holiday Fund mailing. These lovely and helpful folks have also volunteered their time in the past by helping with our Back-to-School mailing earlier in the year.

Helping stuff and send mailings is one of the many invisible tasks performed by volunteers for Cabrini Connections. We have volunteers who bring snacks, plan activities, run clubs, take pictures, design web pages, edit and write articles, and many more... without these people Cabrini Connections would cease to run! Thank you!

If you would like to learn more about how you can help with invisible tasks at Cabrini Connections, visit our Volunteering page.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Alumni Update: James Golliday

( reposted from Cabrini Connections website)

My name is James Golliday and I'm a former participant of the Montgomery Wards Tutoring Program. This was the original program before Cabrini Connections. This is a message for anybody from Cabrini Green who participated in either program as a child. This tutor/mentor program provided many of us the knowledge and opportunity to be successful in life. It was hard enough growing up in Cabrini with all the gangs, drugs and other violence we had to endure. Personally, I was happy when Tuesday and Wednesday came around because I knew for at least two hours I was going to a place where someone cared about my life and wanted to help me. I tried to maintain perfect attendance just so I could participate in the field trips. Cabrini tutoring program gave us an opportunity to go places we probably would never have visited as a child. The Chistmas and Halloween parties helped out many children who were less fortunate than others during a Christmas and Halloween. After leaving the program I served four years in the United States Marine Corps. After being discharged from the Marine Corps, I returned home and enrolled in college. I will be receiving my Bachelor's of Arts in Social Science and Secondary Education in May of 2003 and I will be attending Northeastern Illinois University in the fall for grad school. Currently, I'm student teaching at Jones College Prep High School. I mentioned my brief biography because the success I have achieved I owe not only to my family, but to the Cabrini Tutoring Program. There are many of you who have achieved the same amount of success. As alumni, we need to start networking to make sure this program doesn't fold. Dan (President of Cabrini Connections) will not be around for ever, and who better to take over the program than those who went through the program. Yes, this is a cry for help. Alumni, please don't forget where your roots are.

Alumni Update: Alicia Hall

(reposted from Cabrini Connections website)

My name is Alicia Hall. I am 20 years old and I am recently finished my sophmore year at Northeastern Illinois University. I started at Cabrini Connections in 1997 when I was in eighth grade. My mentor's name was Laurie Streeter. In 2001 I received the Golden Apple Scholarship for students who aspire to become teachers. It is a four year scholarship ($28,000) which requires me to graduate college within four years an commit to teaching in a school of need for at least five years. The program also provides me with guidance throughout my four years of college and will help with job placement once I graduate.

When I first met my tutor/mentor, Laurie, I was a quiet and shy young lady whose mind was never made up. I was not doing ok in school, but not as well as I could have been. Laurie helped me to reach my true potential and get the grades that I should have been getting all along. Moving on to high school Laurie continued to work with me soon becoming more of a mentor and a friend than a tutor. Laurie and I worked together all through my high school years. We kept in touch when she had to work in New York for a few months. I even got to fly out and visit for a weekend. During my senior year we visited a few colleges together and she helped me with the applications. She also helped me with my application and essays for the Golden Apple Scholarship. In June of 2001, I graduated from Lane Technical High School. Laurie was also there at my graduation. Laurie played a big role in my success through high school and I think that it would have been hard to finish without her help, advice, and piece of mind. To this day Laurie and I still keep in touch. Every now and then we go out for lunch or dinner, just to catch up on what has been going on in our lives.

Cabrini Connections has also played a large role in my success up to this day. The program has provided me with so many great opportunities. Since 1998, I have been a staff member at Cabrini Connections. I was also lucky to attend a trip to Ireland for two weeks. Although the trip was sponsored through another foundation, I would have never heard about the trip, applied for the trip, or did the things I needed to do to prepare for international travel if it were not for Cabrini Connections. The staff (Gena) helped a lot with that. I also attended a trip to Aspen Colorado for two weeks. These are two things I know I would have never done, at least at that age, if I were not a part of Cabrini Connections.

To this day I can look back at the experiences that I have had and say that I would have never had them if it were not for Cabrini Connections. I have met many people and done many things and I thank Cabrini Connections and its staff for giving me so many wonderful opportunities.

Alumni Update: Marquita Hall

(reposted from Cabrini Connections website)

My name is Marquita Hall. I am 23 years old and I am now finishing my last semester at Northern Illinois University. I will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and a minor in Sociology on May 8, 2004. I started Cabrini Connection when I began high school. I was a member of the Cabrini Green Tutoring Program (CGTP), which is for kids in second grade through sixth grade, and I was told about Cabrini Connections after I was no longer eligible to attend CGTP.

Cabrini Connections played a major role in my life during my high school years. I was involved in many activities such as performance arts and video group which broadened my horizons. We went on many trips to different businesses to learn about the many careers that we could go in to. We also went on college tours which opened my eyes to the fact that I needed to take a further step after high school by going on to college.

Gena Schoen, who was a program manager at Cabrini Connections, really stuck by me and taught me how to go about applying to college, how to apply for financial aid, and also took me to colleges for tours. She was also a mentor to me and someone who I could talk to and trust. We still keep in touch. Whenever I am having a hard time or slacking in my responsibilities
or schoolwork, Gena is there to give me the push that I need. Cabrini Connections also helped me to be a better person. I had the opportunity to go to a program introduced to Cabrini Connections called A Grassroots Aspen Experience. Each summer and winter inner-city kids from all over the country went to this program in Aspen, Colorado and I was one of the few chosen from Chicago to go. This program is very powerful and helped me make major changes in my life. In the summer we did mountain climbing, rappelling and a ropes course and in the winter we skied.

Cabrini Connections is a wonderful program that is beneficial to many teenagers. It is sort of a safe haven, somewhere they can go to get off of the streets that gives them alternatives as well a place that they can focus on their education and get the guidance they need. Many of the things that I now know I would have never known if it hadn¹t have been for Cabrini Connections. I didn't know what financial aid was and I didn't know the names of any colleges. I learned from Cabrini Connections to take advantage of your resources and that¹s one of the things that helped me successfully get through college. I am very grateful for Cabrini Connections and the Cabrini Green Tutoring Program because without them I don¹t think I would have come this far in my life.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Student Spotlight: Kevin Stanfield

Meet Kevin Stanfield. Kevin is a Senior and has been with Cabrini Connections for six years. In addition to meeting with his long-time tutor, Bob Lassandrello, every week, Kevin also participates in many of the clubs and other activities offered by Cabrini Connections. Kevin is involved with the Art Club, Tech Club and Circle Group! He was also a member of the 2005 Ireland Trip group.

Spotlight: What are your biggest achievements in the past year?

Kevin: I have had three jobs: Gallery 37, Wrigley Field and Capi's Italian Kitchen.

Spotlight: Tell us some interesting facts about yourself.

Kevin: I am funny. I love music and art. And I love to eat. Oh, and I like coming to the programs and trips at Cabrini Connections.

Spotlight: Why do you come to Cabrini Connections?

Kevin: To do homework. To meet new people. And for the programs.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Today in Tech Club

Today in tech club we learned how to make a video, upload it to youtube, and publish it on our blog. If anybody has any interesting videos to publish on our blog please email

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Egdewood Experience

Kevin Here.
I am here at Cabrini Connections. I participated in the edgewood experience. I thought it to be fun, fascinating, and more fun. By the end of the day i was pooped out. I have joined the Edgewood college staff, students and friends for the last two years. I met many new people and have enjoyed so many fun encounters. Though the heat was scorching many people showed up for fun, fun, and new culture. I enjoy communicating with people. i.e. I talk alot!! This time people actually listened to me and enjoyed what I was saying. We all went on a scavenger hunt in the downtown chicago area. We hunted for Hotels such as the Embassey Suites and The Marriott. We Hunted for bussiness in the "Water Tower Place." We joked, and laughed, listened, and were just plain old friends. The best part of the whole deal was while searching for air conditioning and landmarks, we didn't even notice that three and a half hours flew by like five minutes. We managed to find everthing and get our answers down. We played jeopardy, every time anyone got an answer right, a prize was given. No one felt left out. We played a name game, which to be honest, confused the hell out me. "Wait which one is Keila?" In my opinion, the best part was that the whole thing was that it was done voluntary and we had a great time. I also enjoyed our game of sharades based on "showing whom we are." What a rare subject, as most adults dont even know who they are, and even if we do truly know, we are afraid to show. Well I got alot out of the day and it still isn't over. To make a great day, dont wait for anyone, do it your self.

Edgewood College visits Cabrini Connections students

27 Edgewood College graduate students are visiting Cabrini Connections this week for a three-day program. Led by Dr. Tom Holub, these students are preparing to be middle and high school teachers and this experience is designed to give them experience working with inner-city kids. The 16 Cabrini Connections students involved will gain valuable tools and strategies for futures planning by participating in the program. In addition, each student attending all three days will recieve a pair of shoes courtesy of Famous Footwear.

Highlights of the three-day program include trips to Millenium Park and the Museum of Contemporary Art and City Walks (scavenger hunts.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Student Spotlight: Cabrini Connections 2006 Graduating Class

Kenneth Chatman

Kenneth has been with the Cabrini Connections program for five years. His volunteer is Joe Piaskowy. After graduation, he plans to work during the summer and attend college starting in the fall. Right now he plans to attend the Northwestern Business College to study business administration or the American Academy of Art to study art. Kenneth says, "It was the people that made me stay here. It was fun and I got to meet people."

Jessica Fields

Jessica's volunteer is Renata Biernat. After she graduates, she plans to attend Northern University and study business.

Jonathan Summers

Jonathan's volunteer is Jen Heldenbiddle and he has been with Cabrini Connections for five years. After graduation, he will spend the summer working at Starbucks and then hopes to attend college in the fall.

Diara Fleming

Demetris Smith

Demetris has been at Cabrini Connections for four years and works with volunteer Brian Portnoy. He plans to attend Chicago State University for one year and then transfer to Loyola or University of Illinois to study business. After finishing college he wants to go to culinary school in order to fulfill his long term goal of owning his own restaurant.

Other graduates:
Jereica Davis
Quintevia Capers

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hi.. I'm Leo Hall - Dan Bassill's tutee and friend

Today, I got an email from my friend and former tutor, Dan Bassill, about the graduation ceremony going on tonight. It made me think about when I graduated from MWTP (Montgomery Ward Tutoring Program) or what some of you may call Cabrini Connections. See, I was Dan's first tutee, way back in 197??. It's been that long ago, I honestly cannot remember. But ask Dan about the one kid that changed his life and he will probably mention me (or maybe his daughter and son first, then me). But I digress. As a former tutee and volunteer, I want to say that you all have a great program working on your behalf. When I graduated from the program, it only went to the sixth grade, but you all get to stay until senior year of high school. That is so cool, cause high school can be a very stressful time in your life. I should know, I went to one of the largest high schools in the state, Lane Technical High School. Graduated with 1000 students, so I was basicallty a number. But the things I learned from Dan and the MWTP really kept my head on straight. See, Dan was at every major event in my life, with the exception of the births of my children. Now, how many people do you know would travel all over the country to see you graduate from college, then come back to see you get married. With gas prices today, I'd only expect a card. Dan has been my mentor and friend for over 30 years and I really respect his opinion on things. I also liked what he has done for the children in Cabrini Green, the children of Chicago, IL. But especially, the children on Cabrini Green. Dan has taken a lot of heat from a lot of people and he kept going. So, you all are the fruits of his labor. After graduating from high school, I went to Memphis State University (Univ. of Memphis) and graduated in 1988, on the Dean's List with a Bachelors degree in Engineering. I now have 2 sons, and am a movie producer and director. Alot of what I do with people is what Dan used to do with me, and that is mentor them. Teach them how to make good decisions and trust and believe in themselves. Presently, I am on the set of my new movie, and I asked Dan to send me some CC products, tee-shirts and stuff, so that my cast can wear them on the set. You never know, you may see CC on the big screen real soon. Well, time to get back on set, but I wanted to say this, keep your head up and never forget where you came from and the people that got you there. Thanks Dan and MWTP for everything that you have done for me.

Leo Hall

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Join Art Club!

My name is Kevin Stanfield and I have been coming to CC for 5 years. I have been a member of the Art Club for four years. Art is very interesting and important to me. I like grafitti art ( on paper not on walls) and I like to make mosaics. Two summers ago I worked at Gallery 37 and we made mosaics and we sold them. It was a good job.

Art Club at CC is good. It teaches you how to create new things. I made a mural which is a big painting. When you go to Art Cub and make art it gets sold at the CC art show. My first year I made $400, last year I made $175. The tutors for art club are very nice and helpful. It is good to try new things, it won't hurt to join the art club. Look on the blog for some of my art work!!!!!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Student Spotlight: Jabar Norman

For the second year in a row, Jabar was recognized for his entry for the National History Fair. Last year, his pictoral exhibit, which is on display near the entrance at Cabrini Connections, was one of three selected by Westinghouse Academy for submission to the regional finals. This year, Jabar's research paper titled, "Cabrini Green: From the Beginning to the Struggling End," has done even better. His examination into the history of Cabrini Green and the changes - both good and bad - that it has undergone over the years was chosen by the regional judges as a finalist for the Statewide competition. State Finalists are then sent to Washington D.C. to compete for the National Prize.

Keep up the good work Jabar! And good luck at State!

Monday, April 24, 2006

i am Kevin

hey I am Kevin! i am 16 years old. year so My tutor is Michael Hayes. He is cool. There hasn't really been anything going on in my life. My whole family has gone to cabrini connections for tutoring. Two of my sisters two of my brothers and me. witha single parent. I think the program is awsome. It is the people that make the program as they are the ones who put their own time and energy into it. I appreciate what everyone at cabrini connections has done for me. I get constucyive time and criticism on my work. I know that their words have helped me become the student i am today. i am going to to tutorin this wednesday. I attend every wednesday. I enjoy very much and i know my mother does too. I like that they make a safe, constuctive learning environment for everyone. I am a sophormore in highschool. I get decent grades. I am going to college. I have some ideas of what carreers i would like to go into. I don't know for sure. Yeah, on May 9, 2006 I am going to do an edgewood talk. So i want world peace and to end starvation and all that all junk! "Junk," because everyone says it meaninglessly and because it will never happen. No i am not a pessimest just right. I am more of an optimist when i want to be. So i will see everyone later. thank you. Good night and good luck!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Welcome to the new Cabrini Connections blog!

Welcome! I hope this will become a place where students and volunteers can express their thoughts about Cabrini Connections. We are looking for a few students and volunteers who would like to post periodically to our blog about the events happening at Cabrini Connections and in our neighborhood. If you are interested in becoming one of our bloggers please email me at

Friday, April 14, 2006

Summer is almost here!

We had a great meeting this week to discuss plans for the art and tech clubs this summer! If anyone has extra ideas for tech or art related events that they would like to do feel free to email me.
Good luck on exams!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Last week at Career Day the speakers were very outgoing & interesting. Everyon had a good time including me. I now know what to expect when I go to college. The Chef was interesting and nice. He talked to us about opening his own grocery store. ----Kevin

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Alumni Update: Corrine Murphy

(original article posted in April 2006 to the Cabrini Connections website)

I am Corrine and I am 19 years old. I have a been a student at Cabrini Connections for seven years. It is a great program because not only it help me with my school work, but helped me grow as well. I improve my grades and my GPA by coming to Cabrini Connections. Now thanks to Cabrini Connections because, not only I'm an honor student, I am a Freshman at Arkansas State University becoming a sophomore with a 3.5 GPA AND Honor Roll.

Thank you Cabrini Connections for all the help you have provided for me. Now I will pass on my skills as a student alumni and help other students.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Student Spotlight: Jonathan Summers

(original article posted in March 2006 to the Cabrini Connections website)

With the fortunate help of Cabrini Connections, I recently acquired a position at Starbucks. The fortunate part is because I was desperately searching for a job, which I need in order to graduate, and times were getting extremely rough financially. I looked at jobs that didn’t interest me – I just wanted a place to give me a chance and be nice about it. Because I happened to be lucky enough to be part of part of Cabrini Connections, an opportunity found me. Someone from Starbucks spoke to the group. I met him after he spoke and interviewed with him the next week. Though I have acquired a position, I must not give myself all of the credit. By now, I would still be around the city, going door to door desperately looking for an occupation.

Now, I have found something I that I think I’ll like and learn new things about myself and other people and get a taste of the real world. I want to thank Cabrini Connections and everyone who helped organize this. I want to personally thank Cabrini Connections for lending a helping hand to helping us all. I originally wanted to thank Dan Bassill for this. But why not thank him by posting this entry to show what a difference he and others can make to people like myself? Now, I can help support my household with an occupation without worries. Not only that, I am in the work program at my school, which means I can graduate because I have this job! And Again

-Thank You-