Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Career Week: Day 2

This week is the CPS Spring Break and here at Cabrini Connections we are definitely taking advantage of the break. No, we are not taking the week off, but we are using this time to get our students out into the wonderful world of our volunteers. Several of our volunteers have agreed to allow groups of students and staff to visit the college, university, and/or place of business throughout this week so that our students can get a up close and personal look into the lives and careers of those who share their time, knowledge, and experiences on a weekly basis....our mentors.

Yesterday, Bradley Troast (Program Assistant) kicked off the 2010 Career Week by leading a group of students to two very unique opportunities hosted by veteran volunteers Anne Davies and Brea Adams. Read the complete story of Career Week: Day 1 Here.

There were a completely different group of students who joined me on the trip this afternoon. Cabrini Connections' students Ana Tate, Israel Dosie, Marquise Cook, and Sean Mayfield road with me to the home (also personal office) of veteran volunteer Allen "AJ" Tyson. Mr. Tyson is a self employed Commission's Agent who runs the majority of his business, Emsig, out of his beautiful home on Chicago's West Side.

AJ, and his best friends and business partners Jack (his dog) and Mouse (his cat) greeted us and immediately provided us with a great overview of his educational background, his career history, and how he runs his business from home. AJ runs a company produces and distributes mass amounts of buttons to various companies and buyers all over the world!

The students asked a variety of questions about Mr. Tyson's business and his career, and he answered every question with pleasure. Mr. Tyson then gave us a tour of his home and shared some of his hobbies with the group. Mr. Tyson loves to sail and garden, and he has a fantastic garden in the back of his home.

Following a few more questions and the completion of the tour, we all walked to a pretty nice neighborhood restaurant for lunch and the food was GREAT!!! Allen Tyson left these words with the group before we concluded our trip, "Always be present and punctual and network as much as you can." These are tips that the entire group can and should be using every day of their lives, no matter if it is for school, work, or just getting through the day!

We concluded the trip by returning to the center and I provided the group with a BIG SURPRISE; that's right you guessed it...a POP QUIZ!!! I wanted to not only see how well the students were paying attention, but I also wanted be sure the students found a way to retain what they had learned to use in the future. They completed a 12 question quiz and I provided the student who had the highest score with a ice cream from Loves.

Overall this was not only a great trip but a great opportunity for the group to learn about what it took for AJ to get to where he is in life today. Hopefully the students will take something away from this experience that can and will help them in the near and distant future, so they too will have success in their future career!

Simply Perfection Second Quarter!!!

We would like to say THANK YOU to all of the volunteers and students who had PERFECT ATTENDANCE during the second quarter. For many this is the hardest quarter to accomplish this because of the harsh Chicago winter weather, but you all braved the snow, freezing cold, and ice to show your dedication and commitment to the program. THANK YOU!!!

Student Perfect Attendance
NyShanell Freeman
De’Sean Hale
Ayana Martin
Sean Mayfield
Imann Mitchell
Lamont Morris
Brittany Murphy
Reggie Murphy
Amari Roby
Ashaunti Roby
Ana Tate
Malina Tate
Nathaniel Wilson

Volunteers Perfect Attendance
Carolyn Grunst
Cathrine Lynnerup
Cassia Overk
Jeroz Owens
Sarah Randag
Carla Reyes
Sue Gill

3rd Quarter and Attendance
Immediately following the CPS Spring Break, the Cabrini Connections’ program will be entering our 3rd Quarter for the 2009-2010 tutoring/mentoring year and there is a lot to be earned during this quarter. We will again be hosting out annual trip to Six Flags and the way students confirm their entry into this opportunity is by 3RD QUARTER ATTENDANCE!!! All students who have 75% or better (attending 6 out of 8) of attendance will be invited to A FREE DAY OF FUN AT SIX FLAGS!!!

Bank of America/Upperclassmen Workshop
ALL graduating seniors in the program must maintain outstanding attendance percentages during the 3rd quarter as attendance for seniors during the 3rd quarter can positively or negatively affect Graduation Dollars presented at the Annual Year End Dinner.

The College Zone will be hosting a workshop to discuss Senior Graduation Dollar options and that part of the workshop will be lead by Bank of America Representative and mother of Lawrence Brown (Cabrini Connections’ senior). And following that segment, several Cabrini Connections’ senior will share their “Road to College” experiences with the sophomores and juniors in the program…along with their parents and mentors. ALSO, Sue Gill (College Zone Coordinator) will be providing a FREE pizza dinner following the workshop!!!!

Date: Tuesday April 13th
Time: 5:30pm
Location: Cabrini Connections
Special Note: Please RSVP

2010 Art and Film Festival

Plan to attend this year's Art Festival on Friday April 16th, 2010 from 6-10pm at the Palette and Chisel Art Gallery (1012 N. Dearborn). Go here for more details.

Fund Raising continues to require the efforts of everyone. Please check the Fund Raising Blog each week to know what events you can participate in, and to point friends, co-workers and potential benefactors to ways they can help.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Web Site Problems

For the past few weeks we've had constant interruptions of service on the Cabrini Connections and Tutor/Mentor Institute web sites. This affects SVHATS also.

We're working to get this fixed, but our options are limited by our fund-raising challenges. We, like many other small non profits, are working with very limited cash, which means that paying the rent, insurance, staff salaries are where the money goes first and their is not a lot left for flexible responses to problems that should be solved.

This is why Cabrini Madness, the Art Festival and other fund raising events are so important. They help raise the dollars we need to fix problems, and to pursue opportunities.

We'll get this fixed as quickly as possible. Thank you all for your patience and for helping us find the dollars we need.

Dan Bassill
Cabrini Connections
Tutor/Mentor Connection

Monday, March 15, 2010

Words of Wisdom From A Cabrini Connections' Alum

The Cabrini Connections' program is a tutoring/mentoring program that provides resources for 7-12th grade youth living in and around the Cabrini Green Housing community, in an effort that the student who join and stay committed to the program are in a career by the age of 25...

If anybody visited the program on any Wednesday or Thursday tutoring night, they would see everyone who is present working on that exact goal listed above. All of the students in the program are different, they have different goals, dreams, and aspirations...therefore what a person would see is each pair working on different work, but everybody as a whole working towards career goals. And during last Wednesday's tutoring session we had the opportunity to hear from one of the program's most recent alumni talk about all that she is doing now as a freshman at SIU Edwardsville, how she is working towards her goals, and how the Cabrini Connections' program and her mentor within the program played and continues to play a part in her life.

Eboni Rivera joined the program when she was in the 7th grade and remained dedicated and committed to the program and graduated from Kenwood Academy and become a Cabrini Connections' alumni in 2009. Eboni stated, "When I was in the 7th grade I didn't want to join the program and come here every Wednesday. I'd rather sit in my room and do my work on my own." But then she asked the students if they ever was doing work on their own and when it got too hard or if they had a questions if they said, "man I wish I had somebody here to help me figure this work out. That is what your mentor is here for, to help you figure your work out." Eboni went on to share her experiences in the program and how although she went through several mentors during her tenure in the program, they all worked hard to reach her and get through to her so that she could take advantage of all the potential she possesses.

In the 9th grade Eboni was then paired with her 'current' mentor and what should be her lifelong tutor/mentor and who she says is her 'bestfriend" Susan Nice. Eboni said that when she first walked into the program last Wednesday the first thing she did was give Susan a hug and say "I miss you!" Eboni went on to express how their relationship is much more than a tutor/mentor relationship; Eboni said, "We get along great, we have the same birthday, and we have a bond." This is a great example of how the tutoring/mentoring that takes place inside of Cabrini Connections is the start of many many years of tutoring/mentoring outside of the program as well. Just because a student graduates from high school and the program doesn't mean they no longer are in need of the services of the program and maybe more importantly, their mentor.

Ms. Rivera went on to discuss some of her college life and how she manages her time as a freshman at SIU. She concluded her speech by providing some words of wisdom for the volunteers and the students. Eboni encouraged all the volunteers to never give up on their student and to continue to "try and work harder" because it may take some time to reach the student that they are working with. She told the students, "get to know your mentor and take advantage of all that the program has to offer, because the program so much. And the resources can and will help you when it comes to getting into college, getting a job, and for your future career."

The entire Cabrini Connections' family would like to thank alumni Eboni Rivera for stopping by and sharing her story with the program, and we want to with her the best in her future endeavours!!! Eboni will also be speaking at the Annual Year End Dinner taking place on June 10th (check website at a later date for more details). We are looking to create more success stories like Ms. Riveras' but it takes resources to create these stories. If you would like to be a part of creating more stories like this please visit the website and become a supporter, a volunteer, and/or a donor.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Big Ten Network Personality, Tim Doyle, is the new BRACKETOLOGIST!!!

As we get closer and closer to the 2nd round of the Cabrini Madness tournament, teams are really making a push to move on to the next round. For those who have not been following the Cabrini Madness tournament, Cabrini Madness is a FUNdraising tournament where teams consisting of students, volunteers, program leaders, and program supporters have teamed up to compete against each other by fundraising. The teams have been finding innovative and creative ways to advocate for the program to bring in some much needed resources. And to assist us with promoting this tournament idea, Tim Doyle, stopped by Cabrini Connections to star in the latest video.

Tim Doyle is a basketball legend in New York and starred at the famous Rucker Park, before going on to have an great college basketball career at St. John and then Northwestern University. Tim Doyle can now be seen as one of the many stars of the Big Ten Network, analyzing the biggest Big 10 basketball games and sharing his basketball IQ with the fans and viewers.

Tim took part in a series of Cabrini Madness promo videos that we have been putting together since the start of the tourney. Episode #5 "Cabrini Madness Bracketology with Tim Doyle" was shot yesterday afternoon and is making it world premiere TODAY!!!! Check out the WORLD PREMIERE OF "Cabrini Madness Bracketology with Tim Doyle"

Also take the time out to view the previous videos in the series:

Monday, March 08, 2010

Bulls/Cavs and Cabrini Connections

On March 19th at 7pm King James and the Cleveland Cavs will take on D. Rose and the Chicago Bulls at the United Center, and two members out of the Cabrini Connections' network will be in attendance!!!! Last week the Cabrini Connections' program received a donation of 2 club level suite tickets. Michael Hilson of GBG Inc. has and continues to be a Cabrini Connections' supporter, and he donated the tickets to the program so that we could auction them off to bring in some extra financial support to the program.

Again the game is scheduled for Friday March 19th, at 7pm at the United Center and the 2 tickets are club level suite tickets valued at $200 per ticket. Here in Cabrini Connections we have opened the online bidding last week and look forward to a bidding competition for two tickets to what should be a GREAT game. More information along with the bidding sheet can be found on the Cabrini Connections' website located here.

We will update the homepage of the website daily to communicate who was the highest bidder for the day and the amount their bid amount. Currently there has not been anyone who had made a bid, but there has been several supporters of the program who have inquired about the tickets and stated that they plan on making a bid in the near future.

This is a great opportunity to not only WITNESS King James and the Cleveland Cavs take on the Chicago Bulls,, but this is an easy way to directly and indirectly support the Cabrini Connections' program that mean so much to so many. We currently have around 75 students and around 90 volunteers enrolled in the program and over 500 student alumni and over 800 volunteer alumni, and this single program is what ties all of these people together.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Cabrini Connections Art Festival, April 16 - Bring a Friend!

The Annual Cabrini Connections' Art and Film Festival is Friday, April 16!!! Last year's event was a blast and I am confident that those who were able to come out last year would say the same thing. This year we are looking have a great time as well.

The 2010 Art and Film Festival will be located at the Palette and Chisel Art Academy (1012 N. Dearborn) on Friday, April 16th from 6:00-10:00pm. As always there will be a silent auction and raffle, along with beverages and light appetizers. The gallery will be open from April 15th-April 27th to display all of the great art work that the Cabrini Connections' students and guests have been working on throughout the year.

Read more about the Art Festival and see work created by our teens, on the Art Club blog. The art club meets every Monday evening in the Cabrini Connections' center, where the students learn a variety of artistic skills and techniques from club coordinator Jacqueline Shay and volunteers from Chicago Cares.

The Art and Video festival is a showcase for the work done by youth and volunteers. It is also a fund raiser to help pay the costs of space and insurance so these enrichment and learning activities can take place. Visit this page to make a donation, or this page. You can also print this form and mail a donation.

Learn more about Arts, Video and enrichment programs at http://www.cabriniconnections.net/learning-and-enrichment

Plan on coming out to a GREAT event, and as always bring a friend.