Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School and What Does it Mean....

Back to School

That phrase something different for many different people. For students it could mean the summer is over, having to get up early for school, more test/quizzes/homework etc... For parents it could mean the kids are out of the house, school shopping, preparing to attend PTA meetings etc…

For the Cabrini Connections’ staff and program it has very similar meetings. With this time of the year we are trying to get more students and volunteers in the program, working to prepare for the new and returning students and volunteers, but also trying to acquire any and all of the resources we need to have a successful year. And with that being said, we are going to need a TEAM EFFORT in that area.

And this is how you can help…First, think of the Cabrini Connections' students as if they were one of your own…and say to yourself “What are the resources MY son/daughter will need to be successful during this school year?” Secondly, think of what it will take for a program like ours to obtain those resources. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, is trying to locate people, businesses, or organization that can and will provide the funds needed for to obtain those necessary resources for you, your student, and the program to be successful for the 2009-2010 school year and beyond!

We truly understand that we are facing a tough economic time, but many of the student in our program and their families have been facing tough economic times throughout their life and by being involved in programs like ours we give our students an even greater chance of overcoming those obstacles. But we can't do this alone. Honestly, we need YOUR help and those in YOUR network to donate your time, word of mouth advocacy, and we definitely need financial support.

So take a second to think of what the phrase "Back to School..." means to you, and then think of what that phrase means to the Cabrini Connections' youth, and then decide how you can make a difference.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lawyer's Lend-A-Hand Provides Outing for Cabrini Connections!

The Cabrini Connections' program is not just about tutoring and mentoring here in the center. We are always looking to provide opportunities for our staff, volunteers, and students to get out into the community to relax and enjoy the city. On Tuesday evening Program Assistant, Bradley Troast and new volunteer Joanna Michelson took a group of seven students to a Chicago Sky WNBA game. The Sky played Western Conference-leading Phoenix Mercury. The game was full of scoring runs and great defense by both teams but the home team fell to the Mercury in the closing minutes and the game ended with a score of 106-99.

The Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection organization would like to thank Genita Robinson and the Lawyer's-Lend-A-Hand organization with providing this opportunity for us and also for continuously funding the Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection's programs. We would also like to thank Mike at the Chicago Sky for not only assisting with the ticket process but for actually delivering the tickets to Cabrini Connections.

We were able to provide this opportunity to several students who have taken advantage of our summer programming and to several of our new students and volunteers. Though our regular tutoring scheduling runs during the academic year, our center is open all summer and we encourage students and volunteers to make use of it. Lastly, we would like to commend the Sky for their work in the community. Last night they honored Women of Inspiration at halftime, and The Sky Cares Foundation supports the Sky's mission of building girls' self-esteem and providing girls and young women with positive mentors. Tutor/Mentor Connection could be a great resource for fulfilling that mission, so we will be in touch with them.

Go Sky!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Year-Round Schools Equals Year-Round Support

The Cabrini Connections' program looks to have between 75 and 80 students actively enrolled in the tutoring/mentoring program every year. And most would assume that our students and our program are only meeting from September through May...during the typical academic year, but that is far from the truth. Our program is just as much mentoring as it is tutoring and mentoring can and should take place throughout the year. Our official tutoring/mentoring sessions end in late May or early June be we then begin to kick-off our Summer programming. The summer programming includes a continuation of our Clubs and Open House tutoring/mentoring sessions that take place every Wednesday evening throughout the summer.

But for several of our students tutoring and mentoring is taking place throughout the year, and that is because we have students who are enrolled in schools that go year-round. While many of our mentors and mentees stepping up their efforts just to keep in contact with each other and an occasional off-site outing throughout the summer, we have several students who have already begun school. And with those students who have already begun school, their mentors have stepped up as well and both have already begun official tutoring/mentoring sessions.

Freshman, Savon Clark, who attends Lindblom Math & Science Academy which is a year-round school and new student Lamont Morris who attends Alain Locke have already not only begun school, but have been coming into the program throughout the summer for tutoring/mentoring sessions. Although the feel in the center is a little different because the entire student and volunteer population is not here on the night they attend, these pairs along with several other pairs use their time, the space, and other resources as if it was a tutoring/mentoring session in January. We have nearly 70 students enrolled and ready to kick-off our 2009-2010 tutoring/mentoring year, and those 70 students come from nearly 30 different schools!!!

And since we have so many students who are joining our program from a variety of schools, some in which are year-round, we are definitely in need of continuing to build relationships with those schools but we are also in need of potential funders to provide resources for these students throughout the year. Whether its in Cabrini Connections, a similar program, or just in everyday life...tutoring/mentoring for youth can and should be occurring year-round. And for tutoring/mentoring to take place year-round in Cabrini Connections and programs like ours, we need people to support us financially.

Be a Volunteer, Be a Supporter, Be a Donor...Year-Round

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Sport's" Talk With Former Arizona Cardinal and NU GREAT. A MUST READ!

For any and all who have been keeping up with my Sport's Concepts Blog entries...Thank You! After completing those blogs, and all other posts, I try to share the information by placing the link in many different locations. On June 15, 2009 I posted an article titled "Cabrini Connections host O.T.A.'s (Organized Team Activities)" discussing how Organized Team Activities are put in place to in a sense create better players, better coaches, and an overall better organization. I posted that link in my Northwestern University Football Player's LinkIN Group and I wanted to share the dialog that has been taking place between myself and a couple of former NU players...including one of NU's greatest running back in history and former Arizona Cardinal, Mr. Damien "D.A." Anderson. Enjoy!!!

Great analogy, it happens in youth football as well. We set up things specifically for coaches and get little participation. When it comes to extra time in business everyone seems to find something else to do that is more important.
Posted 1 month ago

Thanks Chad. At Cabrini Connections, I am the one who writes the majority of the blog articles for that blog...I try to do a Sport's Concepts blog every week or every other week. Here is the link if you want to read some of the others that I have put together over the last year. I just feel that you can compare almost any organization and the people in the organization to a sport's organization.
Posted 1 month ago

I must reiterate what Chilly posted when it comes to business and athletics its like comparing apples to oranges. When dealing with Athletics of any nature in NFL, college, high school, and youth programs you are dealing with money and position and performance. Therefore students/players feel as though their position or livelihood is on the line so they must see through the lines "voluntary" as "mandatory" and reaffirming their commitment to the team and doing what it takes to be successful participate in all activities voluntary or mandatory means the same. When dealing with volunteers you must make the "OTA" as appealing and as beneficial as a regular round table discussion or meeting, stress the importance of the meeting or activity not that fact that its voluntary.
Posted 4 days ago

Thanks for your comment Mr. Anderson. But I think it may be a little more closely related than one may think. In Athletics and Business a couple of the common goals are to be successful, maybe considered to be one of the best, money is usually factored in there, and putting yourself/team in a position to be a champion. For those to happen you have to work hard on and off the field, you have to put the right things in your body, get enough rest, study and learn your assignments, understand your opponent, and be a team player...if all of those ideals are true and can directly and indirectly to those goals listed above. then shouldn't a person no matter if you're an athlete or tutor/mentor to a youth feel as though your or your student's 'position,' livelihood, and/or opportunity be successful in life is on the line? Kenosha was and will never be appealing to any NU football player, but deep down we knew it was inevitable and necessary to reach the individual and team goals for the season
Posted 4 days ago

Don't get me wrong El I'm agreeing with you on the importance of hard work on and off the field or during and off work hours in order to make your team or organization successful. Whether being voluntary or mandatory my point is that although the goals are similar the motivation isn't sounds harsh and it is. When dealing with sports and athletes your dealing with individuals who are looking out for number one "their livelihood" rather than a tutor or mentor which can help based on their availability. The volunteers, tutors, and mentors hearts are in the right place and intentions are great but they can only contribute based on availability. Im sure they get the satisfaction of giving and we all do, but they must take care of home first, then come the mentoring and tutoring time. Your dealing with individuals with a life outside the organization that may have a job, family, or may be affiliated with other organizations, and time has to be divided accordingly. When dealing with athletes their sport is their life because without that sport they wouldn't have their life. As I said in my previous post, stress the importance of the meeting or gathering rather than the voluntary nature.
~Damien ~
Posted 7 hours ago

D.A. I couldn't agree with you more. I truly understand that the volunteers, what I refer to as coaches in my Sport's Blog series, have their own lives, families, and for most their own kids to take care of. There is no denying that and taking care of home first should always be a priority! I feel as though my job as the "Head Coach" of the organization is continue to work towards getting by-in from the volunteers and show them that we are in a sense dealing with the livelihood of the players (the students). Maybe not to the point where the volunteer is taking their student in as a house guest, but buy-in of always asking..."What more can I do to coach my player to success?..." For some that could be, they can only attend the 2-hour practice every week(tutoring session) and for others that could be that they attend the sessions every week, check in on their player on the weekend AND during the summer months when there is more time to lose focus, communicate to their players and the organization other training opportunities (college visits and interns), and promote their player and the entire organization in the hopes that others will become financial supporters and fans! And as the "Head Coach" understand that I am always going to have coaches that fall on both ends of the spectrum and many in between...
Posted 1 hour ago
Don't you just love talking about "Sports"

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cabrini Connections' Pre-Season Camp

For any and all current, former, and future football players, we all understand what this time of the year is. It's the start of the football season! Players who truly love the game get this indescribable feeling where you are excited, anxious, optimistic, and a little resistant the WORST part of the season...pre-season camp! But we all understand that camp is inevitable and although we may never admit it, we all know and understand that pre-season camp is needed to reach all of the individual and team goals for the season!

During the last week of July every team in the NFL began their pre-season camp and after a couple LONG weeks of running, studying, watching film, hitting, catching, throwing, and getting a little sleep the time has come for the teams to begin their preseason games to display the hard work that they have been putting in and give the world a sneak peek of what the teams has to offer for the upcoming season.

The Cabrini Connections' program has been having summer workouts as well. Many of our players (students) and position coaches (mentors) have been using the summer to complete individual workouts in preparation to have a successful season. Last year the numbers of students and volunteers who took advantage of the summer 'workout' program was fairly small, but this year those numbers have grown dramatically. Many mentors and mentee pairs have been using the facilities to get mentally and physically prepared for a great season.

And the Head and new Assistant Coach, Bradley Troast, have been working on strategies and prepping for unbelievable 2009-2010 season. We have recruited some great new players and coaches to the team, we have put together a new skill enhancement program (Video and Filmmaker's Club) that began yesterday and was a HUGE hit, and we also have a team trip planned for September 25th to visit the Northwestern University campus. We are definitely excited and truly anticipating a season where we reach all of our individual and team goals, and hopefully put ourself in a position to win the championship at the end of the season. That championship would include all of our senior graduating and moving on to the next, all of our players and coaches who begin the season will still be on the team at the end of the season, we have a couple sell-out crowds at our games, and we have fans, boosters, and businesses who support our team and organization by donating funds so that we can continue our championship run for the years to come.

Our Pre-Season games will take place on September 8-11th here in the center, and those games will be the orientations of our coaches and our players(and their parents), and the opening night of our regular tutoring/mentoring season will take place September 16th and 17th at 6pm under the lights.

I hope all are ready for a great season...because we are!

"Hope, Build, Believe, and Achieve"

Monday, August 03, 2009

Cabrini Connections and the Arena Football League

For any and all who have been following the Sport's Concepts entries throughout the year, you may be a little confused at the new comparison for this week. I have and will continue to work towards comparing our organization to an NFL organization, but this week I felt that this twist would fit just fine.

The Arena Football League has been in existence for well over a decade, providing players and coaches with an opportunity to showcase their talents, skills, and an opportunity to continue being a part of the sport that they know and love. The A.F.L. also provides its fans with sport's entertainment so they can continue to cheer on their favorite teams, players, and organizations.

True, the Arena Football League is not the NFL, but its still filled with extremely talented players, great coaches, and fans who truly love to show their support, but unlike the NFL that generates millions and millions of dollars each year to ensure that the league can continue, due to financial issues the AFL was forced to put this form of entertainment on hold until the necessary funds needed are in place to continue.

Here at the Cabrini Connections' organization, we are trying to avoid that same fate. In our organization we have extremely talented players and coaches, and I'm 100% confident that we have fans who truly love our organization and all that we stand for, but with all that being said we need financial support for our league to continue! Just like the Arena Football League, I'm sure some players had no problems finding other places to continue playing the sport they love, but the majority were not provided an opportunity to go on to the NFL. And here I'm sure some players and coaches will find other places to continue playing this sport, and the fans will find other organizations to support, BUT we would like to keep our players, coaches, and fans in tact here!!!

And in the latest news on the Arena Football League it looks as though they are in the process of getting everything back up and running now that financial support has been made available, which is GREAT news. But wouldn't it be even better if that financial support had been in place so that the league would not have been forced to close the doors at all?...

I truly believe we have standout players and coaches who just want to continue playing this tutoring/mentoring sport and continue pursuing those childhood dreams of one day becoming a professional.