Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Six Flags...Great 'American' Experience

The Cabrini Connections' program rewarded over 20 students with a fun-filled day at Six Flags Great America on July 26, 2008. The students were rewarded for their positive attendance in the program during the final academic quarter of the 2007-2008 school year. We are proud to announce that 34 students were eligible for the trip by attending the program 6 out of 8 times during that quarter. Congratulations and we encourage the students to continue to exhibit a commitment to the program!
The students entered the program early that Saturday morning and were welcomed to a breakfast provided and served by Cabrini Connections' staff and volunteers. After breakfast and final announcements the group boarded the bus and headed off to the amusement park. Once at the park the group decided to eat their lunch early in an effort to have more time inside the park. The student's lunch consisted of Subway sandwiches, variety bags of chips, cookies, juice, and a bottled water to stay hydrated in the heat.
Once inside the park, the volunteers, parents, students, staff, and even the group's bus driver took park in all of the activities and excitement that Six Flags has to offer. For nearly 7 hours the various groups rode rides, played the games, ate food and snacks, and visited Hurricane Harbor to beat the heat.
As the event began to come to an end all met back up around 7:00 pm, with some parts of the group exhausted from the fun-filled day and some parts of the group wanting more time in the park. The group boarded the bus for dinner and departure from Six Flags Great America. From the interactions and discussions throughout the day, I would say that everyone had a positive GREAT 'AMERICAN' EXPERIENCE!!!
Hopefully next summer we will have even more students attend the event, and for this to take place we will need more and more students attending the program on a continuous and consistent basis and will need more and more people to support our program and events such as this one by donating funds to the Cabrini Connections.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Connecting the 2008 Jimmy Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections Golf Benefit

First and foremost the Cabrini Connections and Tutor Mentor Connection staff would like to thank everyone who showed their support by either attending and/or donating to the 2008 Jimmy Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections Golf Benefit! We had a very nice turnout and hope that even more people can and will attend the benefit in 2009. The Highland Park Country Club has beautiful facilities, the weather was great, everyone in attendance appeared to have a great experience, and we raised over $40, 000 to assist our organization with continuing to provide necessary services to our youth.

The golf benefit is another example of true meaning of the name 'Cabrini Connections' and the idea of connecting resources to the participants of the program. At the golf benefit there were staff, volunteers, donors, guests, and students all in attendance and having a nice time. The donors who provided financial contributions and/or the golfers who paid the fee to golf were able to interact with several of our students who attended the event. What makes this interaction significant is the fact that these donors had the opportunity to see exactly who their funds benefit and the difference their donations make to the youth in the Cabrini Connections' program. Again, connecting youth to resources and vice versa!

There were other 'connections' that were made as a result of this benefit. Some people, including myself, had the opportunity to enjoy a golf course for the first time, many people met and interacted with someone they had never met before, and many of the people who attended the dinner had the opportunity to hear two of our students Romel Newell and Kevin Stanfield (CC alum) speak about their experiences with the Cabrini Connections program. The 2008 Jimmy Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections Golf Benefit was not just a fun-filled day of golfing, a dinner, and a silent auction, but another way of fulling our mission of connecting our program and the participant's to necessary resources!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Continued Celebrity Support

The Cabrini Connections' program received even more celebrity support for the 2008 Jimmie Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections' Golf Benefit. Ken Holland, Executive Vice President/General Manager/Alternative Governor of the Stanley Cup Champions, the Detroit Red Wings, donated an authentic autographed jersey of the future NHL Hall of Famer Chris Chelios this past week. Chris Chelios is one of the true NHL legends who is still adding to his legacy as a current member of the Detroit Red Wings. Mr. Holland is also a legend in his own right, it is stated that he is 'arguably the most successful general manager in all of professional sports over the last 10 years.' This generous donation and support by Mr. Holland and Mr. Chelios continues to shine light on the Cabrini Connections' program and assist us with producing more and more success stories within our program.

We also received further support from the NFL through a personal donation from Miami Dolphins' #68 G/C Ikechuku "Ike" Ndukwe. "Ike" also known by some of his former Northwestern University teammates, as "Bone Crusher" agreed to support Cabrini Connections and the golf benefit without hesitation! Mr. Ndukwe not only agreed to support the program he shared this 'giving back' opportunity with several of his Dolphins' teammates and they agreed to suppport Cabrini Connections as well by providing their autographs to a football to be auctioned off at the golf benefit. "Ike" is not only a personal friend and former teammate of mine, Mr. Ndukwe is genuially a stand up guy who would have supported this program not because I asked him, but I feel that he would support Cabrini Connections or any other program that has the mission of bettering the lives of others!

Here are two more examples of high profile celebrities supporting the Cabrini Connections program and all that this program does to provide the youthful participants the tools and resources they need in today's and tomorrow's society to be successful! And the Cabrini Connections can't thank you all enough for your support!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jimmy Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections Golf Benefit, this Thursday, July 17

This week we'll hold the Annual Golf Benefit. It will be at Highland Park Country Club on Thursday, July 17. We hope for about 90 golfers and about 100 for dinner.

This event is named in honor of Jimmy Biggs, a student who joined the tutoring program at Montgomery Ward when in elementary school. He continued with Cabrini Connections while in high school and joined our staff following graduation. Jimmy helped create the golf outing and the video program. His dream was to recruit "100 business leaders who would support tutoring/mentoring" with their leadership, their talent and their dollars.

He died in August 2000, shortly after that year's golf benefit. However, his memory lives on in the way we recruit volunteers to become advocates and supporters of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

We hope you're planning to play or attend the dinner at this week's benefit. However, if you cannot join us, please consider a donation so you can add your own leadership to our efforts to connect inner city youth with tutors/mentors and extra learning.

If you have questions about the golf benefit, call 312-492-9614 or email tutormentor2@earthlink.net

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The NFL Makes a Connection with Cabrini Connections

Starting Defensive Tackle for the Super Bowl 42 Champions, the New York Giants, #96 Barry Cofield autographed and donated this jersey to The annual Annual Jimmy Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections Golf Benefit as a silent auction item. This generous donation by Mr. Cofield not only demonstrates his personal commitment to 'giving back' as an NFL player, but this notion also shows Mr. Cofield's support of the Cabrini Connections' program. Barry wrote, 'GOOD LUCK CABRINI CONNECTIONS!" This wish of good luck is as if the roles are reversed, meaning that Cabrini Connections is the 'team' and Barry Cofield is the 'fan' who is cheering his favorite team to a victory!

We here at Cabrini Connections want to thank Barry Cofield for this donation and for the support. Hopefully Barry Cofield and more athletes like himself will continue to support and 'cheer on' tutor/mentor programs like Cabrini Connections in an effort to provide the youth the tools they need to reach their dreams.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Edgewood College "Experience" (Day 3)

Our third and final day with the Edgewood crew began with some arts and crafts to get the kids fully into gear. They finished painting the flowerpots they began yesterday, filled them with soil and planted seeds which they will each soon watch sprout into flowers, which they will either keep for themselves or give as a gift to a friend or loved one. A breakfast, complete with the 3 C's: croissants, cheese and... candles!? gave the kids a bit of nourishment to finish the morning's activities. After breakfast, the kids heard from 2 college admissions counselors at Edgewood, who spoke about the importance of college and how to begin deciding which type of college might be the best fit. This was followed by a closing ceremony wherein each student shared something kind and encouraging about another student. There were smiles all around as the kids and students shared stories and observations from the past few days. The ceremony culminated with the placing of paper hands on a poster (with career goals on the back) reflecting the solidarity between the kids at Cabrini Connections and the students and volunteers at Edgewood College after which, the children happily ran out into the summer breeze through a gauntlet of positive energy and high hopes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Edgewood College "Experience" (Day 2)

Day 2 started out very similar to Day 1 with the entire group completing morning ice breakers make sure everyone was awake for the day. All students, volunteers, and guests performed the "Casper Slide" dance. Even some Cabrini Connections' staff took a break from their work to join in on the fun. After the mini-work out everyone took a break for breakfast.
The group then participated again in small group activities in the center before heading out on their journey in the city. After the activities the filled up their water bottles and headed to Navy Pier to enjoy a ride on the Farris Wheel. After a fun-filled trip to Navy Pier it was back to business as the group headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art to not only enjoy the displays and the sites, but to learn the history around the exhibits that were observed.

The group completed their off-site journey by breaking down in small groups and completing a scavenger hunt around various Chicago neighborhoods before stopping for lunch at places such as McDonald's and Panda Express.

The group completed their fun-filled day by returning to the center and taking part in life skill activities such as painting and decorating flower pots and taking part in various trivia quizzes for prizes.

After talking with several students, staff, volunteers, and Edgewood guests it is understood that the group had a great time on Day 2 and are really looking forward to enjoying the 3rd and final day of the Edgewood College 'Experience.'

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Edgewood College "Experience" (Day 1)

Dr. Holub and over 15 of his students from Edgewood College in Wisconsin visited Cabrini Connections today as part of their annual collaboration with the Cabrini Connections' program.

The Edgewood College 'Experience' on Day 1 consisted of the Edgewood Team leading our students in several large and small group activities at the center that focused on positive self esteem, building confidence, and positive communication. The group also had the opportunity to take part in activities around Chicagoland. The group visited the Freedom Museum where they learned more about the importance of the First Amendment and completed small group activities in relationship to what they learned. The group then had lunch at Millennium Park and returned to the center to complete the remaining activities for Day 1.

The Edgewood College 'Experience' will continue tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. for another day of fun yet educational and engaging activities!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Staying Connected During the Summer

If a guest visited Cabrini Connections during the summer looking for a room full of mentors and mentees meeting and working together, the guest would not probably think our program was closed for the summer. But that assumption would be incorrect.
Cabrini Connections is one of the many unique tutor/mentor programs in which the staff encourages the mentors and mentees to meet outside of the actual program site. We feel that meeting out in the city at various locations gives the mentors and mentees the opportunity to strengthen their bonds and expose the mentees and possibly the mentors to new and exciting sites!!!
Even though these interactions take place off site, the staff remains connected to the mentors and mentees and their summer interactions through the use of the SVHATS system (Student & Volunteer History and Tracking System). After the mentors and mentees enjoy one of these summer outing together they are required to log into the SVHATS system and provide a brief description of what took place during the outing. By completing the SVHATS, Cabrini Connections staff not only has a history of interactions between mentors and mentees, but we have an opportunity to stay connected to the pairs during the summer months!
EL Da' Sheon Nix
Administrative Coordinator