Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ideas for inspiring critical thinking and creativity

At Cabrini Connections we've more than 20 computer workstations. Volunteers and students can use these during weekly tutoring sessions, or can schedule time to come to the center on other days.

Volunteers who are not one-on-one tutors already host learning activities at the tutoring center on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before tutoring. These are the video, technology, writing and arts clubs.

Kids and volunteers are encouraged to join these clubs, or organize their own learning activities at the center.

Where do you get ideas? I've been looking at Animation web sites, or places where students learn computer animation. This is a growing industry, and if kids learn these skills it can lead to jobs and careers. So where do you start?

Visit the links on the T/MC site, here, and here. Scroll through the links and visit the web sites that interest you. Each has loads of ideas, lesson plans, and links to other related sites.

Many of our 2007-08 teens are in 7th and 8th grade. We even have some 6th graders. If volunteers can organize learning activities, based around some of the ideas you can learn from the links on the T/MC site, and keep kids involved in these activities all the way through high school, the doors you and your student will open will be life changing.

As you move into these activities, let us know what you're doing. If you're a volunteer intersted in teaching these concepts, contact us so we can help you get involved.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Video on Google: The Potion

One of the more creative videos produced by our Innervision Youth Productions program was titled The Potion. It's star was Tramaine Montel Ford, who since then has graduated from Syracruse University (2006) and began an acting career in New York City. In spring 2007 he had a dancing role in the Hairspray Movie. On h is blog he shows that he got acting start with the Cabrini Connections video project.

We've never had funds for consistent year-to-year staffing of the video program, so much of the work has been organized by volunteers. Jimmy Biggs, a former student, was a driving force in IYP and was taking over as leader in 2000, when he died suddendly from Diabetes. View Jimmy's video "The Real Cabrini" and others at

Rebecca Parrish has been leading IYP for the past year, as a volunteer. We thank her for creating a digital archive of the past videos and putting them on the Internet.

Since we're in the movie business, we need a producer, who would provide $25,000 to $40,000 per year for a part time or full time leader of the video/arts/technology programs at Cabrini Connections. Because of YouTube and Google Videos, the work that kids and volunteers do can now be distributed throughout the world. This gives much more visibility to a sponsor/financier.

If you know of someone who'd make a multi year commitment to this role, please show them the videos and introduce them to us.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mayor as Mentor - Great Idea

I encourage you to read Nicole's Blog . It's one of the links on this page.

Nicole is one of the staff coordinators for the weekly tutor/mentor sessions at Cabrini Connections. She's also helping with the Tutor/Mentor Connection networking that connects tutor/mentor programs in Chicago with each other.

In this article, she writes about how the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, is a mentor, and links to a story in the New York Times that describes his experiences. It's a great read, and Nicole shows how this relates to us who are doing mentoring here in Chicago.