Friday, February 29, 2008

Using Blogs to Tell the Story

If you are reading this, then I hope you also have taken a moment to read the blogs listed on the right side of this page. For instance, Nicole's Blog has a great article today about how a woman in LA overcame gangs and poverty to create a great life for herself.

I've a collection of blog links in the Tutor/Mentor Connection web site. They offer many insights on poverty, education and uses of technology for learning. I collect these because they inspire my thinking and my actions. I hope you'll read them from time to time and let the ideas stimulate your own actions.

I also hope you'll look for ways to write or contribute to a blog, so you can tell your own story. I've heard many volunteer say "I've gotten more from being a volunteer than the student did." So, write about this. Share this with others. You'll inspire other people to get involved.

We'll hold our annual year in dinner in June, and my hope is that our current students will make an effort to locate our former students (more than 400!) so that we can begin to tell the stories of former students and volunteers.

What are they doing? Are they still connected to a volunteer or mentee? What do they remember from their days in Cabrini Connections, or the Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program at Montgomery Ward? Are they already writing a blog and we just don't know about it?

There are hundreds of tutor/mentor stories taking place every day. They can be inspiring to our current students and volunteers, and to other people thinking about starting tutor/mentor programs.

I hope you'll help us find and tell these stories.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Youth Summer Employment

Now with Summer fast approaching a lot of our students will turn their interests away from academia and toward earning money during the Summer. There are several places the students can look for work in the city.

Association House of Chicago is offering a free Job Readiness, Internship and Job Placement program for youth and young adults between the ages of 14-21. The program is open only to youth living in Region 2, which encompasses the area between Belmont and Kinzie and between Austin and Lake. Orientation is Tuesday March 4, and Thursday March 6 with training beginning Monday March 10. Call to enroll immediately Gary Sarpy, 773-772-7170 ext. 3514

The City of Chicago’s, Mayor Daley Summer Job Program has already started accepting applications. The strength of Summer Jobs is the diversity of opportunity. From painting murals in public spaces to fixing computers, young people participate in a variety of programs:

 Public agencies, such as the Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Department of Children and Youth Services, offer summer employment in the public sector and at local community based organizations.
 The Corporate Initiative provides summer jobs in private businesses located across the City. All corporate initiative youth participants will attend a job readiness training event.
 For 14 and 15 year olds, workforce-training programs offer pre-internships where young people are educated in appropriate workplace behavior. Participants receive a stipend for completing pre-internships.

Applicants must:
 Be between the ages of 14 to 21.
 Be residents of the City of Chicago.
 Apply using the standard Sumnmer Jobs application.
 Provide parental/guardian signature if the applicant is under the age of 18 at the time of application.
 Undergo a prescreening and interview process for selection.

More information can be found at the above links.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Arts & Video Festival, 2008

More than 100 people attended the 2008 Arts & Video Festival held at the Palette and Chisel, 1012 N. Dearborn Chicago IL 60610 on Friday, Feb. 8. More than 40 pieces of art created by Cabrini Connections' students and donated by arts volunteers were shown and sold. Click here to meet the student artists and learn more about the art club.

The Art Club and the Video Group are part of the extra learning and enrichment offered to students who participate regularly in the one-on-one tutor/mentor sessions held every Wednesday and Thursday during the school year. While volunteers help organize the weekly tutor/mentor session, different volunteers organize and lead the arts and video and technology groups, which usually meet on a Monday or Tuesday afternoon or evening.

In addition to the showing of student art, this was the world premier of the video documentary, Cabrini Green:Times of CHAnge, that Cabrini Connections teens and volunteers have been working on since 2005. The documentary tells the story of gentrification in Cabrini Green and gives students a chance to learn team skills, and film creation and communications skills, while working on a long-term project like this. In the photo at the right, one of the students working on the project, Kenneth C., was showing his enthusiasm and telling me how he was so proud of being part of the project and how he intended to show it to people where he works.

Two other students who worked on this project, Kevin S. and Jonathan S., were asked questions by the audience. One was what do you intended to do with this? Kevin answered, "Show it to the world."

You can still see the art if you go to the Palette and Chisel, 1012 N. Dearborn Chicago IL 60610, this weekend. And you can order copies of the video ($20 each, which includes mailing/$10 if you pick up copies at Cabrini Connections). Just email

These projects are organized by volunteers, but made possible because donors provide money for equipment, space, and the staff who support the Cabrini Connections year-round schedule of activities. If you'd like to volunteer with IYP, Arts or Tech clubs, or make a donation, just contact us at or call 312-492-9614.

Congratulations to the arts and video club volunteers who did all of the work in organizing the festival, and who work with the students each week to help them have brighter futures.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bank of America Paid Summer Internship Program For Juniors and Seniors: Bank of America is offering juniors and seniors an eight-week paid summer internship. The internship program focuses on leadership skills and improving the community. The program includes a week in Washington DC learning now non-profit organizations, government, and business work together to improve the community. For more information and an application, pick up a flyer in Guidance or visit (Deadline to apply is 2/29. Here's the information at a glance:

Do you have what it takes to be a Bank of America Student Leader?
If you are a junior or senior in high school with a passion for improving your community, we would like to help you turn that passion into action.
As a Student Leader, you will participate in:
An eight-week paid internship at a nonprofit/charitable organization
A week-long Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC (July 13th - 18th, 2008) to gain valuable civic, social and business leadership skills
We are looking for the next generation of community leaders. If you want to make a difference in your community, apply today.
Apply to be a Student Leader
Applications for our Neighborhood Excellence Student Leaders awards are accepted beginning January 1, 2008 through February 29, 2008 (8 p.m. Eastern Time).
To be considered as a Student Leader

1, you must: Currently be a junior or senior in high school (U.S. Markets)
Be able to participate in a week-long Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC (July 13th - 18th, 2008)
Be able to participate in an 8-week paid internship at a local nonprofit/charitable organization
Be legally authorized to work in the US without sponsorship (U.S. Markets)
Be a student in good standing at his/her school
Footnote1Bank of America associates or members of their immediate family are not eligible for nomination.
Leadership Summit
As a Bank of America Student Leader, you will participate in an all-expense paid week-long Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. during the week of July 13-18, 2008. This leadership development program will provide you with valuable perspective on civic, social and business partnerships within the community. The Student Leadership Summit is directed by the Close Up Foundation, the nation's leading civic education provider.
The combination of your summer internship experience at a nonprofit and leadership development through the Bank of America Student Leadership Summit will develop your skills and strengthen your understanding as you continue to engage in building your communities