Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Parties at Cabrini Connections

Guest article submitted by Kyle Petit:

Here’s some background information about me before you read on:

My name is Kyle Petit and I’m currently a senior at the University of Missouri. I’m from the Chicago suburbs home for Winter break. I thought it would be fun to come volunteer at the center while in town. This is a recap of my first two nights spent volunteering at Cabrini Connections.

Last Wednesday (December 19th) was my first night here at Cabrini Connections. Each Wednesday, while school is in session, high school kids from the neighborhood come into the center to receive an hour or two of tutoring/mentoring from a specific volunteer that is assigned to them throughout the year. The volunteers I met ranged from local college students to working professionals. Each volunteer I met was extremely nice and seemed really happy to be here working with the children.

I would estimate that there were between 20-30 high school students from the neighborhood in attendance this night. The atmosphere was very relaxed and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk to some of the local high-schoolers.

DeSean is a 10th grade student at nearby Wells High School and has been coming to the center since he was in 7th grade. He is also an exceptional artist as shown through the murals he painted that were on display inside the center.

All of the children I met seemed very happy to be a part of the program and they appeared to have an inseparable bond with their tutor/mentor. It really made me wish I was still in the Chicago area throughout the year, so that I was able to volunteer on a weekly basis and be able to form a lasting connection with one of the students as well.

The following night was set aside for the middle school aged children. I would estimate that there were between 50-60 children in attendance in that night. Needless to say, this set of children was a much more boisterous group than last night’s. These kids were a lot of fun to be around because there was never a shortage of excitement. A lot of them were extremely talkative. I talked to some children while we made Christmas ornaments in the designated art station. Jamal, a local seventh-grader, showed me some of his paintings that were on display. I was particularly impressed with his painting of Luol Deng.

All in all, the two nights spent here were a lot of fun and I met a lot of great people- both volunteers and local students. I’m looking forward to volunteering here at the center until I have to go back to college in mid-January.

Here is the link to see photos I took from these two nights.

Thank you Kyle, for writing this article. We're constantly looking for others who will tell the story of Cabrini Connections. If you'd like to help, just email

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