Thursday, September 10, 2009

More Than Tutoring and Mentoring

Most people know Cabrini Connections at a tutoring/mentoring program for 7th-12th grade youth residing in and around the Cabrini-Green Housing community. But we are so much more! All of our student are matched up with their own personal tutor/mentor and the pairs come in on Wednesday and Thursdays for the tutoring/mentoring sessions, but we also provide a variety of enrichment courses that our students can take advantage of.

Currently the program offers Art Club, Video and Filmmaker's Club, Tech Club, and Writing Club. The Art Club is currently being lead by veteran Volunteer Jacqueline Shay, and co coordinator Nicole Gordon will hopefully be rejoining the team after taking some time off. The Art Club meets on Monday evening 5:45-7:15pm and the student take part in a variety of art project throughout the year that ultimately lead to an Annual Art Festival in the spring.

The Video and Filmmaker's Club is a revitalized program that has been a part of Cabrini Connections for year. Innervision Youth Production (IYP) was the former name of the club that was lead by Rebecca Parrish. Currently 1st year volunteer Michael Alexander and Assistant Program Coordinator, Bradley Troast, are leading this club that meets every Monday from 5:30-7pm. The 8-10 students who are currently in the program have gotten off to a quick start this summer and are already in the process of putting together their very own scary movie!!! The club also were in the right place at the right time and were featured on the CBS Ch. 2 news earlier this week.

The Tech Club has gone through some changes in the leadership positions over the last year or so, but former Tech Club Coordinators Steve Pawlik and Alice Toth were lead the program for the 2008-2009 school year set a very solid foundation within the program. Currently, GIS Mapping Coordinator for the organization, Mike Trakan, is coordinating the club that meets every Tuesday evening from 6-7pm. The students are working on a variety of projects, some that include using photo shop, flash animation, and they have also been working towards designing their own personal websites.

The Writing Club meets every Wednesday evening from 5-6pm and this club too has gone through some changes in leadership over the past year or so. When I began with the program in 2008, Jen King and Shannyn Nellett were coordinating the program and leading the group at the time with a variety of writing and overall projects that allowed the youth to communicate and express themselves. At the end of the year Shannyn took some time off from the program and Jen led the program solo for the majority of the 2008-2009 year and they ended the year on a very high note by performing a skit at the annual year end dinner.

Now heading into the 2009-2010 season Shannyn Nellett is back and leading the program with new Writing Club Coordinator Jessica Vandivier, while Jen King is taking some time off from the program. And Shannyn and Jessica have hit the ground running with tons of new and exciting ideas for the Writing Club for this year.

We are truly excited and optimistic that all of our clubs will be a huge hit with the students in the Cabrini Connections' program. Not only are the students being provided an opportunity to take advantage in some fun and exciting projects while being in the clubs, participating in the clubs can count as service learning hours for our students and the clubs can lead to job and intern opportunities.

As you can see, Cabrini Connections is much more than tutoring and mentoring but a program that is filled with many opportunities and resources than can and should contribute to the overall success of our students inside and outside of our program.

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