Friday, October 31, 2008

Read student and volunteer profiles

I hope that as you visit this blog, you'll also visit the blogs listed on the right side of these pages. They are written by other staff and volunteers and expand the perspectives of what Cabrini Connections is trying to do and who is involved.

In particular, I encourage you to read the student and volunteer profiles that Chris Warren is writing each week, as well as his discussion of student participation and leadership.

If you read Nicole's blog you'll learn more about the Tutor/Mentor Connection part of this organization, and how what we do here is an example for programs all over the country!

Finally, if you read blogs by Cassina and Dan you'll learn about fund raising and about actions leaders can take to help programs like Cabrini Connections serve kids in Cabrini Green and other high poverty neighborhoods.

These change every week, so check in often.

Westwood College Visit

Recently, as part of the Cabrini Connections College Prep Program, we took a number of students to visit Westwood College, meeting with various administrators, students, professors and even the University President. This was the 2nd of many College visits that we will be organizing this year. The next is this coming Friday, Nov 7th, where we will be taking students to visit Chicago State University and The Illinois Institute of Technology. During our College visit series we are trying to expose students to the wide variety of schools in the Chicagoland area, everything from 2 year community colleges to elite schools such as Northwestern and The University of Chicago. The idea is to expose not only our Juniors and Seniors to various schools but also our underclassmen, so that they might be better able to visualize themselves at College in a few years and have something to strive for during their High School years.

At Westwood College the kids attended an admissions presentation geared towards urban youth that emphasized the affordability of Westwood and how it's focus on developing skills for particular careers, such as criminal justice, computer animation or design, ensures that graduates are well prepared for the working world and in most cases, already have a well-paying job lined up before they graduate. The University president joined us for the latter half of the presentation and spoke with the kids for a bit, which left an impression on them. Upon finding out that one of our students, Sean Mayfield, has a passion for animation he took us to a couple classrooms where animation classes were in session and encouraged us to sit in. After class we grabbed some pizza with the professor while she showed off some of her department's animation work, which was really impressive. After lunch we toured the rest of the campus, met up with one of our tutors, Stephanie, a senior at Westwood, who gave us the inside scoop on student life at Westwood and introduced us to some more faculty. All in all we had an exceptional time at Westwood and I think that some of our kids will definitely be giving the school serious consideration. Stay tuned for more updates from our future college visits.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Video tells Cabrini Connections' Story

Here's a link to a video posted on YouTube that was done by a Northwestern University graduate student this fall.

Please pass this on to other viewers through your Facebook, My Space and LinkedIn networks so more people learn about our work and give us their support.

If you know of people working with media, video, communications, etc. who would want to create videos like this, and teach kids to do this, we're looking for volunteers to help re-launch our video group. Contact Dan or El Da'Sheon if you know of interested people.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recycling at Cabrin Connections

In an attempt to better the environment but also to get our students in the habit of recycling, the Cabrini Connections' program will begin 'in-house' recycling beginning today (Oct. 28th)! As mentors, mentees, staff, and other guest enter our program they will be able to use any one of the designated recycling bins. One bin is located in the front office right next to the Administrative Coordinators' desk, another bin is located in the back office by the staff's desk, and the last bin is a larger bin located near the computer lab. The recyclable items that can and should be placed in the bins are aluminum, cardboard, plastic, glass, and paper!

We are encouraging all staff, mentors, mentees, and guests to join in the Cabrini Connections' recycling program starting today! If anybody has any questions about what items should and should not be placed in the recycle bins please feel free to ask a staff, volunteer coordinator, another volunteer, even a student who may have the answers you are looking for!

Lets all do our part to keep the Cabrini Connections' program and the environment clean!


The Cabrini Connections' program is definitely in the Halloween spirit and the program is filled with activities that are taking place this week! The first event to kick off the week will be a in-house visit from a representative from St. Cloud University which is located in Minnesota on Wednesday from 4-5:30 pm. The students will have an opportunity to hear about the application process, scholarship opportunities, and the overall university culture. The event will be followed by food and beverages provided by St. Cloud University!

Normal tutoring/mentoring sessions will take place for the first half of the sessions, but during the announcements is where we will continue in the holiday spirit. The winners (Charles Hill, DeSean Hale, Yolanda Hyles, and Eboni Rivera) of the Cabrini Connections' Halloween Essay contest will be sharing their essays with the rest of the group. They will be discussing the history of the Halloween holiday and one of their most memorable Halloween moments. Students will also have the option to take part in a Halloween activity that will be hosted by the Art Club this year. Which should be a real treat! We will also be celebrating our October birthdays during announcements and continuing that celebration after announcements.

After announcements we are going to open the night up for the sharing of any and all Halloween treats! So if staff, volunteers, and students can and want to bring in some Halloween goodies for the group that would be great. Candy, cookies, cupcakes, and/or beverages would be greatly appreciated! And we are going conclude the Hallow-wicked Week by transported our essay winners to the Fear at Navy Pier Haunted House at Chicago's Navy Pier Friday evening!!!!

As you can see, the Cabrini Connections' program is definitely in the Halloween spirit while continuing to provide fun and engaging activities for all to enjoy! Staff, volunteers, and overall Cabrini Connections' supporters please continue to believe in the program...and let that mentality cause you to continue doing more!

Happy Halloween from the Cabrini Connections Staff!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection staff would like to thank everybody who assisted with making the 3rd Annual Martini Madness a success. Unfortunately we can't name each and every person by name (just too many), but a special thanks goes out to all who assisted with the prep, sold raffle tickets, sponsors, donors, and each and every person who attended this festive event! We are proud to announce that there was a very nice turnout of people who we feel all had a great night.

We understand that due to scheduling conflicts and other responsibilities, there were people who could not attend the event and enjoy the event. Hopefully, next year you all will be joining us for the 4th Annual Martini Madness. For those who could not attend the event but would still like to participate in supporting the Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection program you all can visit the donations page to submit your donations

For those who attended and those who could not, understand that Martini Madness was much more than a night of fun. Martini Madness, like the Golf Benefit and other special events, is another opportunity to bring attention to the mission and goals of the program in an effort to get more and more support to fulfill that mission and accomplish those goals. So please continue to talk about how much fun you had at Martini Madness or all the fun you missed out on, but go a little further and communicate how the proceeds of Martini Madness could lead to more computer for our youth, travel fees for college visits, or other valuable resources that are desperately needed to continue operating successful Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection programs

~Thank You~

Student and Volunteer Spotlight; Martini Madness

Charles Thomas is the featured Student Spotlight this week. You
can find the post at

Alice Toth and Steve Pawlik of the Tuesday night Tech Club will be profiled at

Find the list of Raffle Prize Winners from Martini Madness at

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blog Action Day focuses on Poverty, and mentoring

Last Thursday almost 11,000 bloggers posted articles about poverty. The accumulative weight of this was intended to build much larger public attention for this issue.

I've done a google search and located many blogs focused on mentoring. I encourage you to take some time to read some of these, so you expand your own network of ideas that you can use as a volunteer, leader, donor or student in Cabrini Connections.

Next year, I hope some of our students and volunteers will join in this event, posting messages in the Cabrini Blog, or in the Tech Club or Writing Club blogs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Real College Life Experience

One of the true goals of the Cabrini Connections' program is for the students who enter our program to graduate from high school, take advantage of secondary education, and go on to the career of their choice. On Monday (Columbus Day) several of the Cabrini Connections' students had a "Real College Life Experience" at De Paul University.

The Cabrini Connections' staff (Chris Warren) and Tutor/Mentor Connection staff (Nicole White) transported several of the student to DePaul University for a private tour and informational session on campus. During this experience the students had the opportunity to observe the campus, interact with college students, get information about all aspects of DePaul University and college life in general, and ask any and all questions they could think of.

Just speaking with the staff and several students upon their return, this was definitely a worthwhile and beneficial experience for the students. And this is not the only opportunity for the students to get a better understanding of not only college life, but the admissions process and what it takes NOW to get to that college life. The Cabrini Connections' students will have the opportunity to visit Westwood College on October 24th, Chicago State University and Illinois Institute of Technology on November 7th.

We are making an effort to go above and beyond the weekly tutoring/mentoring sessions by getting our students exposure to the places where there hard work today can lead them into the future; and that place is the college or university of their choice! Supports of this concept and the overall Cabrini Connections' program can assist us in our process by making a financial contribution to our College Application Process fund. The money that we collect for this fund goes to assist students pay for the fees that come along with submitting those college applications.

"Don't let a College Application fee deter our students from reaping the benefits of the College Experience"

Thanks for the support!!!

Volunteer in the Spotlight: Heather Coleman

Cabrini Connections would like to congratulate art club volunteer and veteran mentor, Heather Coleman, for being our volunteer in the spotlight. Read more on Chris' blog at:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Perfect Attendance Awardees

The Cabrini Connections' staff would like to time out to recognize the students and volunteers who have perfect attendance in the Cabrini Connections program for the first three weeks of the 2008-2009 year! We are proud and honored to recognize these volunteers and students at this time:


Peter Brandt
Fran Fritzman
Susan Garver
Caroline Grunst
Mitchell Holzrichter
Carl Hurdlick
Mike Jozwick
Jen Jozwick
John Kemnitzer
John Knight
Tonya Myers
Jen Nolan
Amy Proger
Frank Roberts
Autumn Sharp
Amanda Tribo
Brea Adams
Joe Alverson
Tammy Baired
Courtney Jerdan
Mike Kolberg
John Ryan Kracow
Wendy Lasar
Sarah Randag
Stephanie Rogers
Allen Tyson
Mike Ozmeral
Joseph Volini
Tamy Wielgus (Volunteer Coordinator)
Alexandria Hill (Volunteer Coordinator)
Carla Reyes (College Readiness Program)
Jackie Shay (Art Club Coordinator)

Terrisha Brownlow
Dominick Dobbs
Marquita Fisher
DeSean Hale
Arden Harris
Charles Hill
Charles Kilpatrick
Romel Newell
Joshua Vera
Olivia Williams
Ashanti Anderson
Lawrence Brown
Savon Clark
William Gallon
Angelene Hemphill
Whitney Hemphill
Breonca Hyles
Victoria Rivera
Keiri Sandlin
Malik Savage
Dijana Smith
Darius Suggs
Malina Tate
Charles Thomas
Melissa Young
Aarion Woods
Yolanda Hyles
Joshua Jordan
Sean Mayfield
Ashanti Roby
Ce’Landria Tharpe
Cierria Tharpe
Thank You and Keep up the GREAT work!!!

This week's volunteer spotlight!

As mentioned in the last post, we bring attention to the dedication and accomplishments of one student and one volunteer each week through both our "student spotlight" and "volunteer spotlight". This week, Cabrini Connections is proud to feature Wednesday Night Volunteer Coordinator Alexandria Hill as our volunteer spotlight. Read about Alexandria on Chris' blog here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

This week's student spotlight

Each week a student and volunteer are interviewed and profiled in an article on Chris Warren's blog. This week's spotlight shines on: Eboni Rivera.

Last week's spotlighted volunteer was Tami Wielgus. Spotlighted student was LaFaye Garth.

Read more about these outstanding students and volunteers.