Monday, December 29, 2008

Continued Coaching!

As part of the sport's analogy series I want to continue by giving background information about myself. I have been an athlete nearly my entire life. I have played on numerous basketball, football, and even baseball teams throughout my career. On those teams I found a way to become a leader as a captain of nearly every team that I have been apart of. The hard work that I put into athletics, and lets not forget academics, allowed me to earn and accept a full-scholarship to Northwestern University as a member of the football team. Due to a career ending injury I was unable to display my athletic ability on the football field at Northwestern, but I am able to continue to display my leadership ability in the field of Social Service!

The Cabrini Connections' staff would like to wish everybody a Happy New Years!!! (I know I know...I'm a little early)

While the Cabrini Connections' players are enjoying what we hope is a fun-filled break, the members of the organization's front office and the coaching staff have continued to prepare for a successful winter and spring quarter!!!

As the Head Coach, I took the time out today to analyze each and every player on the team (every mentor, mentee, and Volunteer Coordinator) so that each can be provided with the right coaching to have success as the program continues. So me and Assistant Coach, Chris Warren have been spending our day contacting each and every mentor, mentee, and Volunteer Coordinator in an effort to share these coaching tips. We have reminded the team of the start up dates for the 2nd quarter (Jan. 14-15th), reminded players of necessary paperwork that needs to be turned in, provided words of encouragement, pointed out areas of improvement, and maybe most importantly...just making sure all the players had a Merry Christmas and wishing them all a Happy New Years!!!
I truly believe if each and every member of the team makes a continued effort to work on individual techniques and skills, then those efforts can and will benefit the entire team as a whole and will move us closer to reaching our goal of each and every student entering a career by the age of 25. "Student continue with your preparation and focus. Volunteers continue with your commitment and dedication. Volunteer Coordinators continue with your leading by example, consistency, and your problem solving. Fans and other supporters continue with your financial contributions and other valuable resources that you provide. And the Head Coach and the entire coaching staff will continue providing all of the members of the team with the proper coaching so that each of the players on the team has the proper techniques and skills to be successful in and outside of Cabrini Connections...and in LIFE!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Head Coach is Always on the Job!

As part of the sport's analogy series I want to continue this week by continuing to give background information about myself and my start with this organization. I have been an athlete nearly my entire life. I have played on numerous basketball, football, and even baseball teams throughout my career. On those teams I found a way to become a leader as a captain of nearly every team that I have been apart of. The hard work that I put into athletics, and lets not forget academics, allowed me to earn and accept a full-scholarship to Northwestern University as a member of the football team. Due to a career ending injury I was unable to display my athletic ability on the football field at Northwestern, but I am able to continue to display my leadership ability in the field of Social Service!
First and foremost, the Cabrini Connections' organization would like to wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years!!!!

This week's post will show how even during the holiday festivities a Head Coach is always on the job. Last week the Cabrini Connections' team celebrated the Christmas Holidays by having a holiday party. Cabrini Connections' team member brought in treats for others to enjoy, some played various games, some enjoyed just hanging out and enjoying each other's company, while other members of the team went out for a holiday dinner off site. There was festive music, good food and treats, raffles with prizes, and a overall sense of enjoyment for what was taking place and a sense of accomplishment as we ended the 1st quarter on a very positive note. The coaching staff presented awards to various standouts on the team (Perfect Attendance Honorees and the FUNdraising For Quarters Winner). Last week's session was truly a positive and festive experience for all.

As the Head Coach of the team, I was enjoying the festivities, but I was also continuing to work towards the goals of the team's future in many ways. All throughout the events I continued to scout the team in an effort to see who was enjoying themselves, who was sitting alone, who was present and who was not present, and what all needed to take place at the moment to have even greater team success 2nd quarter and beyond. As a result of the observations, space was reserved for the players who needed to get homework done, team members made an effort to interact and engage those who were sitting alone, gratitude and rewards were provided for those present, and follow up on the reasons why others could not attend.

Although the holiday festivities were suppose to be a fun-filled relaxed atmosphere, as the Head Coach of the Cabrini Connections' organization, I know and understand that I am always on the job and that no matter what occasion I have to keep remain focused on the overall mission of the program. So while the players on the team enjoy a 3 week break from the program, the Head Coach and the Assistant Coaches will be evaluating the 1st quarter and brainstorming ways in which to have further team success in the 2nd quarter and beyond!

Happy Holidays from the Cabrini Connections' Team

Monday, December 15, 2008


As part of the sport's analogy series I want to continue this week by continuing to give background information about myself and my start with this organization. I have been an athlete nearly my entire life. I have played on numerous basketball, football, and even baseball teams throughout my career. On those teams I found a way to become a leader as a captain of nearly every team that I have been apart of. The hard work that I put into athletics, and lets not forget academics, allowed me to earn and accept a full-scholarship to Northwestern University as a member of the football team. Due to a career ending injury I was unable to display my athletic ability on the football field at Northwestern, but I am able to continue to display my leadership ability in the field of Social Service!
Last week's article talked about the behind the scenes action that takes place in order for a program to work. The GM, Head Coach, and the Assistants met to not only discuss the overall picture but to diagram a play for the end of the 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, and beyond. We will call the play the "pitch." In the meeting we discussed the basics and the small details that can and will lead to bigger and more consistent success in our games(short yardage play). We talked about communication, consistency, accountability, and team work; and how using these concepts to diagram and carry out plays are keys to success!
Now it was time to 'call the play in!' Following announcements during the tutoring/mentoring sessions we huddled up and provided both mentors and mentees the play! The Head Coach, the Assistant Coaches, and all of the players sat in the huddled and discussed the play...the "pitch!"
For the pitch to work there are a lot of tasks that each member of the team must do.
1st...The Head Coach, Assistant Coaches had to know and understand what play needed to be called
-a simple play (the pitch) to just get a 1st down...not a touchdown all in one play
-cover the small details of the program (name tags, weekly expectations, resources etc...)
2nd...The play had to be communicated to all of the members on the team
-the leaders of the team (volunteer coordinators) needed to know what all they needed to do and how to do it
-know the expectations of the program
-the importance and value of their consistent participation
-aware of resources
-THE LEADER'S OF THE TEAM MUST 'PITCH' THE INFORMATION TO THE Mentors and Mentees...and continue to practice the play until each player gets the 1st down!!!
3rd...The Head Coach and the Assistant Coaches must then observe the play, see what went well and what didn't go so well, and continue to work with both the mentors and mentees so that the 'pitch' is a successful play.
This is just one play in the Cabrini Connections' playbook. The 'pitch' is simple and basic play designed to get a short amount of yards, but if each member of the Cabrini Connections' team works as a team, communicates properly, knows and understands what is and is not working...and uses that information to perfect the play, then the 'pitch' can and will be successful throughout the game! Small successes such as everybody making an effort to put on name tags after signing in, putting the chairs up/cleaning their space before leaving, and enjoying their time at Cabrini Connections are short yardage plays that can lead to big gains in the near future!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cabrini Connections' Alum Shares...

It's always good to hear from Cabrini Connections' alums and it's even sweeter to hear that they are not only doing well, but also how the program helped them. Thank you Maggie for staying connected to the Cabrini Connections' program. We wish you the best of luck as you continue to have success for you and your family!
My name is Maggie Smith and I'm 21 years old. My time at Cabrini Connections was memorable. I enjoyed making friends, having help from my tutor and all the extra activities that Cabrini Connections had to offer. Around the holidays, they really helped for the children in need. Currently I live in Woodstock, IL with 2 children. I graduated from Lincoln Park High School with had participated in JROTC & Band. In JuniorHigh I was on the Track & Field Team, Softball, Cheerleading, Dancing, etc. As for furthering my education I have more than one major that I am interested as in pursuing: Business Administration, Criminal Justice and my favorite Law. I attend Northwestern Business College for a year in 2005 and did wonderful. I still talk about what happiness Cabrini Connections has brought to me in my younger years. I hope that I can enroll my children in tutoring activities as good as Cabrini Connections.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tis the Season for Giving

Over the past couple of weeks the Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection staff have been taking part in our annual Holiday mailer. The packages of information went to many past, current, and hopefully future Cabrini Connections' supporters. Our aim is to share a little more about what all we do here at Cabrini Connections with the youth and volunteers who participate in our program, and by sharing this information more and more people will be willing to support our program in various ways.

Beyond just the mailers that we sent out to the large group, the entire staff took different amounts for personal use. Individually, we all took some time to think of people in our own personal network that we felt would not only like to hear more about what we do, but could further support our program. Whether the support came from just spreading the word about Cabrini Connections to people in their network, donating a dollar or two, sharing other valuable resources, or all of the above.

On Monday night, I put my list together and these are the top 6 people that I came up with to send my personal mailers to. First and foremost, I sent a mailer to my mother Catherine Nix. Not just for the simple fact that my mother has always supported any and everything that I do, but she is so proud that I am dedicating my life to benefit others...and right I am dedicating my life to the Cabrini Connections' family.

The next person on my list was a good friend Rebecca Acosta. Rebecca is teacher in California and over the years we have continued to talk about ways in which we can better assist the students that we work with. I'm working with Chicago's inner-city youth and Becca is working with suburban youth in California. And although we work with two different populations, we are working towards the same goals and understand that necessary resources are needed for the students to reach those goals.

The four people rounding out my list are fellow NU alums and members of the NFL family. Barry Cofield(NY Giants), Jason Wright(Cleveland Browns), Trai Essex(Pittsburgh Steelers), and Noah Herron(former Green Bay Packers). I did not add these individuals to my mailing list for what seems obvious, the financial status. These four individuals were added because of the conversations that we had at one time or another about doing what we can to give back and what others provided us on our road to Northwestern University and our respective careers. Each and every person on this list, including myself, did not get to where we are now without the help of others, and by knowing, understanding, and believing this fact we are know how important it is for us to do the same for those following in our footsteps!

By these guys being in a position where there is tons of media attention in the NFL, positive and negative, these guys will hopefully get these holiday mailers and not just read about what we do and give a dollar or two, but use that some of that media attention to 'tell the Cabrini Connections' story and how that story features a mission to help the youth create and reach their potential and their goals!

Click here to view the Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection eMail Holiday Card. Please send this to members of you own friend and family network and many will add their Holiday Fund donations to help us continue this work in 2009.

Will YOU join us in our efforts as well!?!?

~Tis the Season for Giving~

A True Cabrini Connections' Super-Star

Ms. LaFaye Garth just received some of the best news of her life this week. LaFaye was just made aware this week that she won the prestigious Posse Foundation Scholarship!!! ( for more info). Over the past months or so LaFaye has been getting assistance through out the Posse Foundation Scholarship process from several staff member and her mentor. A couple of the helpful hints that LaFaye received was in the areas of essay writing, the use of personal reflection, and although she rarely needs any help in this area (smile)...communication. Ms. Garth has taking all of the information, tools, techniques, and helpful information along with all of the personal skills, talents, and resources she already has and combined everything and as a result she is the earned her way to a Posse Foundation Scholarship!!!
This is one of the many examples how if the students in Cabrini Connections' take advantage of any and all of the resources that are provided within the program, then they can and will put themselves in a position to have success! But in order to get the resources we need to share with the students, we need Cabrini Connections' supporters to buy into what we are trying to do and understand how valuable these resources are to the entire Cabrini Connections' program. With all of the violence that has taken a toll on the City of Chicago and those effects on the youth in particular, isn't it good to hear a POSITIVE story like this during the Holiday Season!!!
Congratulations goes out to LaFaye Garth on this great accomplishment and we encourage you to keep up the GREAT WORK! And I want to thank everybody who made this story possible...from the family members to the teachers, to the volunteers and students, to the donors and Cabrini Connections' supporters....THANK YOU...without all of you working together for a common goal...stories like this rarely created!
Happy Holiday!
Student in the Spotlight article(Fall of 2008)

This week’s Student in the Spotlight is none other than LaFaye Garth, a senior at Sullivan High and one of our most hardworking students. Since she started here with her tutor four years ago she has known she wants to be a doctor. As a freshman she was selected for and enrolled in the Medical and Health Career Academy, a special program at her high school that helps dedicated students prepare for the long and difficult road to becoming a practicing physician. She is currently taking coursework that will make her a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) by January 2009. Throughout high school she has worked and volunteered at a number of Chicago hospitals such as Northwestern Memorial, Mercy and Prentice Women’s hospitals.

While running between her full load of classes, which includes AP Calculus, AP English and a college biology course at Northwestern University, working at Jewel and preparing for her promising future, LaFaye is always singing, sharing her beautiful voice with everyone around her. Since she is committed to leaving Chicago for college- her top two choices for schools are the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and Pomona College- she has also been applying for numerous scholarships that will give her the financial support she needs during her college years. In fact, she will find out soon whether she will receive the prestigious Posse Foundation Scholarship, which would provide full-tuition for either of her top 2 schools. Once at school, she wants to study either biology or psychology, both of which she thinks will help her in her quest to become the best possible doctor. Speaking about the role Cabrini Connections has played in her life, she says: “Cabrini Connections has provided me a motivating, positive environment that helps keep me focused on the future”. We are so proud of LaFaye’s accomplishments and are excited to be involved in the life of such a motivated and talented young woman!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Where it All the Meeting Rooms

As part of the sport's analogy series I want to continue this week by continuing to give background information about myself and my start with this organization. I have been an athlete nearly my entire life. I have played on numerous basketball, football, and even baseball teams throughout my career. On those teams I found a way to become a leader as a captain of nearly every team that I have been apart of. The hard work that I put into athletics, and lets not forget academics, allowed me to earn and accept a full-scholarship to Northwestern University as a member of the football team. Due to a career ending injury I was unable to display my athletic ability on the football field at Northwestern, but I am able to continue to display my leadership ability in the field of Social Service!
I first want to apologize for the delay in my sport's analogy entry this week, but the delay is what sparked the topic for this week. Like in most sport's arenas, the fans and supporters of the program only see the games, maybe a practice or two, and if they are really lucky they will see their favorite player or coach out in public and will be lucky enough to get an autograph.
But what those fans and supporters of programs such as Cabrini Connections don't see is all the behind the scenes work that it takes to build a strong and successful program, and the majority of that success can be traced back to the preparation and discussions that take place in the meeting rooms. Our program is trying to get 'one day better, everyday' and the ways in which we have been attempting to accomplish this is by increasing our discussions about the program.
The head coach and the assistant coaches (Thursday nights) took the time out after the practice to make some evaluations. The head coach noticed some areas that could be improved and sat down with the assistant coaches to not only share the areas that could use some improvements, but to get input from the assistant coaches on ways we could all share in building an even better program. Any successful head coach in almost any program in history paid attention to the small details because they knew that small details such as mental errors could lead to a loss. And these small details are some of the topics that we discussed, because in real sports a team could lose a game, and in our case a loss could be a loss of a kid to the streets, gangs, drugs , or worse. So with that as a possibility, it is extremely important that not only the General Manager (Mr. Dan Bassill) and the head coach knows and understand this, its important that every player(students) assistant coach (staff, volunteer coordinators, and mentors), and fans and supporters (donor) buy into that this ideology as well.
We addressed the top 3 issues that we felt could prevent our team from winning and discussed ways of eliminating those roadblocks. And maybe most importantly we talked about how overall improvements in the areas of teamwork, communication, consistency, and accountability on our parts is the starting point. We are the coaches of the program and hopefully all coaches know and understand the the 'team is only as strong as the leaders' the coaches...and that's us!
The team did not stop there with the evaluation of the program and with plans for a GREAT 2009. The several members of the coaching staff met on Friday and on Monday as well. The General Manager took part in the meeting and provided his coaching staff with a lot of personal knowledge and resources that the we could use to get the results that we are looking for. We took the time out to not only analyze the playbook, but to locate resources that will assist the coaches, the players, the team, and the overall Cabrini Connections' program. And the head coach and the assistant coach continued with another break out session to break down the game plan even more. We redefined our roles and expectation and how those changes can and will lead to further and future success of the team.
And for those who may be reading this series for the first time, let me help you get up to speed on what I am trying to do. The Cabrini Connections' program can be related to a football organization or any sport's organization in many ways, and that is what I am attempting to display week in and week out with this blog series. Both organizations have a front office, coaches, players, fans/supporters, and both organization works to be successful. Both organizations work towards a goal, has key principals (teamwork, communication, consistency, accountability, and others...)that they follow in an effort to be successful, and the world would not be the same without both organizations!
In the NFL the ultimate measure of success in many people's eyes is winning the Super Bowl and building a successful franchise. At Cabrini Connections our ultimate goal is for our students to graduate from high school, graduate from college, be in a career by the age of 25, and hopefully become an asset to the program to help others reach that goal. But in both organizations it takes efforts from EVERYBODY involved for these measures of success to come true; all of the members of the front office, the coaches, the players, the fans and supports have to BELIEVE and CONTRIBUTE!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

College Bound!!!

The Cabrini Connections' staff is proud to announce that senior Eboni Rivera was accepted to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on November 17th, 2008! This is a proud example of hard work paying off, and with the work and dedication that Eboni has displayed while being a member of the Cabrini Connections' program.
Our goal is for each and every one of our students to be in this situation at this point of their lives; on their way to a post high school education and eventually to a career of their choice by the age of 25. We are glad to be one of the many resources that Eboni has used on her road to success, and we encourage more and more students to take advantage of the resources we have to offer.
Congratulations Eboni and keep up the great work!!!
Below is the information that was gathered when Eboni was the Cabrini Connections Student in the Spotlight! Enjoy

One student who has taken full advantage of all that Cabrini Connections has to offer is Eboni Rivera. She’s one of our graduating seniors and will be finishing up her 6th year here at Cabrini Connections. That means that she’s been with us since 7th grade, for the full duration of our program! She’s been paired up with her mentor, Susan, for the past 3 years and they have become a tight-knit pair, sharing everything from their birthdays, to nights out on the town!

Despite being actively pursued by elite schools like Northwestern University, Eboni, who attends Kenwood Academy High School, has her sights set on Florida A&M University, which she fell in love with during a campus visit last year. She hopes to be one of the first graduates of their brand new college of journalism where she plans to specialize in broadcast journalism. She has been diligently taking all of the required journalism classes at Kenwood and is active in both her school newspaper, and the Cabrini Connections writing club. Since her father is Puerto Rican and her mother African-American, she is particularly excited about engaging both aspects of her ethnic heritage at a historically black university located in a state with a large Latino population

Eboni is also very active in her church, the Christ Universal Temple, where she participates in the Project A.C.H.I.E.V.E. program, a series of Saturday college prep seminars that offers: tutorial classes to prepare students for college placement tests and exams like the ACT and SAT, scholarship opportunities as well as their annual tour of historically black colleges and universities. She visited Florida A&M through this program last year as well as Clark Atlanta University, her second choice school. We will be working with Eboni throughout the year during the college admissions process to ensure that she gets into her top choice schools and can negotiate the best financial aid possible.

Eboni tells me that “For me, Cabrini Connections is like a second home. I come here for everything I need. I can always use the internet, get help with my college applications, my math homework, and use whatever supplies I want.” Since Eboni will be the first to admit how much she has benefited from her relationship with her mentor and other resources here at Cabrini Connections, she and a friend from church, Kelly Fair, are currently organizing a mentoring group at her church for girls ages 6-18. They hope to offer some of the same types of resources and relationships for at-risk girls in their south side community that Cabrini Connections offers to kids in the Cabrini Green neighborhood. We are so proud to have students like Eboni who are not only on the fast-track to success but are also making efforts to help others follow in their footsteps.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Working During the Bye-Week!

As part of the sport's analogy series I want to continue this week by continuing to give background information about myself and my start with this organization. I have been an athlete nearly my entire life. I have played on numerous basketball, football, and even baseball teams throughout my career. On those teams I found a way to become a leader as a captain of nearly every team that I have been apart of. The hard work that I put into athletics, and lets not forget academics, allowed me to earn and accept a full-scholarship to Northwestern University as a member of the football team. Due to a career ending injury I was unable to display my athletic ability on the football field at Northwestern, but I am able to continue to display my leadership ability in the field of Social Service!

~EL Da' Sheon Nix~

For this week's sport's analogy series I want to discuss some of the events that took place during our bye-week. Last week was the Thanksgiving Holidays (Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving) and while some NFL teams played their football game on Thanksgiving, the Cabrini Connections' organization had our bye-week. If you don't know what a bye-week is, this a week in a football team's regular schedule where a football game does not take place, but any and all people who have been apart of any football program in their lives know and understand that even though an actual football game is not played there is always work to be done!
Although we did not have our weekly tutoring sessions last week, the Cabrini Connections' front office, the head coach, and many of the coaching assistants worked hard during this bye-week! Many of the leaders of the Cabrini Connections' team used this opportunity to improve the overall program in a variety of ways. I, along with Assistant Coach Chris Warren, increased our recruiting efforts by calling and visiting schools looking for new players to join our team. Unlike the recruiting and scouting mind set of college and NFL teams, we were not looking for the best players in the school; Chris and I were searching for and recruiting the students/players who can and will benefit greatly from joining the Cabrini Connections' Team!
As the Head Coach I was able take some time to evaluate the program's progress and not just take pride the accomplishments that the team has had thus far, but to locate areas of improvement and put plans together to have successes in those areas as well as the season continues. Some of those plans include better communication between the coaches and the players, more opportunities for the fans (donors and supporters of the program) to get involved, and continued efforts to recruit the right people for the right roles on the team!
I'm sure you all have noticed the picture that I've added this week is different from the previous pictures that accompany these articles, but I've added this one for a special reason. As the title states "Tip of the Iceberg" is usually all that people see when it comes to not just our student/players but many adolescents throughout the Chicago community, and that "Tip of the Iceberg" that people see is very different depending on the player. But one of the similarities that all most all of our players have is the that at the base of the iceberg is the ocean of poverty and poor schools.
You may be wondering how does this "Tip of the Iceberg" picture relate to the Cabrini Connections' team and the title of this article. It's simple, the Cabrini Connections' leaders are doing all that we can to change the tip of the iceberg that people see in our players, and we used the bye-week as an opportunity to make changes to the iceberg picture of our players. Although the Cabrini Connections' coaches can not change the poverty and the poor schools in a weeks' time, but we can continue to recruit special players to our team, connect them with dedicated and committed tutor/mentors to coach them, and provide our players with the opportunity to change the media's perception of their 'Tip of the Iceberg,' and we will continue our efforts from the bye-week and beyond!
Will you join in our efforts?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Student and Volunteer in the Spotlight (11/25/08)

2008 Cabrini Connections Youth Leadership Council

This week we’d like to congratulate 6 individuals rather than just one for our Student Spotlight. These 6 students will be making up the 2008-2009 Youth Leadership Council! Three students from each tutoring night, Wednesday and Thursday, were elected to the council last week by tutors and students. These students not only got up in front of tutors and their peers to give an election speech two weeks ago, but sat down in front of everyone and fielded questions last week as part of a “Town-Hall” style debate. Last week, democracy reigned at Cabrini Connections as everyone lined up at 3 designated polling places to cast their votes for the 3 students who they thought would best represent them on the Youth Leadership Council. Now we are proud to announce that the following individuals will comprise our 2008 YLC:

From Wednesday night:

DeSean Hale
LaFaye Garth
Eboni Rivera

From Thursday Night:

Savon Clark
Sean Mayfield
Cierria Tharpe

We are putting these youth in the spotlight because they are the future of Cabrini Connections. The ideas they bring to the Youth Leadership Council and the decisions that they make will fundamentally affect the way Cabrini Connections operates. These youth will be assisting Cabrini Connections Staff in making decisions pertaining to everything from field trip destinations and the tutoring schedule to coming up with strategies to increase youth involvement and attendance in the Winter months.

One of these 6 students will also be representing Cabrini Connections on a Regional leadership council. This council is comprised of a youth representative from each of the numerous tutor/mentor programs like Cabrini Connections around the Chicagoland area. This representative will not only earn the opportunity to make decisions that affect youth all around Chicago, but he/she will also receive $200/month to reward their leadership.

Congratulations Eboni, LaFaye, DeSean, Cierria, Sean and Savon on your election victories, we’re excited to see the change you bring to Cabrini Connections in the year to come!
Volunteer in the Spotlight
Joe Alverson
This week, we’d like to bring some attention to 2nd year tutor/mentor and Senior Electrical Engineer Joe Alverson. He started mentoring at Cabrini Connections last year on the recommendation of a number of friends and immediately threw himself into it. He was matched up with Lincoln Park High School 9th grader and Cabrini Green resident William Gallion right away and has been “really really enjoying it” ever since. William came to the program last year struggling with his math homework and now, one quarter into his freshman year, finds that math is his strongest subject. In speaking with Joe, he expresses how hard a worker William is and is quick to give the credit to William for his dramatic improvement. However, it is obvious that Joe provides William with a great role model, someone who it not afraid to work hard towards a goal and achieve it, inspiring others in the process.

In the past year working with William, Joe has really pushed William to realize his potential. For example, in preparation for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT), which is very important in Chicago since it’s used to weed out low-performing applicants from the best magnet schools, Joe came to William’s house every day for a week to help him study. In doing this, Joe not only helped William gain enough confidence and skills to ace the ISAT, but he also developed a valuable relationship with William’s family, with whom he ate dinner each night in exchange for his tutoring expertise. Joe has developed a great relationship with William’s family, even going so far as to attend a family reunion, where the rest of William’s family, seeing what a great influence he is on William, strongly encouraged that he stay with William through High School graduation and beyond!

Perhaps the secret to Joe’s strong mentor/mentee relationship with William is that he encourages William to meet with him outside of tutoring to augment the tutoring/mentoring he gets each week at Cabrini Connections. Joe and William frequently go out and grow their mentoring relationship together, going to the movies, talking about politics and even building furniture!

Joe makes it clear that mentoring means a lot to him when he says “it’s nice to give your time back to the community and see that you are having a direct impact on someone else’s life”. We are so glad that we here at Cabrini Connections can facilitate strong and mutually beneficial mentoring relationships like Joe and Williams and we’re looking forward to seeing them both grow in the coming years! Congratulations Joe!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Leadership from the Players

As part of the sport's analogy series I want to continue this week by giving a little more background information about myself and my start with this organization. I have been an athlete nearly my entire life. I have played on numerous basketball, football, and even baseball teams throughout my career. On those teams I found a way to become a leader as a captain of nearly every team that I have been apart of. The hard work that I put into athletics, and lets not forget academics, allowed me to earn and accept a full-scholarship to Northwestern University as a member of the football team. Due to a career ending injury I was unable to display my athletic ability on the football field at Northwestern, but I am able to continue to display my leadership ability in the field of Social Service!
When I came for my interview for the head coaching job at Cabrini Connections, the General Manager of the Team (Mr. Dan Bassill) expressed to me "how the work Cabrini Connections does is similar to the work of a football team, and the role of the leader was like that of a head coach." Mr. Bassill showed me the diagrams that he created, which are the playbook/blueprint if you will, and how if the various team member (volunteers, donors, kids, and staff) was taught and followed this playbook, then the team would have a great chance on being victorious! Victory would come in the form of great team work to build attendance, participation, skills on the road to a career for students by the age of 25! For this to all take place the G.M. encouraged me to build upon my experiences from athletics (football in particular) and develop and diagram 'plays' and strategies that would help the Cabrini Connections team to be more successful at turning out great players, great coaches, and an overall great team!

This past week I would say that the Cabrini Connections' team got one step closer into turning out those great players that front office and the coaching staff is looking to have. The Cabrini Connections' team is in the process of putting together a Youth Leadership Council who will serve as our youthful captains! The captains will not only have to be the ideal players of the Cabrini Connections' team, these captains will be the voice of the entire student population. Like the captain of any football team, these students who signed up for the panel have worked hard, led by example, familiarized themselves with the playbook, and have and will continue to buy into the overall Cabrini Connections' program.

The coaching staff was looking for 3 captains for Wednesday sessions and 3 captains for Thursday sessions, and in the past two weeks over 12 students have displayed the reasons why they should be the captains of the team. Most were present for sessions, some stood in front of the team and voiced why they should be captains, and some took part in a questions and answer session that was followed by the voting. And their efforts have definitely impressed not only the coaches but also the other players on the team...their peers. And on Wednesday and Thursday of last week the 6 youthful captains that the Head Coach and the Assistant Coach (Chris Warren) were looking for were chosen!

The entire Cabrini Connections' organization and all of the supporters who follow our program will be notified in the near future of who these 6 leaders/captains are who will not only continue to grow and become better players on the team, but will lead other players in the right directions as well all strive for victory. From the coin toss to walk to the locker room, hopefully these captains will follow the leadership and directions of the coaches so that during the game (tutoring sessions) the other players follow their example.

A Perfect Networking Opportunity

On Friday November 21st the Tutor/Mentor Connection hosted the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference at the Chicago Field Museum. This conference provided an abundant amount of opportunities for each and every person who attended the conference. There were numerous workshops, panels, and two very good keynote speakers at this conference. Attendees of the conference had the opportunity to attend these workshops and panels and not only obtain very beneficial information, but attendees had the opportunity to share information about their personal lives and about the various programs that they are apart of as well.
Another key feature of the conference was the ability to take part in workshops that were relevant to a person's own interests. If a person was looking to get more information about how to evaluate their own program, how to recruit and retain volunteers and students, and/or how to raise money during the holiday season, that person had the opportunity to get all of that information in just one day at the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference!

This conference had something in it for any and everybody who is or wants to be apart of this field; from a person who is looking to start their own tutor/mentor program to a person who has been in this field for more than 20 years, the conference provided information and opportunities that can and will be beneficial. Besides the workshops, panels, and the keynote speakers one of the biggest advantages of attending the conference came in the form of just being able to network!
As the Administrative Coordinator of a tutor/mentor program I know that I do not have all of the answers to build a 'perfect' program, have all of the knowledge it takes to obtain 100% attendance rates for all mentors and mentees, nor do I have all of the skills to get a million dollar donation, but at the conference I was able to surround myself with people who could assist me and the Cabrini Connections' staff in those areas and more!

As the title states, "A Perfect Networking Opportunity," the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference was just that! In my experience alone I was able to get a resume from a former Social Worker who is looking for work and hopefully get her an interview at a Social Service agency in the Chicago area, I was able to connect two people/programs to an NU alum and former football player who is a writer, I was able to get more information on how to successfully recruit and retain volunteers and students, I was able to get information on how to successfully evaluate students on more than just academics but on the 'soft skills' as well, and as a result of this conference I was able to meet, interact, and build what I hope is a lot of future partnerships with what I call professional colleagues.
True, there are many arenas and ways in which people can network in this field, but I have to say, and I'm sure others that attended will say, that the two conferences that the Tutor/Mentor Connection hosts each year is one of the best ways in which to not only get information and meet other dedicated professionals in this field, but also one of the best ways to build upon those relationships to provide more and even better tutor/mentor programs throughout the world!
So I hope that all of the people who attended this conference will use this as a way to do more for tutor/mentor programs with the use of collaborative efforts and will find a way to attend the next conference in May. And when that conference does take place, be able to share all of the success stories that took place as a result of this November conference.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Student Spotlight: Joshua Vera

Hello all! Cabrini Connections is proud to announce that 7th grader, Joshua Vera, is in our Student Spotlight this week. Find out more on Chris' blog at:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Jen King

Just a heads up that Jen King, Writing Club Coordinator and 3 year veteran volunteer, is in our Volunteer Spotlight this week! Read more here at

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lots happening. Read the blogs.

Read the blogs by Chris, Nicole and Tech Club to sty informed with what's happening at Cabrini Connections

This week Chris writes about college visits.

Also read this week's student spotlight and volunteer spotlight

In Nicole's blog you learn about tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago region.

And the Photo Friday's articles on the Tech Club blog provides ideas of how to use technology. Volunteers are welcome to join tech club as well as teens.

Friday, November 07, 2008

New Coach Same Mission!

The Cabrini Connections' program can be compared to a sports organization in so many ways, there is teamwork, coaches, a mission, and a desire and passion to be victorious! I will begin and hopefully continue to complete weekly blogs that show the comparisons of the two.
This week I would like to focus on the role of 'coaches.' Nearly 8 months ago a new coach joined the Cabrini Connections' team and began doing all of the necessary tasks that a new coach should do when joining any team. The new coach should do some research and learn the history of the program, get to know the other coaches/leaders of the team, begin to know the players, figure out other key members of the team, and set the tone and the attitude for the entire team in an effort to continue or move into the right direction. All of these items and more are needed when setting the foundation of a winning program or continuing the tradition of a successful team!
Cabrini Connections' is not a new organization and has been considered one of the premiere organizations in the tutor/mentor field. The coaches and leaders before myself have all brought great ideas, attitudes, dedication, and leadership to the team that has created a solid foundation that has and still contributes the the current team's success!
In March of 2008 I became the new head coach of the Cabrini Connections team. And although I became the new head coach of the team, it was understood that a great foundation had been set and the team was full of valuable leaders (board members, staff, volunteers, students, and supports) who all contribute to carrying out the mission of the program.
As the new head coach of the team I have been and will continue to research the history of the Cabrini Connections' organization, brainstorm and collabarate with other key coaches in the program and in the tutor/mentor league, and interact and engage with the players on the team (mentors and mentees) in an effort to set the tone and attitude of the team. And in an effort to build upon that foundation that has been set by the coaches before me and continue the winning ways of the team, I will use my previous experrience and networking ability, my leading by example attitude, and my ability to recruit and retain the most talented, skilled, and dedicated coaches to lead the players to continuous victorious. And those victories that I speak of is the mission/goal of the program which is for each and every player (mentee) who enters the program will be in a career by the age of 25.
As the head coach I will also continue to recruit the most dedicated, talented, and committed players (mentees), but maybe more importantly continue to train and work with those coaches to transform the less dedicated, less talented, and less committed players into players who truly believe in the mission of being victorious; because that is our jobs as coaches and leaders of Cabrini Connections. Our job is to first get these players to believe in the organization (Cabrini Connections), work with, train, and provide any and all resources to the players so they can be victorious and fulfill the mission (and that takes place before, during, and after tutoring/mentoring sessions), and instill in the players that once they are victorious they in return become coaches and train the younger players that looked up to them!
As the new Coach of Cabrini Connections these are a few of the philosophies of the program that I feel that truly relate to any and all successful sport's organizations. And although I'm new to the coaching role at Cabrini Connections I believe in and I'm committed to carrying out the overall mission of the TEAM!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Former NFL Quarterback Joins the Cabrini Connections' Team

As Cabrini Connections continues to try to recruit adult tutor/mentor leaders to work with the students who participate in the program, we are truly excited to have a natural born leader, Zak Kustok, join our program as a new tutor/mentor. Mr. Kustok is a former Northwestern University superstar quarterback and a former NFL quarterback as well. More than just being a record breaking quarterback who earned numerous awards during his playing days (Big 10 Champion in 2000), Zak Kustok was a proven leader on the field and will hopefully continue that leadership ability inside of the Cabrini Connections' program.

As a quarterback there are numerous skills and talents that a leader of team must posses in order to gain the confidence of the players on the team, make important decisions, and lead the team to victory. Now that Mr. Kustok is no longer on the field, those skills of being a leading quarterback can be applied on the Cabrini Connection's 'field!'

We are looking and encouraging each and every tutor/mentor within the program to become a quarterback within the program. In order for our team to win, and a victory is getting all of our students into a career by the age of 25, each and every tutor/mentor within the program must lead by example, gain the respect and trust of the students, pay attention to detail, know and understand the role of all the other members on the team, and understand the Cabrini Connections' playbook. I am confident that if each and every member of the team (staff, volunteers, students, and donors/supporters) become leaders within the program we can and will be victorious!

Mr. Kustok we thank you for joining the Cabrini Connections' team and we hope that you can share your leadership and team building skills with us all!

St. Cloud State University visits Cabrini Connections

One of the big pushes this fall and throughout the entire year will be to get our students interested and exposed to the college experience. On October 29th Admissions Representative, Cortez Evans, visited the Cabrini Connections program and provided our students the opportunity to learn a little more about St. Cloud State University. Mr. Evans not only talked about special programs, opportunities, and resources that the University offers, he also discussed what our students can be doing currently to ensure a enrollment at the University.
During the presentation and video clip that Mr. Evans provided, he asked a lot of questions that directly applied to many our students which sparked further interest of those students. He discussed their Nursing program that interested LaFaye Garth and Terrisha Brownlow, he discussed athletics and the football program that interested returning student Raheem Muhammad, and he discussed their study abroad program that interested many of the students who attended the presentation.
Following the official presentation, Mr. Evans continued to meet and greet other volunteers and students in the program in an effort to educate everybody on the resources that could be obtained by becoming a student at St. Cloud State University. Cabrini Connections would like to thank Mr. Cortez Evans for not only visiting the our program and sharing information with our students, but for assisting us with getting our students interested in attending a college in the future and successful career following college!

Cabrini Connections' Student and Volunteer Spotlight

Student/Volunteer Spotlights
Angelene Hemphill is this week’s Student in the Cabrini Connections' Spotlight:
Zak Kustok is this week's Volunteer in the Cabrini Connections' Spotlight:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cabrini Connections' Celebrate the Halloween Holiday

For the 2008 Halloween season the Cabrini Connections students had the opportunity to take part in an essay contest. The students were asked to write a 1-page essay on the true history of the holiday and to share their most memorable Halloween experience. There were several students in the program who took on this challenge in an effort to earn the right to go to the field trip to Navy Pier's Haunted House on Halloween night.

In relations to the overall tutor/mentor program this essay was much more than just an essay with a reward for the winners. The Halloween essay contest provided numerous teaching and learning moments for the mentees and also the mentors. Because of this essay the students had the opportunity to use the Internet and other forms of technology to do research on the topic. The students worked on their organizational, writing, and grammar skills as they put their research on paper. The students then had the opportunity work on their presentation skills as they presented their essay to the all of the mentors and mentees who attended the sessions last week. Technology use, research enhancement, organizational, writing, and grammar skills along with presentation skills are all necessary for each and every student within the program no matter what career choice they have for the future. Because of this essay contest, mentors had the opportunity to teach the students these valuable skills.

Looking back the reader can see that besides earning a fun filled night at Navy Pier's Haunted House Halloween night, the four students who won the contest (De'Sean Hale, Eboni Rivera, Charles Hill, and Yolanda Hyles) learned and/or enhanced valuable skills that are and will be necessary for any career choice they may have for the future!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Read student and volunteer profiles

I hope that as you visit this blog, you'll also visit the blogs listed on the right side of these pages. They are written by other staff and volunteers and expand the perspectives of what Cabrini Connections is trying to do and who is involved.

In particular, I encourage you to read the student and volunteer profiles that Chris Warren is writing each week, as well as his discussion of student participation and leadership.

If you read Nicole's blog you'll learn more about the Tutor/Mentor Connection part of this organization, and how what we do here is an example for programs all over the country!

Finally, if you read blogs by Cassina and Dan you'll learn about fund raising and about actions leaders can take to help programs like Cabrini Connections serve kids in Cabrini Green and other high poverty neighborhoods.

These change every week, so check in often.

Westwood College Visit

Recently, as part of the Cabrini Connections College Prep Program, we took a number of students to visit Westwood College, meeting with various administrators, students, professors and even the University President. This was the 2nd of many College visits that we will be organizing this year. The next is this coming Friday, Nov 7th, where we will be taking students to visit Chicago State University and The Illinois Institute of Technology. During our College visit series we are trying to expose students to the wide variety of schools in the Chicagoland area, everything from 2 year community colleges to elite schools such as Northwestern and The University of Chicago. The idea is to expose not only our Juniors and Seniors to various schools but also our underclassmen, so that they might be better able to visualize themselves at College in a few years and have something to strive for during their High School years.

At Westwood College the kids attended an admissions presentation geared towards urban youth that emphasized the affordability of Westwood and how it's focus on developing skills for particular careers, such as criminal justice, computer animation or design, ensures that graduates are well prepared for the working world and in most cases, already have a well-paying job lined up before they graduate. The University president joined us for the latter half of the presentation and spoke with the kids for a bit, which left an impression on them. Upon finding out that one of our students, Sean Mayfield, has a passion for animation he took us to a couple classrooms where animation classes were in session and encouraged us to sit in. After class we grabbed some pizza with the professor while she showed off some of her department's animation work, which was really impressive. After lunch we toured the rest of the campus, met up with one of our tutors, Stephanie, a senior at Westwood, who gave us the inside scoop on student life at Westwood and introduced us to some more faculty. All in all we had an exceptional time at Westwood and I think that some of our kids will definitely be giving the school serious consideration. Stay tuned for more updates from our future college visits.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Video tells Cabrini Connections' Story

Here's a link to a video posted on YouTube that was done by a Northwestern University graduate student this fall.

Please pass this on to other viewers through your Facebook, My Space and LinkedIn networks so more people learn about our work and give us their support.

If you know of people working with media, video, communications, etc. who would want to create videos like this, and teach kids to do this, we're looking for volunteers to help re-launch our video group. Contact Dan or El Da'Sheon if you know of interested people.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recycling at Cabrin Connections

In an attempt to better the environment but also to get our students in the habit of recycling, the Cabrini Connections' program will begin 'in-house' recycling beginning today (Oct. 28th)! As mentors, mentees, staff, and other guest enter our program they will be able to use any one of the designated recycling bins. One bin is located in the front office right next to the Administrative Coordinators' desk, another bin is located in the back office by the staff's desk, and the last bin is a larger bin located near the computer lab. The recyclable items that can and should be placed in the bins are aluminum, cardboard, plastic, glass, and paper!

We are encouraging all staff, mentors, mentees, and guests to join in the Cabrini Connections' recycling program starting today! If anybody has any questions about what items should and should not be placed in the recycle bins please feel free to ask a staff, volunteer coordinator, another volunteer, even a student who may have the answers you are looking for!

Lets all do our part to keep the Cabrini Connections' program and the environment clean!


The Cabrini Connections' program is definitely in the Halloween spirit and the program is filled with activities that are taking place this week! The first event to kick off the week will be a in-house visit from a representative from St. Cloud University which is located in Minnesota on Wednesday from 4-5:30 pm. The students will have an opportunity to hear about the application process, scholarship opportunities, and the overall university culture. The event will be followed by food and beverages provided by St. Cloud University!

Normal tutoring/mentoring sessions will take place for the first half of the sessions, but during the announcements is where we will continue in the holiday spirit. The winners (Charles Hill, DeSean Hale, Yolanda Hyles, and Eboni Rivera) of the Cabrini Connections' Halloween Essay contest will be sharing their essays with the rest of the group. They will be discussing the history of the Halloween holiday and one of their most memorable Halloween moments. Students will also have the option to take part in a Halloween activity that will be hosted by the Art Club this year. Which should be a real treat! We will also be celebrating our October birthdays during announcements and continuing that celebration after announcements.

After announcements we are going to open the night up for the sharing of any and all Halloween treats! So if staff, volunteers, and students can and want to bring in some Halloween goodies for the group that would be great. Candy, cookies, cupcakes, and/or beverages would be greatly appreciated! And we are going conclude the Hallow-wicked Week by transported our essay winners to the Fear at Navy Pier Haunted House at Chicago's Navy Pier Friday evening!!!!

As you can see, the Cabrini Connections' program is definitely in the Halloween spirit while continuing to provide fun and engaging activities for all to enjoy! Staff, volunteers, and overall Cabrini Connections' supporters please continue to believe in the program...and let that mentality cause you to continue doing more!

Happy Halloween from the Cabrini Connections Staff!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection staff would like to thank everybody who assisted with making the 3rd Annual Martini Madness a success. Unfortunately we can't name each and every person by name (just too many), but a special thanks goes out to all who assisted with the prep, sold raffle tickets, sponsors, donors, and each and every person who attended this festive event! We are proud to announce that there was a very nice turnout of people who we feel all had a great night.

We understand that due to scheduling conflicts and other responsibilities, there were people who could not attend the event and enjoy the event. Hopefully, next year you all will be joining us for the 4th Annual Martini Madness. For those who could not attend the event but would still like to participate in supporting the Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection program you all can visit the donations page to submit your donations

For those who attended and those who could not, understand that Martini Madness was much more than a night of fun. Martini Madness, like the Golf Benefit and other special events, is another opportunity to bring attention to the mission and goals of the program in an effort to get more and more support to fulfill that mission and accomplish those goals. So please continue to talk about how much fun you had at Martini Madness or all the fun you missed out on, but go a little further and communicate how the proceeds of Martini Madness could lead to more computer for our youth, travel fees for college visits, or other valuable resources that are desperately needed to continue operating successful Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection programs

~Thank You~

Student and Volunteer Spotlight; Martini Madness

Charles Thomas is the featured Student Spotlight this week. You
can find the post at

Alice Toth and Steve Pawlik of the Tuesday night Tech Club will be profiled at

Find the list of Raffle Prize Winners from Martini Madness at

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blog Action Day focuses on Poverty, and mentoring

Last Thursday almost 11,000 bloggers posted articles about poverty. The accumulative weight of this was intended to build much larger public attention for this issue.

I've done a google search and located many blogs focused on mentoring. I encourage you to take some time to read some of these, so you expand your own network of ideas that you can use as a volunteer, leader, donor or student in Cabrini Connections.

Next year, I hope some of our students and volunteers will join in this event, posting messages in the Cabrini Blog, or in the Tech Club or Writing Club blogs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Real College Life Experience

One of the true goals of the Cabrini Connections' program is for the students who enter our program to graduate from high school, take advantage of secondary education, and go on to the career of their choice. On Monday (Columbus Day) several of the Cabrini Connections' students had a "Real College Life Experience" at De Paul University.

The Cabrini Connections' staff (Chris Warren) and Tutor/Mentor Connection staff (Nicole White) transported several of the student to DePaul University for a private tour and informational session on campus. During this experience the students had the opportunity to observe the campus, interact with college students, get information about all aspects of DePaul University and college life in general, and ask any and all questions they could think of.

Just speaking with the staff and several students upon their return, this was definitely a worthwhile and beneficial experience for the students. And this is not the only opportunity for the students to get a better understanding of not only college life, but the admissions process and what it takes NOW to get to that college life. The Cabrini Connections' students will have the opportunity to visit Westwood College on October 24th, Chicago State University and Illinois Institute of Technology on November 7th.

We are making an effort to go above and beyond the weekly tutoring/mentoring sessions by getting our students exposure to the places where there hard work today can lead them into the future; and that place is the college or university of their choice! Supports of this concept and the overall Cabrini Connections' program can assist us in our process by making a financial contribution to our College Application Process fund. The money that we collect for this fund goes to assist students pay for the fees that come along with submitting those college applications.

"Don't let a College Application fee deter our students from reaping the benefits of the College Experience"

Thanks for the support!!!

Volunteer in the Spotlight: Heather Coleman

Cabrini Connections would like to congratulate art club volunteer and veteran mentor, Heather Coleman, for being our volunteer in the spotlight. Read more on Chris' blog at:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Perfect Attendance Awardees

The Cabrini Connections' staff would like to time out to recognize the students and volunteers who have perfect attendance in the Cabrini Connections program for the first three weeks of the 2008-2009 year! We are proud and honored to recognize these volunteers and students at this time:


Peter Brandt
Fran Fritzman
Susan Garver
Caroline Grunst
Mitchell Holzrichter
Carl Hurdlick
Mike Jozwick
Jen Jozwick
John Kemnitzer
John Knight
Tonya Myers
Jen Nolan
Amy Proger
Frank Roberts
Autumn Sharp
Amanda Tribo
Brea Adams
Joe Alverson
Tammy Baired
Courtney Jerdan
Mike Kolberg
John Ryan Kracow
Wendy Lasar
Sarah Randag
Stephanie Rogers
Allen Tyson
Mike Ozmeral
Joseph Volini
Tamy Wielgus (Volunteer Coordinator)
Alexandria Hill (Volunteer Coordinator)
Carla Reyes (College Readiness Program)
Jackie Shay (Art Club Coordinator)

Terrisha Brownlow
Dominick Dobbs
Marquita Fisher
DeSean Hale
Arden Harris
Charles Hill
Charles Kilpatrick
Romel Newell
Joshua Vera
Olivia Williams
Ashanti Anderson
Lawrence Brown
Savon Clark
William Gallon
Angelene Hemphill
Whitney Hemphill
Breonca Hyles
Victoria Rivera
Keiri Sandlin
Malik Savage
Dijana Smith
Darius Suggs
Malina Tate
Charles Thomas
Melissa Young
Aarion Woods
Yolanda Hyles
Joshua Jordan
Sean Mayfield
Ashanti Roby
Ce’Landria Tharpe
Cierria Tharpe
Thank You and Keep up the GREAT work!!!

This week's volunteer spotlight!

As mentioned in the last post, we bring attention to the dedication and accomplishments of one student and one volunteer each week through both our "student spotlight" and "volunteer spotlight". This week, Cabrini Connections is proud to feature Wednesday Night Volunteer Coordinator Alexandria Hill as our volunteer spotlight. Read about Alexandria on Chris' blog here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

This week's student spotlight

Each week a student and volunteer are interviewed and profiled in an article on Chris Warren's blog. This week's spotlight shines on: Eboni Rivera.

Last week's spotlighted volunteer was Tami Wielgus. Spotlighted student was LaFaye Garth.

Read more about these outstanding students and volunteers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Weekly Update. FUNdraising, Martini Madness

Currently we are hosting our FUNdraising for Quarters competition and we are gearing up for our Annual Martini Madness event. The FUNdraising for Quarters competition is an event in which the volunteers of the program attempt to bring in needed funds to the Cabrini Connections’ program and in return the top volunteers earn a spot in the newsletter, earn prizes at the end of each quarter, and the volunteer who brings in the most financial support for the year earns two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the US. The Annual Martini Madness event, which is scheduled for Friday, October 17, 2008 (further details available on website and in other areas of the newsletter), is a fundraiser in which staff, volunteers, donors, Board members, guest and other supports of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connections gather for a fun-filled night! This is a very simple description of ways in which we attempt to gather further support for our programs and we do within our programs

Lets take a more in depth look at these two events. The FUNdraising for Quarters competition is so much more than a competitive event with prizes for winners. This event gives volunteers the opportunity to share the Cabrini Connections’ “story” and their involvement within program to help shape that story. We have over 100 volunteers who provide services to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection in one way or another and that leads to a pretty extensive network that can and should be hearing all of the great things that are taking place within the program. The true aim of this event is not just for volunteers to ‘ask’ for donations to support our program; the true goal of the FUNdraising for Quarters event is for the volunteers who have a direct and indirect relationship and tie to the programs to begin and to continue to tell the ‘story’ to that their audience will become a believer of the importance of that ‘story’ and be willing to financially contribute to the Cabrini Connections’ program…so that ‘story’ continues!!!

The Martini Madness event is much more than a social event where the participants meet for food and drinks.

The Martini Madness event is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of tutor/mentor program such as Cabrini Connections. Martini Madness, and similar events, are opportunities to share not only share what we are doing, but the opportunity gather financial support to continue providing those much needed services to the youth and their families of the Cabrini Green community. So when looking at these two events and deciding whether you want to participate or support in the events, think beyond the actual event and make a decision on the true meaning and goals behind the event.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Edgewood College 2008 Experience now on YouTube

One of our volunteers, Haminiaina Ratovoarivony, has created a video documentary of the July 2008 visit of Edgewood College graduate students at Cabrini Connections.

Haminiaina is from Madagascar, where he is teaching cinema and digital video for youth. At Cabrini Connections he is working with our library of digital video, created over the past 10 years, to create new videos that show the work we're doing.

We're recruiting other volunteers who will take this role, and hope that as a community of Cabrini Connections video volunteers forms, it will begin to attract our teens, which will re-energize the Innervisions Youth Production club which was started in 1995.

If you're a current or former student or volunteer and want to be part of this group, or work in the Chicago area and want to join us for the first time, email so we can help you get involved.