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.

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