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.