Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Weekly Update. FUNdraising, Martini Madness

Currently we are hosting our FUNdraising for Quarters competition and we are gearing up for our Annual Martini Madness event. The FUNdraising for Quarters competition is an event in which the volunteers of the program attempt to bring in needed funds to the Cabrini Connections’ program and in return the top volunteers earn a spot in the newsletter, earn prizes at the end of each quarter, and the volunteer who brings in the most financial support for the year earns two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the US. The Annual Martini Madness event, which is scheduled for Friday, October 17, 2008 (further details available on website and in other areas of the newsletter), is a fundraiser in which staff, volunteers, donors, Board members, guest and other supports of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connections gather for a fun-filled night! This is a very simple description of ways in which we attempt to gather further support for our programs and we do within our programs

Lets take a more in depth look at these two events. The FUNdraising for Quarters competition is so much more than a competitive event with prizes for winners. This event gives volunteers the opportunity to share the Cabrini Connections’ “story” and their involvement within program to help shape that story. We have over 100 volunteers who provide services to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection in one way or another and that leads to a pretty extensive network that can and should be hearing all of the great things that are taking place within the program. The true aim of this event is not just for volunteers to ‘ask’ for donations to support our program; the true goal of the FUNdraising for Quarters event is for the volunteers who have a direct and indirect relationship and tie to the programs to begin and to continue to tell the ‘story’ to that their audience will become a believer of the importance of that ‘story’ and be willing to financially contribute to the Cabrini Connections’ program…so that ‘story’ continues!!!

The Martini Madness event is much more than a social event where the participants meet for food and drinks.

The Martini Madness event is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of tutor/mentor program such as Cabrini Connections. Martini Madness, and similar events, are opportunities to share not only share what we are doing, but the opportunity gather financial support to continue providing those much needed services to the youth and their families of the Cabrini Green community. So when looking at these two events and deciding whether you want to participate or support in the events, think beyond the actual event and make a decision on the true meaning and goals behind the event.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Edgewood College 2008 Experience now on YouTube

One of our volunteers, Haminiaina Ratovoarivony, has created a video documentary of the July 2008 visit of Edgewood College graduate students at Cabrini Connections.

Haminiaina is from Madagascar, where he is teaching cinema and digital video for youth. At Cabrini Connections he is working with our library of digital video, created over the past 10 years, to create new videos that show the work we're doing.

We're recruiting other volunteers who will take this role, and hope that as a community of Cabrini Connections video volunteers forms, it will begin to attract our teens, which will re-energize the Innervisions Youth Production club which was started in 1995.

If you're a current or former student or volunteer and want to be part of this group, or work in the Chicago area and want to join us for the first time, email tutormentor2@earthlink.net so we can help you get involved.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

From an NFL player to a Cabrini Connections' fan!

The Cabrini Connections' Art Club received a visitor yesterday by a unique 'fan!' During the Art Club's session yesterday Mr. Kurt Kittner stopped by to meet the volunteers and students in the club and to get a better understanding of what all takes place in Art Club.
Kurt Kittner is a current University of Illinois legendary athlete and a former NFL quarterback. Mr. Kittner was the signal caller for several NFL teams during his career and at the quarterback position was one of the true leaders of the teams in which he played for.

Following Kurt's career as a player, Kurt Kitterner has changed roles and has become a fan...of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection. Kurt Kittner recently joined the Cabrini Connections Board of Directors, participated in Annual Jimmy Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections Golf Benefit this year, and as mentioned early took a break for a Board meeting to pay a visit to the Cabrini Connections' Art Club. While visiting the participants in the Art Club, Kurt interacted with the students and volunteers, observed the students working on their masterpieces, took pictures, and even offered to assist with obtaining needed materials.

Kurt the entire Cabrini Connections' Team would like to thank you for setting an example of how to "Give Back" and we all truly appreciate what you do for the Cabrini Connections' program as a whole!

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Week of Tutoring/Mentoring!!!

After a summer filled with planning, preparing, and anticipating the first days of the 2008-2009 Cabrini Connections' tutoring/mentoring 'season,' last week Cabrini Connections had the first official tutoring/mentoring sessions of the 2008-2009 school year!!!

I provided a "Welcome" to all in attendance and hopefully provided positive momentum as the program continues throughout the year. Wednesday and Thursday sessions were filled with new and veteran students and volunteers catching up and in some instances, meeting for the first time. The staff and Volunteer Coordinators provided the group with important information during announcements. Then everyone in attendance played a trivia game. The mentors and mentees were split up into two different teams and asked about 20 questions, with a bonus team question at the conclusion of the competition. What made this trivia game special was the fact that the questions covered material that all students, volunteers, and staff should know about the Cabrini Connections program and where the information could be located.

The participants of the trivia game received positive feedback for their responses (Dum Dum suckers) and one member from the winning team on Wednesday and Thursday won a $25 gift card to Target in a raffle.

We wrapped up the evening after the presentation of the prizes and mentors, mentees, Volunteer Coordinators, and staff said our goodbyes for the evening and most importantly encouraged everyone to join us next week as we continue to get the 2008-2009 Cabrini Connections' program off to a great start!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cabrini Connections' Supporter Makes His First NFL Start

Ikechuku Ndukwe(#68 ) right guard for the Miami Dolphins is getting his first NFL start today against the Arizona Cardinals. Ikechuku Ndukwe, better known as "Ike," has been supporting the Cabrini Connections program for several months now. Ike's support of Cabrini Connections started with the purchasing of an official NFL football that he and several of the Miami Dolphins autographed, and Mr. Ndukwe sent the football to Cabrini Connection as a silent auction item for the 2008 Jimmie Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections Golf Benefit. Although his schedule did not allow Ike to attend the event, he did state that he would try to come out and support the 2009 event!

Ike's support of Cabrini Connections does not stop there, Mr. Ndukwe continues to support the program by simply reading the blog articles, viewing the Cabrini Connections' website (http://www.cabriniconnections.net/), and periodically checking with the Administrative Coordinator about 'what's new' with the program!

You do not have to be a professional in the National Football League to support Cabrini Connections. Cabrini Connections is a non-profit organization, like many other non-profit organizations, that is always in need of support and financial contributions in order to continue to provide the best services for the program's participants. If you would like to support the Cabrini Connections' program, continue reading the blog articles and viewing the website so the Cabrini Connections' "story" will lead you to support us financialy as well!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cabrini Connections' Welcome-Back Brunch

On Saturday September 6, 2008 the Cabrini Connections staff put together a Welcome-Back Brunch for all of the students, parents, volunteers, and staff. This event was filled with food, games, prizes, and most importantly attendees interacting with each other. The purpose of the event was to provide a fun-filled way to kick-off our '08-'09 tutor/mentor program, but this event did so much more. At the Welcome-Back Brunch new students and their families were able to meet with new mentors for the first time, returning students and volunteers were able to catch up after the summer break, the Cabrini Connections staff were able to share some of the new additions of the program to all in attendance, and prospective students were able to actually sign up for the program!

There were more than 70 people who came out and enjoyed the event and from the feedback that the staff received right after the event and in the days since, we all feel that the event was an overall success!

Hopefully the momentum from this event will continue right into our first night of tutoring which is September 17th and through the entire school year!

I would personally like to thank the Cabrini Connections' staff for all of their work in making sure that the event was a success. I also want to thank all of those who made it out to the event, and encourage those who could not attend to continue to support the program and events such as the Welcome-Back Brunch in the future.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mentors and the Danger of High Expectations

As school is starting and new volunteers are coming on board, it's a good time to remind people not to have unreal expectations about what they can accomplish during the coming year.

To help with that I encourage you to visit a friend of Cabrini Connections, who leads a mentoring program in Australia. Read more aboutmentoring and high expectations. (Posted on Aug. 17, 2008. Scroll down on this site to find this article.)

As volunteers at Cabrini Connections, or others who visit our blogs, go through the school year, you'll see that we constantly point to others who also lead similar programs. We can learn from our own actions, and from the staff at Cabrini Connections, but we can also learn from people in all parts of the world who are working with similar kids, and in similar programs.

The GR8 MATES Youth Mentor Program is one that I hope you'll visit when you're a bit frustrated or need some inspirations.

As we start the new year, I also hope you'll read the blogs at the left, and help us find donors who will make large and small contributions to fund our work. Donations can be made using this form.