Monday, July 26, 2010

What's NEW at Cabrini Connections!!!

As the 2009-2010 tutoring/mentoring year came to an end a little over a month ago, we pretty much were already planning and brainstorming ideas of how to make Cabrini Connections bigger and better for the 2010-2011 tutoring/mentoring year. We are always looking for feedback from our students, volunteers, parents, and other staff on the team so we can continue to provide the best possible services that we can!

As the summer is continuing to wind down and the school year is quickly approaching we have already began making A LOT of changes that we feel will be well received! Here are a few of the many changes that we have made in the program so far:

-The computer lab in the program has been expanded with more laptops AND we have 2 DePaul University volunteers who have been cleaning up the computers and making sure all of the technology in the computer is working properly!

-We have updated our Student and Volunteer History and Tracking System (SVHATS) so our students now only have to complete their EXIT page before leaving the program on any given night.

-We have slightly changed the overall layout of the desk and big table patterns within the program to provide more space between rows and group sitting on tutoring/mentoring nights.

-We have been meeting with all returning volunteers and students (and parents) over the summer as "Annual Review Meetings" to discuss the pros and cons of the past year and to set goals and expectations for the upcoming year. These meetings have been extremely helpful and assist with promoting the new concept we're looking to incorporate in the program and that is getting everybody in the program to get in the mindset of Cabrini Connections being a job where the students are "employees" in their mentors are their "career coaches" or "supervisors."

-We have been recruiting more and more dedicated students and volunteers to join our there are definitely some new faces in the program!

-Along with some new faces joining the leadership ranks in the program. By the first day of the 2010-2011 tutoring/mentoring sessions we will have 4 new Volunteer Coordinators in the program!!!

As you can see we are definitely doing a lot behind the scenes to continue advancing our program and provide the best possible services so that volunteer and students are not only getting the resources they need, but enjoying their experiences in the program also. We have Monthly Mixers coming, Monthly Engagement "Workshops," NEW College Tours ideas and MUCH MUCH MORE in store for the 2010-2011 year and beyond!!! If you would like to be a part of the change and/or know others that want to be a part or support that would only add to the program's success. Prospective volunteers and students and donors can visit our website to see how you can get involved.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Golf Benefit Success and Beyond!

What started off to be a day that was going to be filled with thunderstorms and damper on our 2010 Jimmy Biggs Memorial Cabrini Connections' Golf Benefit turned out to be a GREAT day! In a non-profit program where fundraising is essential to obtaining the resources needed to keep the program running, the golf benefit is our biggest FUNdraiser of the year and we made the most of the HOT and sunny day!

The team of staff, interns, volunteers, and students got the day started by meeting and greeting the golfers as they prepared for a fun-filled day out on the course. Thanks to 2nd year volunteer Shannon Murphy and her personal team of assistants, the golfers registered without a problem, received all of the information they needed for the day, and were greeted with a smile before heading inside to cool off and grab lunch. We decided to do a little something different during the lunch part of the day. We set up a small display of some of our more select silent auction items to entice our lunch goers to place early bids on the items even before the dinner events...and it worked!!!

After lunch it was time to hit the course!!! Around 1pm all of the golfers got on their carts prepared for the shotgun start. While the golfers enjoyed their day swinging the clubs looking to get a hole in 1, beat the members of their foursome, and/or just network and enjoy the benefit...the CC, T/MC Team spent our time accommodating the golfers and sharing more information about the overall organization. Another GREAT addition to this year's golf benefit was the presence and project of veteran Cabrini Connections' student Melissa Young.

Melissa Young will be entering her junior year at Josephenium Academy and inside of the program she is a member of the Video and Filmmaker's Club. Melissa took on the project of interviewing golfers and guest throughout the day just asking them who they are and why they have chosen to support Cabrini Connections through the golf benefit. Not only was the golfer more than willing to be in front of the camera, but Melissa was so inspired by this project and the experience of the golf benefit she is looking to make a career being behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Here is a quote from Melissa that she put on facebook immediately following the golf benefit.

"I have a goal and my goal is 2 become a famous video/music producer. I have all these ways I can get there but I could not do it without Cabrini Connections. I had fun out there at the golf benefit. It was hot but we made it through. I had so much fun meeting board members and watching them golf."

The 2010 Jimmy Biggs Memorial Golf Benefit ended with a dinner and silent auction where all in attendance had the opportunity to eat, socialize, network, bid on some great silent auction items and hear some great stories about the organization and why it is so important to support. My wish is that everybody who attended the golf benefit makes an effort to tell just 3 people in their network what they did yesterday and why. Tell them how they attended a golf benefit and how the proceeds will go to assist students with getting into a college and a career, and how they should think about supporting as well!

Thanks goes out to all of those who made this event possible and there are too many people to name, but just know that we definitely appreciate all of the work and effort that went into the event and for all of those who will continue work towards making the program a success. Special Thanks again to tutor/mentor Shannon Murphy for going above and beyond the tutor/mentor role and helping us with this project. GREATLY APPRECIATED! If you missed the opportunity to support or be a part of the golf benefit, our next major event is our Tutor/Mentor Jam and we accept donations all throughout the year. Thanks for getting involved!

2010 Edgewood College Experience Wraps Up

Tom Holub and the Edgewood visitors successfully completed another great year here with the Cabrini Connections' students and staff. On Wednesday the group remained on-site, but used the entire morning to complete activities, provide prizes, exchange contact information, and say goodbyes!

Here is where you can view the complete Day 3 of the Edgewood College Experience!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2010 Edgewood College Experience

For those who may be unfamiliar with all that takes place in the Cabrini Connections' program, they may not realize that we are so much more than just tutoring and mentoring. The Cabrini Connections' program strives to connect people to resources; students, volunteers, parents, and even donors who are looking for a program like ours to donate...we explain to them why our program is a great selection. But for us to be able to connect people to resources we need to understand the needs of students and volunteers and also the needs of the program; but we also have to be able to collaborate with others and access those needed resources.

Dr. Tom Holub a professor at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin has been one of the many sources of resources to the Cabrini Connections' program for over a decade. Each summer Dr. Holub and a number of his graduate students visit the program for 3 days for what we call "The Edgewood College Experience!"

The newest Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection's staff member, Karina Walker, takes part in her 1st Edgewood College Experience and recaps Day 1 and Day 2! Wednesday will be the 3rd and final day for 2010 and the group will celebrate a great week of the opportunity.

Hopefully this opportunity will be the start of a lifelong relationship between the students of Cabrini Connections and the group from Edgewood. We hope that not only does the Edgewood students aim to remain connected to the students, but we also hope they will continue to try to assist the overall program by connecting us to resources they may know of. This could come in the form of new volunteers in the program, funding that our program could use, or as simple as more and more people reading and becoming a fan of the work that we do so they can possibly connect us to future resources. With our biggest FUNdraisor of the year taking place on Thursday of this week, annual golf benefit, the Edgewood College visitors could possibly participate as golfers, attend the dinner, or take advantage of the online bidding opportunity! Again, connecting people to resources is what we aim to do and we definitely want to thank Tom Holub and the 2010 Edgewood College visitors for being one of those resources for our students of the Cabrini Connections' program!