Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
As I continue to attempt to draw comparisons of the Cabrini Connections program to an NFL team, I wonder what truly does lead to success. Does success come from having great players that perform a step above the rest and the playbook is secondary; or if put in the 'perfect' system with an extensive playbook the players will come together in a way that leads to success of the team? Many people will argue both sides.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The Cabrini Connections' staff are proud to announce that Cabrini Connections received the Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Performance in Youth Opportunities for the 2009-2010 Year (official hardware coming in January). We were recognized as the #1 Mentoring program across all 6 regions of Chicago!!!!! And...this is our 2nd year in a row. So I guess we can be considered Back to Back Champions!!!
With there being so many programs and organizations across the City of Chicago that are doing great work that benefits youth, adults, schools, and communities as a whole...it is a great honor to be one of the programs at the top of that list. We are not only appreciative of this recognition, but we are also thank for all that make this type of opportunity a reality. So we would like to definitely the volunteers that share their time, talents, and knowledge with the youth in the program, the students that are volunteers as well because they are not forced to come to the program. These students want to be here in Cabrini Connections, and take advantage of the resources so they can put themselves in a position to be successful in the future and to reach all of the goals and dreams they have. I personally want to thank all of the staff here at Cabrini Connections for all of the hard work and dedication you all put into making project.
Lastly, I want to thank a group of people that may not get enough credit or recognition for their contributions to the success that we have in Cabrini Connections, and this group is the donors. There are so many donors that I've never personally met and maybe have net stepped foot in the center, but you support shows that you believe in the program, the work that we do, and maybe most importantly...the youth! Know that without your support there is no way we could do the work that we do for the youth and volunteers we serve. With your continued support we will not only be able to keep the doors open, I'm confident that we will continue to provide the best possible services we can, we will earn more awards, and we will continue to turn "Dreams Into Reality"
This is one of several charts that Dan Bassill, President of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, posted on the Tutor/Mentor Blog.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to keep an organization like Cabrini Connections in business for so many years, or what the strategy is to connect our teens and volunteers?
We posted many of the organizational planning documents on wikis more than 3 years ago with the goal that a growing number of students, volunteers, staff and donors would read them, and begin to share in the effort of shaping the direction and success of the organization.
For us to be a true "learning organization" and share these habits with our teens, we need to find time to look at this information, reflect on it, and share it with friends, family and potential investors.
This 4-part strategy illustrates how the information we collect and share can be used to help Cabrini Connections and its students, and can be used by anyone else to help young people in other parts of Chicago.
Have a safe and happy holiday. I hope you enjoy reading this material.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Aarion Woods joined the program in the Fall of 2008 as well and was paired with, now Board Member, Mike Ozmeral. Aarion faced a lot of adversity outside of the program, but worked extremely hard to be as consistent as possible with his attendance and taking full advantage of program resources. Unfortunately Aarion's homelife and lack of resources forced him to become inactive in the program. But Aarion's strong personality, charm, and his willingness to continue overcome adversity has put in a position where he is now working and taken courses to get necessary certification at his place of employment to move up in the ranks. During his visit today he was all smiles and displayed a sense of pride when talking about what he has been going through...but more importantly how he has overcome those obsticles.
Thanks to first year volunteer, Brian Kamajian, Bradley and I were able to share a great job opportunity at the Wyndham Hotel with Aarion who immediately contacted his good friend AND Cabrini Connection's alumnus, Lawrence Brown, to share the information about the job. Before hanging up the phone both Aarion and Lawrence made plans to travel to the Wyndham on Thursday during the open timeslots to acquire more information about the job opportunities.
Bradley and I definitely enjoyed catching up with Stephanie and Aarion and to hear about all that they have been doing outside of the program, but it also felt good to exchange information and resources as well. This is a perfect display of how the Cabrini Connections' program is one big network and how that network can and should benefit any and everybody that has, is, or will be a part of the Cabrini Connections' TEAM.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Santa's Naughty or Nice Charity Pub Crawl
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Along with a few friends, I created BeardsForKids.org this week to raise money for Cabrini Connections. Check out the site: http://beardsforkids.org/ (Also, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Beards-For-Kids/107547929317605
I'm wondering if any of the male tutors would be interested in participating...AND if any of the female tutors might be able to get any of their male friends to participate, as well!
The idea is to try to raise $10 per day per person up until New Years. I think this is a very modest goal and that together we can build a critical mass to really make this a success!
I've included a short email below to make it easy. Please let me know if you're in by sending me a note and a picture of you sans beard!
Here’s an email you can send to friends and family:
This holiday season I’m participating in the Beards For Kids 2010 Challenge. I’ll be growing a beard from now until the end of the holidays and have a goal of raising $10 per day for Cabrini Connections http://cabriniconnections.net , a program in Chicago that helps underserved kids finish high school with the goal of moving on to complete college and have successful careers.
The program has helped countless students during its almost 20 years of existence, and I want to make sure they’re able to continue doing the good work that they do!
Please help me reach my goal by donating here today: http://www.firstgiving.com/beardsforkids
Thank you and happy holidays!
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Beyond just the mailers that we are sending out to the large group, the entire staff, and hopefully students and volunteers, will personalize letters for personal use. Individually, we all have been taking some time to think of people in our own personal network that we feel would not only like to hear more about what we do, but could further support our program. Whether the support comes from just spreading the word about Cabrini Connections to people in their network, donating a dollar or two, sharing other valuable resources, or all of the above...we will be appreciative of any support that is provided.
Over the weekend I will continue putting my list together continue making an effort to reach out to people who not only have been supporting me and my career, but the people I selected to add to my list are also people who care about improving the lives of youth.
In order for this to continue we need your help in finding holiday donors. Please send this form to people you know, telling of your involvement and asking for their help. If you reach out by email, point people to our blogs, or videos, to show the work we do. Or pick up some holiday fund brochures, with art created by our teens, and mail them to friends, family, co-workers. We have these at the Cabrini Connections center at 800 W. Huron, Chicago, Il. 60642 .
In today's tough economic environment people all over are cutting back on their giving, but if everybody can just give a little, that adds up! And there are still many people in the world who have benefited greatly from having tutors, mentors, and just a variety of support networks, that have the ability give more than others. And as a result of that success, these individuals have the opportunity to GIVE BACK in a huge way, especially during the holiday season!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
However, we're looking for other ways to show value and we post reports on the Stats page of the Cabrini Connections web site each week that anyone can review.
This Student Character Survey for 2009-10 has just been posted. It shows "strengths" of our students, which we feel the program helps enhance.
You can few three reports on the Cabrini Connections web site.
2009-2010 Student Satisfaction Survey Analysis Report
2009-2010 Volunteer Satisfaction Survey Analysis Report
2009-10 Student Character Report
As you view these reports and view the videos and blog articles we hope you will become a fan, and a supporter, providing your own time, talent and dollars to help us continue this work.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Below are a few of the poetic pieces that several of the Cabrini Connections' students will be showcasing at this event. Please take the time to read their work and hopefully their words and feelings will encourage you to make and effort to come out and be a part of this event or support the overall project from afar.
By: Dominique Curtis
Mommy, mommy. Mommy
I call out for you but you don’t hear
Mommy, mommy, mommy
I am filled with so much fear
Mommy, mommy, mommy
I touch you but you don’t feel
Mommy, mommy, mommy
I’m telling you I need you
Where are you mommy?
I don’t know why you’re leaving me
I’m looking at you
But you pretend you don’t see
Mommy how could you do this to me
Don’t you understand I am you’re other part
Mommy you don’t understand
Mommy you have no heart
You were not ready for me
That I understand
But what about what I was ready for
Mommy what about my plans
Who will speak up for those who can’t?
Who will be the voice for those without?
Who will hear the cry’s of the baby?
Who will see the tears of the child?
I see for those that are invisible
I stay for those who everyone leaves
I stand for those who can’t walk
I talk for those with no voice
(95%), are done as a means of birth control
Number of abortions per day: Approximately 126,000
It all starts at home
By: Dominique Curtis
Killing and dying, abusing and abused, raped, hurt and fill with the pain
It all starts at home when mommy tells you, you ain’t s***
And how much she hates you and regrets you
It all starts at home when daddy hits you and beats you
When he breaks you up inside and out
It all starts when hell is the place you call home
The problem is that homes are broken and no one’s listening and no one’s learning
You see everyday we see people lost to the streets
Gun shots missing and piercing the innocence of child
But you see we don’t change because we have become immune to it
The gun shots and deaths have become common nature
See but this starts at home
It starts with the little girl who was raped and abused when she was young
So when boys only wanted her for her body she didn’t know that this was wrong
And when she ended up pregnant at 15
She raised her child while she was still a child herself
And you see she still didn’t understand right from wrong
So she raised her baby girl the same way her mother raised her
Teaching her that her biggest power is between her legs
And that if a man hit her it was ok just deal with it
And the cycle just continues of young girls abused and raped
Blind to the problem in their situation
And see this starts at home
It starts with the little boy that was raised in a home where momma smoked and daddy drank
And daddy was the man he looked up to and followed behind
And so when daddy hit momma it was fine
And he was taught the only way to be a man and be define is by clutching a nine and committing crimes
And so when he got a girlfriend he didn’t see a problem with putting his foot on her face when she didn’t do what he said
Because this is what he was taught and how he was led
And the cycle continues of little boys not knowing how to be man
Blind to the problem in their situation
So you see the problem is
The respect we are being taught is turned and spun
Boys defined by tattoos and guns
Girls walking around with babies like hand bags and accessories
We have babies raising babies
Bad parents raising kids to be bad parents
And so we see kids killing kids and then we become kids killing kids because we don’t know any other way
See when we know better we do better but all we know is our hearts and souls
Which we were taught was define by our body and how many men we slept with
And our guns and how many people we kill
And so we can not change our future until we correct our past
We were never taught that our brain is the best thing to fight with
And our true potential lies in us not with what we have
Our true talents are not material things
And our true beauty is inside
So we need examples of good parents we need teachers
And I think you should have to take a class before you can be a mother
I think you should be a man before you can be a father
Because I find it painful to see the babies beautiful faces
Being brutally beaten and disgraced
See I think it should all start at home
When mommy gives you hugs and kisses
And daddy tells you he loves you
And this makes you feel so special
When your house is finally a place you can call home
By: Marquita Fisher (Quita)
I’m from Chicago and Cabrini Green
Where you hear gun shots
I’m from phony and backstabbing a** friends
Wanting to love and hate
I’m from home to home
Living with my friends
I’m from kids getting raped and beat
Police not doing s***
I from going home and hearing about girl X
I know yall heard about it
How she was raped, beat, and got poisoned
All on the news and on TV
Police lying saying they gone find them
I’m from don’t do that cousin please
To shut up and don’t say s***
I’m from my so called family
Where was they when he touched me
I’m from my so called daddy
Not being there for me
I’m from my mother walking out on me
And I have no place to go
I’m from Bam! A slap to my face
Blood dripping from my lip
I’m from mother sitting there
And not saying s***.
I’m from moving in with my auntie
And Kiera being there for me
I’m from seeing Kiera on Wednesday’s
In our laughter and goofiness
I’m from a place I could call home now
My auntie staying by my side
I’m from a better life now
Sleeping very safely
I’m from get up and get ready for school
6:00 got to get to get up
I’m from “have a good day at school
And be good”
I’m from “Marquita come in the house to eat”
Grandma’s cooking on a Sunday
I’m from who I don’t know?
Friday, November 05, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
This event is being presented by Namrata Shah and Jessica Grant. These young ladies visited the program last year and helped students, volunteers, and staff in various ways. They have put this event together and decided to "give back" to the program from the positive experience they had while being here at Cabrini Connections. And everyone knows that "Once in Cabrini Connections...Always in Cabrini Connections!" For more information, or to make a donation of artwork for the silent auction, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This event will take place on Tuesday November 16th from 4-8pm on the UIC campus. Official building location will be in Room 121 of the Burnham Hall building located on the East Campus of UIC (near the Morgan and Taylor St intersection).
Prospective students that will be showcasing their talent at this event will be Cabrini Connections' senior Victoria Rivera (Lincoln Park High School), junior Marquita Fisher, and new sophomore student, Dominique "Di Di" Curtis. Both student attend the Global Citizenship Experience. Hopefully you will make an effort to attend and show your support...and bring a friend or two!!!
Last night we had a lot of activity in the center with the clubs working hard, but we also had several Wednesday and Thursday night pairs working hard on a variety of academic and career based work. There were nearly 30 people present last night all working in various ways towards similar goals. And of the goals that was and is usually always universal here in the program, and that is the goals of learning something new, learning positive habits, and expanding your network.
We are an academic based program in the sense that each student should be bringing work each and every week to the program. But we are more of a program that looks to build and enhance the soft skills and positive habits to that any student that joins are program are prepared with the skill necessary pursue any career in the future.
PS: PLEASE...if you read this article please post a comment or just let me know we have people actually reading these blog posts. Thanks SO MUCH!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Dan wrote a story about this on the Tutor/Mentor Blog, with maps showing the row houses and other parts of Cabrini Green. These maps show that there are still almost 400 families and possibly 1200 youth living in the row house are. The story shows that if the developers keep their promises, there could be 1200 units for public housing families by 2015.
Are we certain that there won't be a need for programs like Cabrini Connections to serve those kids?
Isaiah Brooms, a 1992 graduate, posted this challenge on our Facebook page:
I graduated from the program back in 1992 and I'm troubled to hear that it is in financial peril and there is the real possibility that it can close. This program was a key factor in my finally seeing what possibilities lay out there for me to be successful.... They are currently doing that for so many of the Children of Cabrini and I'm not aware of many programs that do it in a grass root, no nonsense kind of a way.
I am throwing out a challenge. I will match donations to the program up to a total of $600. I wish I could do more. But unfortunately, I can't. However together, we can turn each others dollars into a significant amount. Facebook me if you want to join this challenge with me. If all goes well, we should be able to give the program at least $1200 dollars that they do not have right now and desperately need.
If we want to keep Cabrini Connections available to current, and future, young people from the Cabrini Green area, we need to find more people to make challenges like this and to match them with their own donations.
Send donations to: Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, 800 W. Huron, Chicago, Il. 60642
Monday, October 25, 2010
Ways to get involved:
Bake treats to be sold. You can drop them off during the week or bring them the day-of.
Donate food. Don't have time to bake? Just donate food!
Volunteer the day-of. Last year we had a lot of fun selling at the intersection of Chicago & Halsted.
Drop by, buy a few treats, and bring your friends!
If you are in the area on Saturday, please stop by. It isn't so much about how much money is raised as it is about supporting a student-led project.
This is not only a great project to support by donating treats and/or your time the day of, this is a student led project and an organization that could benefit greatly from your generous donations on a larger scale. Please show your support here if you can't attend but still want to contribute.
Contact at Cabrini Connections' staff if you are looking to get involved.
Thanks in advance!!!
~Cabrini Connections TEAM~
Monday, October 18, 2010
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.
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 the the league has everything back up and running now and should continue in that direction 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?...