Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Understanding OUR Youth" Year End Surveys

The Cabrini Connections' staff is always looking for ways to better prepare our youth for not just our program, but for the future. Week in and week out we are providing the resources of a 1-on-1 tutor/mentor relationship, we are proving a variety of clubs to participate in, we are providing assistance through our College Zone, but we wanted to go a step further by trying to understand the strengths and weaknesses our youth individually.

At the November 2008 Tutor/Mentor Networking and Leadership Conference I was able to sit in on a workshop that provided all in attendance with information and resources on how to gauge not only the value of individual programs, but also tools to better understand the youth that participate in programs like Cabrini Connections. Shortly after the conference I was provided with an evaluation tool from the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of America in which I was able to edit the tool in a way that would assist us here at Cabrini Connections with determining possible strengths and weaknesses of our students.

After a couple of weeks of editing the the document to capture the exact information that we are looking for, and having discussions with our President/CEO Dan Bassill, we were able to complete what we feel will be a great evaluation tool for us. This survey which consists of a description page and a second page that requires a little background information on the student and 21 questions, was completed and distributed to three very important entities.

In the past 2 weeks the survey that will assist our staff in determining some possible strengths and weaknesses of our students was sent out to parents/guardians, teachers of our students, and the mentors of our students, along with a letter that not only describes this process, but also thanking each person for being a part of this process. And I am extremely excited to announce that we have already begun to get responses from all three parties!

As we continue to get the surveys in we will begin to process the information and use the information to not only access the individual student, but use this tool to better provide new and returning volunteers with a type of work plan for their mentee for the upcoming year. As staff of Cabrini Connections we can and will use the information to better prepare the volunteer on how to provide the necessary resources to turn weaknesses into strengths and how to maintain the current strengths that the student already posses. And this is also a visual tool that can be used by the individual students themselves to see what areas of weaknesses my need some attention.

This is our first time trying this tool, but we are confident that if used properly and with enough participation by volunteers, parents, and school faculty, this evaluation tool will be a key resource that can and will not only strengthen the individual students, but will further educate the staff, volunteers, and potential donors. And through this process we are hoping to further strengthen this united resources and support front of the schools, our tutoring/mentoring program, and the homes of our respective students.

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Public/Private Ventures just published a new study showing the cumulative affect of participating in the Boys & Girls Clubs over a 30 month period from 7th grade through 10th grade. Many of the results that this report highlighted are benefits provided by Cabrini Connections.

However, we go beyond this by the way we connect youth to an expanded network of adult mentors, and by how we keep some of our teens with us through high school and are reconnecting with many through Facebook and the internet.

See the P/PV report at http://www.ppv.org/ppv/publication.asp?section_id=23&search_id=&publication_id=295

Based on this information, where are the donors who value what is done at the Boys & Girls Clubs and will support Cabrini Connections and other site based programs based on this same type of service?