Friday, January 30, 2009

National Mentoring Month...Cabrini Connections' Style

The Cabrini Connections' students took the time out to give back during the month of January. January is National Mentoring Month and the student decided to put together a project that showed not only their appreciation for the mentors, but truly how powerful and important a tutoring/mentoring program such as Cabrini Connections really is.

Please take the time out to view the video project the Cabrini Connections' youth put together. GREAT JOB!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cabrini Connections Volunteer Joins the Obama Wave...

First Year Cabrini Connections volunteer, Stephanie Rogers, took some time out to join the "Obama Wave" with two poems. Stephanie is also our Volunteer in the Spotlight this week.

Please take the time out to read the "Obama" poems from Ms. Stephanie Rogers!!!

Poems to Obama 1-25-2009 By: Stephanie Rogers


~we have waited for this day.
~Please help us get jobs back on track.
~Hopefully people will stop and think before they act.
~Let's allow the American people have their dreams.
~It's time that we are all on the same team.
~The house that all families think about.
~The insurance in case someone get's injured or ill.
~A car to drive so that people can get place to place.
~An education to achieve one's goals.
~One's hope to want to stay alive, so many have cut their lives.
~Hope that the crime rates go back down.
~To give everyone peace about these shootings in the streets.
~Let's bring the troops back home.
~And pray for those who are already gone.
~Let's get the economy back
~So we all can work and have something to be proud of!

-Congratulations Obama! You are now the 44th president.
-You've made it this far Please don't give up on America.
-Your a Leo, I know you can and will go far.
-You have a strong pride
-So keep your head up high.
- There will be a lot of stress but don't worry it is all a test.
-Remember that the American people are behind you 100%
-We will help you to get America back on our feet.
-But saying strong, and honest is the main key.
-Oh Obama how so many cried tears of joy.
-Something many of us haven't been able to do in a very long time.
- Make us proud and you will be elected again.
-Make us proud and we will shout your name proud.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Real 'Athletes' Give Back

With the holiday and with history being made last week (Obama!!!) the weekly football analogy was held off, but we are back on track this week and this week's entry actually ties into all of the great activities that took place last week.

In almost every football organization on any level there are ways in which the members of the team 'give back' individually or as a team. Whether its on a small scale level such as the varsity team speaking at a local elementary about the importance of academics or on a large scale such as the Atlanta Falcons providing tickets to a game for an entire school. Our Cabrini Connections team found a way to 'give back' in a very unique way these past couple of weeks.

The Cabrini Connections' student-athletes have began taking advantage of an opportunity that has the potential provide resources to an abundant amount of people!!! The Cabrini Connections team began a WAVE of attention in relationship to the MLK holiday and Obama becoming the first African American President by putting together letters, poems, powerpoint, and audio/video projects that will hopefully draw attention to not just the Cabrini Connections' organization but to other tutor/mentor organizations, neighborhoods, schools, and other communities throughout the Chicagoland area. This WAVE, if you will, is the Cabrini Connections' team's way of 'giving back' by hopefully getting the attention of Obama and the new administration in order to connect resources to areas that can and should benefit greatly from having these resources.

Just like in NFL where teams try to locate the necessary resources that will increase their individual chances of winning the Super Bowl, there are numerous examples where teams complete tasks that benefit the league as a whole. And our Cabrini Connections' team have been doing just that. Instead of saying, "Mr. Obama, our team needs new equipment, a new facility, and the best coaches available," our Cabrini Connections' players have been working on acquiring those necessary resources that will benefit all of the teams in the league...the tutoring/mentoring league that is.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cabrini Connections says, “Hey Mr. President, over here!!!”

I’m sure each and every one of you have been keeping up with the news and all of the events that have been taking place as a result of Barack Obama becoming the first African American President of the United States. And I have to say again that this is TRULY A HISTORIC TIME in the US history. But now that all of the celebrities have began departing DC and all of the other ‘witnesses’ of history began and complete their migration back to their communities, cites, and states, it is time for Barack Obama to actually begin leading our country.

And I’m sure we are all well aware that he can not only do EVERTHING on his own and the problems and issues that our country face in this day and time will not be resolved in a matter of days. We not only have to be patient, but together we have to follow the leadership of Barack and this new administration and collectively make changes in our economy, homes, communities, our schools, and in ultimately in our own lives for the youth and OUR country’s future.

With that being said, I think one of the priorities that should be high on this new Administration’s list is how to better not just better prepare our youth, but to supply resources to the communities that need it the most. Communities that are filled with violence, high poverty rate, poor school conditions, and broken homes. These are the areas that should be focused on more than any, because if Barack Obama can provide the necessary resources and put those resources into the hands of people who are truly dedicated and committed advancing the lives of youth then the short and long term advantages can and will be monumental.

I am asking each and every person who views article to look at these maps that were put together by the Cabrini Connections’ very own GIS Mapping Coordinator Mike Trakan ( He has a variety of maps on his blog site, but be sure to view the "Drive by Poverty' map that shows the areas of poverty in the city of Chicago. After viewing this map, I want you to not only think about what Barack Obama can do to assist these areas, but think about what YOU can personally do to facilitate positive change in the lives of youth in these areas of need. Although this map is just providing information for the city of Chicago, this map can be duplicated in almost every city in the United States. And with that duplication of the city’s landscape, I am almost 100% certain that the problems occur in the high poverty areas in Chicago are mirrored in high poverty areas in other cities.

Hopefully Barack, the new Administration, and other supports of tutoring/mentoring programs will use this map to provide these areas of poverty with the resources that are truly needed.

Here are a few ways in which you can help out.

-visit our website and either become a volunteer or support our efforts with a donations

-visit and become a volunteer at a tutoring/mentoring program in your area

-OR simply be a positive role model for the youth you come in contact with!

EL Da' Sheon Nix
Administrative Coordinator
Cabrini Connections
Tutor/Mentor Connection
800 West Huron
Chicago, IL 60642
312. 492.9795 (fax)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today we witnessed history!!! Barack Obama became the first African American President in the country’s history. I don’t know about you but there was not just a since of pride for this moment, but a true feeling that our country has come so far. Just take a couple of minutes to reflect of all of the hardships that minorities faced on a daily basis because of the color of their skin, and how that color was punishable by death.

And on this day Barack Obama, if only in the minds of some, allows us to believe that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!! And because of this example tutor/mentor such as Cabrini Connections can continue to encourage students to not just dream BIG, but really just to dream. Many of the youth that we serve in our program, youth in programs throughout the city, and I’m 100% that this is true for youth in similar neighborhoods throughout the world…have lost the ability to dream because of the violence in their schools, communities, and even their homes. So how do you tell a 13 year old male that he can be anything he wants to be in life, if he can’t even envision a day where he is not harassed to join a gang while walking to, while being in, and on his way home from school?

But on this day, that ability to dream is revitalized and hopefully in the days to come Barack Obama and his Administration will provide truly dedicated and committed people of service with tools needed in order to foster these new found dreams of the youth. Hopefully more jobs will become available to so that not only do parents have proper means to support these youth in the homes, but jobs that the youth can get as youth to learn valuable skills needed to turn these jobs into future careers. Hopefully ALL schools will have the all of the proper and necessary teaching materials, GREAT and well prepared teachers and administrators, and all of the resources needed to provide these youth with the safe and proper education to become productive adults. Hopefully Cabrini Connections (, Cabrini Green Tutoring, Chicago Lights, and tutoring/mentoring programs throughout the world will be able to have all of the resources and financial support to teach the life skills, assist with academic and career goals, and produce future leaders just like Barack Obama.

And you don’t have to be Barack Obama to assist with the dreams of youth. You can become a tutor/mentor at a program in your area, you can donate to a tutor/mentor program, or you can simply be a role model to any and all youth that you come in contact with!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Letter to the President: Support Tutoring/Mentoring Programs

Dear President Obama, January 19, 2009

First and foremost, Congratulations on becoming not just the first African American President in the Country’s history, but for being one of the greatest examples of the vision that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of in his “I Have a Dream” speech! I am writing you today to say that I will support you, respect you, and I will continue to try to follow in your footsteps by being a role model to all young people.

I am also writing you today to request some resources that I feel that if you and your Administration can provide to me and people like me, then we will have more of the necessary tools in which are needed to continue to make changes in our homes, schools, and communities that can and will benefit the youth.

As the Administrative Coordinator of the tutoring/mentoring program called Cabrini Connections’ we try to provide any and all of those necessary resources to the youth of the Cabrini Green community and the surrounding areas in order for them to be properly equipped to be in a job or a career by the age of 25. This task is not easy due to the violence, lack of resources, lack of jobs and careers for the youth and their parents, and due to the poor school conditions that many of our youth are subject to.

So Mr. Obama I am asking for you and your Administration to assist us in our efforts to not only educate and provide the youth with life skills at Cabrini Connections, but to assist tutoring/mentoring programs throughout the country and maybe even the world. We are going to need well equipped facilities for the youth to meet, we are going to need enough resources to properly educate the youth, we are going to need caring, dedicated, and committed volunteers and staff in each and every program, we are going to need to find ways to get the parents and the community involved, we are going to need FUNDING do all of the things that we need and want to do with and for our youth, and maybe most importantly we are going to need all of these things on a consistent basis.

Mr. Obama if you and your Administration can assist Cabrini Connections and all of the other tutor/mentor programs with these things then I am confident that together we can continue to make positive progress with our youth and the country as a whole through these programs. And through these programs the youth will learn the skills needed to be leaders, to be successful, to be respectful etc…and will through time will share all of what they have learned with those who are wanting and needing to follow in their footsteps.

So I thank you in advance Mr. Obama!


EL Da' Sheon Nix
Administrative Coordinator
Cabrini Connections
Tutor/Mentor Connection
800 West Huron
Chicago, IL 60642
312. 492.9795 (fax)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Just One Play out of the Playbook

Like any coach, player, or fan who truly loves the 'game,' we are always looking forward to the start of a new season, the next quarter, or second half etc...This week the Cabrini Connections' organization begins the 2nd quarter and we hope to continue to build and grow off of the momentum from a GREAT first quarter. In the first quarter we had numerous players step up add to their impressive stats (Youth Leadership Council was formed with 6 students, Volunteers took advantage of the FUNdraising for Quarters project, several students took advantage of the College visits, and numerous students and volunteers were honored in the Weekly Student and Volunteer in the Spotlight section). We also had several touchdowns scored in the first quarter. Eboni Rivera was not only being recruited by several Colleges and Universities for her ACADEMICS, LaFaye Garth won the Posse Scholarship Foundation award and will receive over $30, 000 over 4 years to attend Pomona College, and Mr. Allen Tyson ended in 1st place in the FUNdraising for Quarters project for the first quarter (with the efforts of all volunteers bringing in more than $4, 000 in the first quarter)

With stats like those in the first quarter what team wouldn't be looking forward to a great 2nd quarter. And this quarter we plan on building upon the foundation we set in the first quarter and continue to work on the play that appears above. We'll call the play "Helping Hand!" Through the information that we provide on our websites and we will provide the players with the resources to make this play a success and during our weekly tutoring/mentoring session we will continue to practice and perfect this play!

Due to the environment, the schools, the communities that the majority of our student-athletes are connected to, they face "difficult situations" on a daily basis, but through the participation with the Cabrini Connections' program and with the help of dedicated and committed coaches, our students will learn the necessary tools and skills needed to "avoid painful traps." And over time and with continued efforts with perfecting this "Helping Hand" play from the Head Coach and the Assistant Coaches our student-athletes will be not only shown the way to avoid those traps, they will hopefully in turn be able to COACH younger players on how to avoid similar traps.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Supporters of Cabrini Connections..."Be APART of Barack's Change!"

History will be made this month, on January 20th to be exact, with the eyes of the world focused on Washington DC as Barack Obama officially becomes the first minority President!!! This is a true historic event, so monumental that there will be millions of people not only trying to get the attention of the new administration, but millions of people are just want to be apart of it all. So how can the Cabrini Connections' family not only be apart of this event, but be apart of the CHANGE…It’s pretty simple!
Express your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and even your dreams of change in the form of blog articles! The Cabrini Connections’ Team is encouraging the entire Cabrini Connection network to take part in being APART of this change by constructing blog articles in all of the various communication and media avenues out there (newspapers, tv, radio, myspace, facebook, etc…). As apart of this change we want you all to think about how the Obama Administration can help you, your business, your organization, and your community etc…to help not just the Cabrini Connections' kids, but all kids. Because the kids are OUR future and with this ‘new’ idea of change, why not try make all take part in the change for all of OUR futures.
Our vision is that we get past, current, and future Cabrini Connections' staff, students, and volunteers joining this wave, collectively we raise enough attention and awareness during the inauguration celebration and all of the policy forums to what WE have to say about how our new public and private leaders help US do OUR work!!!
This is how this is going to work…during the week of the inauguration EVERYBODY should write your article and not only share your article with the public, but encourage people in your network to do the same! Or you can post your blog link (and article) on our Ning page (
Like the President/CEO of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection (Mr. Dan Bassill) says, "I can't be in DC and don't want to be one of a hundred, or a thousand faces in a crowd in Chicago. Yet I want people to hear my message, reflect on it, and then act on it. You do too, don't you! So write a blog article that connects public policy, private sector involvement and the work you do to help kids in poverty have a ladder of support that makes it possible for more of them to be a leader in business, education and government in the future."
I am asking all of you to join the WAVE by writing your blogs and sharing them with the world!
CHANGE is in YOUR hands!!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

We Want to Be, We Want to Be...Like Dan!

In the 80's, 90's, and even today there are millions of boys, girls, men, and women who wanted to 'Be Like Mike!' And without even saying the whole name and/or the last name I'm sure nearly everybody knows who I am talking about...Michael Jordan!!! And who wouldn't want to be like not only the best basketball player who ever graced the courts, but also one of the world's true heros.

In the world of tutoring/mentoring there is another hero that we should all aspire to and that is the President/CEO of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, Mr. Dan Bassill! Just as Michael Jordan spent endless hours perfecting his craft, making those around him better, and setting the bar in the sport of basketball (and all other forms of athletics), Dan is doing a very similar job in this field.

Mr. Bassill has been in the tutor/mentor field and perfecting his craft for over 30 years. And during that time Dan has not only networked and collaborated with other passionate and dedicated gurus in the business, continued to study and learn all aspects of the field, Dan has always worked towards sharing all the he knows with others in the field. In a field where resources are sometimes very hard to come by and causes some people/programs to isolate themselves in order to obtain and keep resources, Mr. Bassill works even harder to network and collaborate with any and all people, programs, businesses, politicians, and any other person on entity that has a similar vision of doing everything necessary to enhance the lives of youth! In his blogs a person can always find information ranging from the latest tragic event that has taken place in Chicago AND what can and should be done to information on how Obama can and will inspire change in others. (
And besides just reading stories, Mr. Bassill shows his true coaching, versatility, and communication ability by providing numerous visuals of his vision AND how those visions can be carried out. Here is an example of one of Dan's concept maps.(

Like, Mike, it started with a vision and an attitude, and it continues with daily practice, research, networking, and not only telling the Cabrini Connections' story, but maybe equally important is that Dan assists other people, organizations, and businesses with putting themselves in a position to tell a 'story' as well. And that story is and should be a story of how businesses, organizations, schools, communities, and people in general stepped up and became leaders in the fight to provide the youth with all of the resources necessary to be successful in life and in turn become leaders as well who GIVE BACK!!!
Just as Mike became a hero to millions because of his talents that he shared with the world, Dan has and is continuing to do the same in the field of tutoring/mentoring. While its still okay to "Be Like Mike" people should want to "Be Like Dan" as well...
"Thank You Mr. Dan Bassill for all that you have done and continue to do, that has truly touched so many lives!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Getting 1 day Better!

As part of the sport's analogy series I want to continue by giving background information about myself. I have been an athlete nearly my entire life. I have played on numerous basketball, football, and even baseball teams throughout my career. On those teams I found a way to become a leader as a captain of nearly every team that I have been apart of. The hard work that I put into athletics, and lets not forget academics, allowed me to earn and accept a full-scholarship to Northwestern University as a member of the football team. Due to a career ending injury I was unable to display my athletic ability on the football field at Northwestern, but I am able to continue to display my leadership ability in the field of Social Service!
This week I want to briefly discuss how several of the Cabrini Connections' players are working to get 1 Day Better!!! The Cabrini Connections' program does not officially kick off the 2nd quarter until next week with all of the clubs (Art, Tech, and Writing) back in full gear and the Wednesday and Thursday tutoring/mentoring sessions back in action as well. And although the 2nd quarter does not start until next week, we have several determined players who are looking to enhance their skills in this 'field.'
We announced the official start up dates to all of the players on the team, and stated that if anybody wanted to come in to get started early on their road to success they could come into the center and begin that work. We've had several of our students and mentors respond by saying that they would not only like to take advantage of this opportunity, but they look forward to getting started early!
This type of dedication and commitment is what makes special players in any program and if this dedication, commitment, and attitude can spread throughout the entire team...then that is what makes a championship team and an overall successful program. And just like in football, games are not won on the day of the are won by the work that is put in in the weight room, during training camp, in film sessions, and during practices leading up to the game.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Be the CHANGE.

I hope that 2009 brings health, happiness and prosperity to everyone in the Cabrini Connections family. We thank everyone who has volunteered time and talent, and dollars, in the past year and look forward to working with your through 2009 and beyond.

Through Facebook and Linked in, as well as SVHATS, we are building an on-line network of Cabrini Connections students, volunteers and alumni. I hope that each of you will help us expand this, by inviting your own friends, and by helping us reconnect with former students and volunteers.

We're also building "outposts" in a variety of other forums, such as I hope you'll visit these places and help us build an identity, and that you'll also help us connect in other places that we don't yet know about, or that we don't have time to visit ourselves. I've created a list of social network sites where we are active and encourage you to add to this as you find and join other sites.

We have much to do in 2009 to help our current kids make the decisions that will lead them through school and to jobs and careers. We also have much to do to help our former students, and their own children, because many of them are still struggling to find security and a place for themselves and their families in this 21st Century Society.

Through these social network spaces we can find more help, more ideas, more friends and more resources. This expands our world, and expands the world for our kids and volunteers. We need the help of all of you, students, volunteers and alumni, to maximize our potential in this new world.

Thank you all for letting us be part of your lives.