(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.