Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome to 2007-08 Cabrini Connections

This week Cabrini Connections is holding orientations for returning and new volunteers on Monday and Tuesday, and for returning and new students on Wednesday and Thursday. Next week we start our 15th full year of tutoring/mentoring at Cabrini Connections. It's been 42 years since 1965 when volunteers from the Montgomery Ward corporation in Chicago started tutoring 2nd to 6th grade kids living in Cabrini Green(view timeline). My experience with that program (1973-1992)led to the formation of Cabrini Connections in October 1992.

The smiling face of the young man on this page provides a reason for why we offer Cabrini Connections each year. He'll be in 7th grade this year and he joins us after being part of the Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program last year.

Our goal is that six years from now he's still smiling (see success steps), but with a high school diploma and a number of options for college and a career. And if we can keep some of our volunteers and alumni connected with each other, and with this student via the internet, we want him to have the help he needs to be starting a job and a career of his choice by age 25.

For this to happen for all of our teens, and for kids living in poverty in other parts of Chicago, we need our volunteers and students to become innovators, using information we provide on the web site to find ways to motivate each other to stay involved each week, and finding ways to build and support student aspirations, work and study habits, and decision making skills that help them avoid negative choices as they move through high school.

At the same time, we want our students, volunteers and alumni to take ownership of Cabrini Connections, and a growing responsibility for recruiting other volunteers and finding donors who will provide the thousands of dollars that enable us to provide Cabrini Connections' support every week for the next year, and many years after that.

If you're a returning student or volunteer, thank you for joining us again. If you're a new student or volunteer, thank you for choosing to spend time with us. On behalf of the staff and leadership of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, I look forward to getting to know you as we journey through the coming school year.

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