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!

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