Monday, March 31, 2008

Introduction and Preparation

Dear Volunteers and Mentors

I just wanted to formally introduce myself to any volunteers and mentors who were not present last week, and reintroduce myself to the mentors who were. My name is EL Da’ Sheon Nix and I am the new Administrative Coordinator at Cabrini Connections, and want to say THANK YOU for being a volunteer or mentor. I also want to THANK YOU for sharing not only your time but your lives and experiences with the students in the program! I don’t personally know all of the volunteers and mentors at this point, but just the fact that you have taken on this role leads me to believe that you truly do care about the youth and their future.

The purpose of this short note is again to introduce myself, to make myself available to any and all volunteers and mentors of the program, and to assist the staff with preparations for the summer and fall. My email address is and my contact number is 312-492-9614. Please don’t hesitate to contact me whenever you have questions, concerns, or comments, and I will gladly assist you in any way I can.

I will also be getting into the habit of checking the SVHATS on a regular basis so if you post questions, concerns, or comments at that location I will get those also.

As our team begins to prepare for a successful summer that will hopefully lead us into a strong program in the fall I would like to get a sense of which volunteers and mentors will be available in the summer and can and will continue to be with the program in the fall? I understand that it is rather early and may be hard to determine your availability at this point, but we are just trying to get an idea so we can plan accordingly. So if you know if you will be available in the summer and will be around in the fall, please inform myself or another staff member when you can.

Thanks for continuing to make a difference!

EL Da’ Sheon Nix

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First Day At Cabrini Connections

We had two new faces at Cabrini Connections tonight. On the left is El Da'Sheon Nix, the new Administrative Coordinator for Cabrini Connections. On the right is James Robinson, a student from Liverpool, UK (home of the Beatles!). He's in the US to learn about mentoring strategies.

Here's an intro from El Da'Sheon:

First and foremost I would like to thank the entire staff and youth for the opportunity to become a part of your lives as I begin as the new Administrative Coordinator of the organization. And with that being said, I would like to say that I am extremely grateful and excited about this opportunity.

My name is EL Da’ Sheon Nix and I’m from Sandusky, Ohio. Through hard work, locating and utilizing resources and necessary support systems, and through many other factors I graduated from Sandusky High School in June 2000 and entered Northwestern University on a full-ride football scholarship in the fall of 2000. Due to a career ending knee injury early in my career I was forced to hang up the cleats, but I remained focused in the classroom. I majored in Human Development and Psychological Services and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Social Policy in June of 2004.

With the degree and the lifelong desire of always wanting to help and better the lives of others, especially youth, I officially began my career. I worked for two years as the Lead Mental Health Professional at the Rice Child and Family Center, which is a residential facility that provides services to adolescents with mental and behavioral disorders. Then I moved on to the Youth Organization Umbrella (Y.O.U.) where I worked for a year as a Youth Development Worker at two of the after school programs. And before I joined the team at Cabrini Connections I worked as the Director of Social Services at the Evanston Community Defender Office in downtown Evanston.

Now that I am here at Cabrini Connections Tutor/Mentor Connections I bring with me not only a desire and passion to assist youth with learning the skills needed in order to reach their goals, dreams, and future careers, but I also bring with me a complete admiration for the people who share their time, resources, and experiences with the youth they come into contact with.

Again, I thank each and every one of you for allowing me to be a part of your lives today and hopefully apart of YOUR future success stories.


James Robinson is a student at Liverpool Hope University (Childhood & Youth Studies/3-year module with option on Mentoring for Children and Young People). James has started his own web site to share his stories and hopefully he'll be writing about his visit to Cabrini Connections on the site. Here's the link: James working with Storytelling projects so I encourage you to read about the MUSTLE AFRICA TRUST, a non-profit organisation newly launched in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe to coordinate activities with street youth.


We're pleased to have El Da'Sheon join the staff at Cabrini Connections and hope that James will become a long range member of the Tutor/Mentor Connection's network. This is just one example of how Cabrini Connections and its students are connected to the world via the people who visit us to learn about what we're doing to help youth in Chicago.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Year End Dinner Theme:  "Coming Together, Growing Together"

The winning idea for the June 12, 2008 Dinner Theme was submitted by Nemieka Horton. She will receive a special gift certificate and it is our hope to have this theme carry throughout the entire next school year as a guiding theme for many activities. More than 50 ideas were submitted and they all represented the hope and opportunity that Cabrini Connections seeks to offer.

Lend your talent to the Year End Dinner
Many of our students have great artistic talents. This year the Year-End Dinner Celebration will be showcasing some of our own local talent. We are looking for 2-3 students or groups to perform at the event. During the coming weeks we encourage students and volunteers to team up to create skits, poetry, or songs that can be performed live at the annual year end dinner. Auditions will be held on Saturday April 26th at 11am. We hope all volunteers will encourage their students to get involved. Groups can include volunteers, too!

Help with organizing the dinner.
If you can help with the organizing, reaching out to student and volunteer alumni, or with the fund raising, email Nicole at nicolewhite dot cabrini at gmail dot com.

Are you an alumni?
Tell us your story. You can use the form at the right to tell us when you were involved, what your memories are, and what you're doing now. You can also connect with us on Facebook, or

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

End of Year Dinner Theme Ideas

We have had some great response to the year-end dinner theme contest from all of our students- over 50 responses!

Last Year's theme was "This is Just the Beginning" and the year before was "Think Big". The coordinators and dinner committee are voting on which ideas will be used for this year's dinner and it will be announced in the next two weeks. If you favor one idea or another, why not post a comment on this blog and tell us why you like the idea?

Here are the responses submitted by our teens (no editing was done on the responses)

* New Year New You * Livin the Dream * Keepin it Connected * "C" connections on the rise * My Tutor Rocks * Coming Together, Growing Together * The future is ours, the time is now * Give it your all- You will never fail.

* Aim High, Dream Big * We can Make it if We try * We are go getters on the run
* Cabrini Connections in the Action * Cabrini connects to your success * Cabrini brings great things * Be the Change * Cabrini Connects you to life

* Stand Up and Stand out * Everyday is a chance to make a better future for yourself * The key to success us you and me * In the midst of it all Cabrini Connection standing tall * Make it Happen * Your future is your destiny * Believe in yourself

* Inspire someone * Pursue your dream * Dream Big- Hope Huge * Believe in Yourself, great things will happen * Slow and steady win the race * Open the door to success * Look back on the future * The future has already started * My tutor is cool

* The New beginning for the New year * Transformers- more than meats the eyes
* Time to work, a time to play, lets move forward with each day
* This is our future * In it to win it * Keep on climbing * Reach for the stars * Yearn To learn * We as a whole community can be one

* Cabrini Connections is the place to be * Dont give up- look up and be surprised
We are moving on each day * Cabrini Connections was the Beginning, but it will never be the end * This place makes us great

* We will never live to the end, so Cabrini Connections is the beginning * All people are great * The truth will set you free * Dont stop keep going * Dont go back, go forward

You can do it * End of the year Beginning of the summer *The American Dream

These show that our 7th to 12th grade teens have some high hopes and some strong aspirations. Our role as volunteers and leaders is to help these ideas come to life in the type of tutor/mentor program we provide next year and in coming years.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Share A Meal. Help a Charity

Making a difference is a simple as lifting a fork. On Tuesday, March 11, 2008, restaurants across Illinois join with generous dinners to raise money for non profits in the 5th Annual Share-A-Meal with Community Shares of Illinois. Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection is a member of Community Shares (under the Tutor/Mentor Connection name). So you can enjoy a great meal, have fun with friends, and help us raise money for the work we all do.

Each restaurant will donate 20 to 30% of the proceeds of each meal purchased on March 11, and this support over 80 non profits in Illinois. Please visit to see the list of participating restaurants and non profit members of Community Shares of Illinois.