Friday, August 29, 2008

NU Alums are Answering the Call for Support

There are numerous ways in which a person can become a supporter of the Cabrini Connections' program and a fan of all of the great things that we do here. As I continue to 'tell the story' of the Cabrini Connections' program and get more and more people to read and fall in love with that 'story,' I've been reaching into my various Northwestern University networks. What's listed below are actual responses from fellow NU alums who have not only agreed to read about Cabrini Connections, but support Cabrini Connections by either getting others to learn more about the program or by submitting donations themselves.

"Hey man, looks likes you guys are doing some good work. I will make a donation. God bless." -Cheick (NU Alum '04)


-Ikechuku Ndukwe (NU Alum '05 and Current Miami Dolphins Offensive Lineman)

I will look at your blog when I get into town next week. Looks interesting and I would like to learn more.

-Matt Huebner (NU Alum '02 and former member of the NU wrestling team)

After looking at your websites, I must say that I am so impressed with the work you are doing, and it is so needed in that community. I work as a graphic designer since leaving NU so let me know if you need help with marketing material or something of that sort.
All the best
-Lilia (NU Alum '04)

I'm asking more and more people to answer the call of support for the Cabrini Connections' program. One of the only ways we able to provide the services that we provide is because of people who are caring and supportive, and because of people who believe in the value and progression of OUR youth. Thank you for your continued support!


EL Da' Sheon Nix
Administrative Coordinator
Cabrini Connections

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I will definitely give your site a look. It is absolutely admirable all the work you do with/for the community. You are definitely making the CHI a better place.

- Ray

This is a response from current Northwestern University alum and former NU football player Ray Bogenrief to a call for support. Ray played Tight End for the Wildcats and was apart of the 2000 Big Ten Championship team.
As the Administrative Coordinator of Cabrini Connections I have been reaching out to my networks in the Northwestern community in an effort to not just tell the Cabrini Connections' 'story' but to spark enough interest that it leads to action. And hopefully that action will be submissions of donations that will assist Cabrini Connections with providing the necessary resources that are needed for the youth that we serve!
Thank you Ray Bogenrief for your support and hopefully you will lead others to further support the Cabrini Connections program!

A Helping Hand

As we get closer and closer to the official start of the '08-'09 Cabrini Connections' season we are all optimistic that this will be a truly special year for the entire Cabrini Connections' team. From the mentors and mentees, to the Club Coordinators and Volunteer Coordinators to the parents of the students who are part of the program, the Cabrini Connections' staff feel that we will set and reach even greater goals this year. In order for us to not only set and reach these goals, but to have ever lasting effects on all that becomes connected with the program we will need YOUR help in our efforts!

How can you help you may ask? It's simple, we are a non-profit organization who continues to exist and provide great services and needed resources because of the generosity of financial contributions of people who truly support what we are doing here at Cabrini Connections. We are thankful and blessed to have so many supporters who submit donations all throughout the year! But in order for Cabrini Connections to continue providing the services and resources that are needed so much by so many students from the Cabrini Green community we are searching for even more support! We are looking for supports to submit donations of any amount. If you would like to submit a donation please visit our website and submit donations online or simply mail donations to our office:
Cabrini Connections
800 W. Huron (1st floor)
Chicago, IL. 60642
The time for the future is now, and YOU are a big part of our future. What part will YOU play in shaping our future, and most importantly the future of OUR youth?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hard Work Pays Off

All throughout the summer the Cabrini Connections staff has been preparing for the up and coming year of programming, and Cabrini Connections' student George Johnson has been assisting with those preparations as well!

George began the summer off by taking part in a BrainWare Safari project. BrainWare is an interactive computer program that gives participant's brain a 'workout' that causes participants to learn material better and faster. George was required to attend the program 3 days a week for at least an hour as part of this project. George now comes to Cabrini Connections on a weekly basis to assist staff with anything that needs to be done around the center. A few of the many tasks that George have completed are; taking out the trash, organizing the book shelves, assisting staff with checking the computers, organizing the center, and many more program preparation duties.

As a result of all that George has done in and around the program this summer the Cabrini Connections' staff have donated a computer monitor to George. After coming into the program this week to volunteer his time and to research veterinarian clinics in the area to treat his sick cat, George stated that he was able to obtain his own personal computer equipment for his home but did not have a monitor. Several staff members discussed the situation and decided we would pay George back for all of his hard work, by donating a computer monitor to him! Now George will not only be able to do research on veterinarian clinics from home, he will also be able to research ways in which to reach his goal of becoming a lawyer!

The Cabrini Connections' staff would like to say THANK YOU to George Johnson for your assistance this summer and keep up the great work!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Program Feedback Turns into Action

In the last several months the Cabrini Connections' staff has received program feedback in a variety of ways. We have received feedback from our surveys from volunteers, students, and parents, we have received feedback during our Volunteer Appreciation Ice Cream Social event, from emails, and from conversations during and after several program events. And what have we done with this feedback you may ask. We have turned the feedback into action in an attempt to better the Cabrini Connections' program!!!
Feedback: "Is there a way to provide more resources for mentors and mentees during tutoring sessions?:
Cabrini Connections action:
-Several folders with worksheets full of activities have been put together and placed in the program's work area to provide both mentors and mentees with a wide variety of options on tutoring nights
-An Activity catalog (over 100) has been put together and added in the form of a resource for mentors and mentees. This catalog is not only full of activities, but the activities are broken down by subject in order to make it easy for mentors and mentees to locate the most appropriate activity.
-BrainWare, which is an animated brain enhancement and learning game has been added to our computer lab this summer, and we currently have 3 students taking part in this experience. The students are required to 'play' the game atleast 3 hours a week, and studies show that the skills acquired for participating in this activity will lead to higher test scores
-The 'game room' has also been updated. Over 12 new fun and engaging board and electronic games...and Uno cards have been added to the game room with a sign in/out sheet to ensure the longevity of the materials.
-And there will be more and more resources available for all mentors and mentees in the upcoming weeks!
Feedback: "Will more trainings be made available to assist current mentors and new mentors to the program?"
Cabrini Connections' action:
-All throughout the summer the Administrative Coordinator has been hosting Open Interview/Informational trainings to not only educate and gain interest of prospective volunteers and veteran volunteers, but also to provide any and all in attendance with knowledge of and location of helpful resources, tips on how to become even better mentors, and further knowledge of program procedures
-3 Orientation opportunities have been scheduled for mentors before the first day of tutoring
-A Tutor Training Conference has been scheduled for ALL current, new, and/or prospective volunteers/mentors/tutors on Sept. 27, 2008
-Staff and several volunteers have began talks of offering topic specific trainings/discussions if not monthly then quarterly to provide all in attendance with the knowledge needed to become successful mentors.
Feedback: "It would be a good idea for mentors to have the opportunity to meet with the students parents in an effort to make it easier to communicate with parents about the students throughout the year."
Cabrini Connections' action:
-We are putting together a Welcome-Back Brunch for all volunteers, students, and parents on Sept. 6th, 2008 in an effort to not only kick off the start of school and the start of the '08-'09 tutor/mentor program, but to provide an opportunity for all volunteers to interact with the parents and students BEFORE tutoring starts and vice versa.
-We also have been working hard at encouraging interactions between mentors, mentees, and parents during the summer so that when tutoring sessions do begin everybody is already familiar with each other.
Feedback: "Is it possible to post the rules and expectations of the program so that both mentors and mentees have a visual.
Cabrini Connections' action:
-We not only updated the program rules and expectations, but we posted them throughout the program (walls, bulletin board, and pillars) and we also are providing every volunteer and student with their own individual copy.
Feedback: "Is there a way to have a buddy system for new volunteers so that we have a 'go-to' person, among the mentors, for questions?"
Cabrini Connections' action:
-We have been providing new volunteers and mentors with the email information of volunteers who can assist them with any and all questions that they may have.
-We have extended invites to new volunteers to events and socials to provide the opportunity for new mentors to meet veteran volunteers and begin building a bond.
-We will hopefully be having name tags for all mentors and mentees on tutoring nights so that everybody knows everybody by name.
-We have also upgraded our tutoring session structure by allowing mentors and mentees to select either Wednesday or Thursday to meet (Wed. used to be for high school students/Thurs. used to be for middle school students) so that the older students and veteran volunteers could also be utilized as leaders and teachers to the new/younger students and the new volunteers.
Here are just a few examples of how we have taken the various feedback about ways in which we could better the Cabrini Connections' program and turned that feedback into action. Hopefully mentors, mentees, and parents will not only take advantage of these modifications and enhancements, but will continue to provide helpful feedback as we strive to provide the best tutor/mentor program that we can!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Moving in the Right Direction...Together!

Cabrini Connections' newest mentor and mentee pair have a long history together. As of August 7, 2008 Marcus Burks has become an official Cabrini Connections' mentee. Marcus has been around the program and attended several of the Cabrini Connections' events over the years as a guest of several of his cousins who have been members of the program for several years. During this summer Marcus has attended the Edgewood College events (3-day event provided by members of Edgewood College in WI) and shortly after those events Marcus decided that it was time to join the program officially.
Marcus comes to the Cabrini Connections' program from the Cabrini Green Tutoring Program and has brought a familiar face with him. Joe Fridlin was not only Marcus' mentor in the Cabrini Green Tutoring Program and is joining Marcus at Cabrini Connections, but Joe is not new to the program. Joe Fridlin was a Cabrini Connections mentor several years ago with another student, and stated that he was glad to be back at Cabrini Connections and continuing to assist Marcus with reaching his goals. And one of the many goals that Marcus Burks has is to attend and graduate from Northwestern University.
This is an example of not only how mentors and mentees build a bond and a relationship through their interactions with each other, but this is an example of how both mentors and mentees become attached to the Cabrini Connections' program! Hopefully more and more potential mentors and mentees will join the program begin to move in the right direction....together!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cabrini Connections' is going 'Clubbing'

The Cabrini Connections' program goes beyond the standard of matching each mentor and mentee together when it comes to providing the youth with more and more resources here in the program. Cabrini Connections' offers the students the opportunity to participate in fun and engaging clubs throughout the year. There has been a variety of clubs offered throughout the years; Art Club, Technology Club, Writing Club, IYP(Video Club), Music Club, a Youth Leadership Club, and there was also a Parent Club offered for the parents of the students who participated in the Cabrini Connections' program. These clubs not only give the opportunity to explore and learn new and exciting skills, but these clubs also provide the volunteers who lead these clubs the opportunity to share their talents, expertise', and experiences with an engaged audience.
Currently the Cabrini Connections' program is offering an Art Club, a new and improved Technology Club, and the Writing Club will resume in the fall. We are currently looking to revitalize the IYP Club(Video Club) in an effort to teach our youth various journalism, broadcasting, filming, and film editing skills so they too can continue to 'tell the Cabrini Connections' story through their work. So if you or anybody you know have expertise in the wonderful world of video come and join the 'Club!"
Listed below are a few quotes from the Writing Club coordinator (Jen King) and the Tech Club coordinators (Alice Toth and Steve Pawlik) as they prepare for another fun and exciting year of 'Clubbing....'
"The writing club will be doing much of the same as last year. We will continue to provide opportunity for the participants to express themselves in various forms of writing emphasizing and encouraging the creative writing skills. We will be exposing the participants to new forms of writing while hopefully showing them the power of words and the impact they have. Each week we will have a new activity which is recorded in each of their journals. The journals are turned in at the end of each class and the participants are encouraged to participate in the activity or free write."
-Jen King
"Tech Club is very excited about its program for the Fall '08 session. We'll be delving into digital photography and learning some tips of the trade on what makes a good photograph -- you'll learn that some very simple techniques that can have a big impact. But why stop there? Now that you have the perfectly composed photo, we'll move onto learning a bunch of ways you can digitally alter your photos; such as applying filters so it looks like a sketch, removing the ugly billboard from the background, adding in a few more clouds -- the sky's the limit (so to speak). For more details, check out our blog post at:"
Alice Toth and Steve Pawlik