Monday, January 24, 2011

Cabrini Connections' Monthly Mixers!!!

All throughout the year the Cabrini Connections' staff is always looking for ways to better the quality of the program and to continue doing the things that are going well. One of the items we wanted to address is the community factor in the program. Annually we have nearly 100 active volunteers that are in the center on a weekly basis. Around 80 are mentors and the remaining 20 are Volunteer Coordinators, Club Coordinators, and College Zone Coordinators, but the nearly 100(+) volunteers come in different nights and the mentors are usually working with their individual student when they are here for the sessions.

Bradley and I wanted to find opportunities for our volunteers to get to know one another, share ideas and tips about tutoring/mentoring and more, and really just find a way to enhance a one on one tutoring/mentoring program set up with by strengthening the community feel. Over the summer we put the idea in writing and during out summer meetings with volunteers we shared the idea and several volunteers took on the role of a Monthly Mixer Committee member!

Monthly Mixers are simple; each month the Monthly Mixer Committee picks a bar, club, or lounge and encourages all volunteers, staff, board members, and friends of the program to come out and have a good time on the set day and time. Since the intention is really just for people to come out and have a good time, they try to pick places where it is free entry and only incorporates a fundraising component if offered by the venue. As a small non-profit, volunteer based program we are always looking for funding throughout the year, and with the Mixers we wanted to just have fun and not use these events as fundraisers.

The original committee members are 2nd year volunteer Matt Golden, veteran volunteer Melissa Iwami, veteran volunteer Autumn Sharp, and 1st year volunteer Jennifer O'Rourke. Currently Matt Golden and Melissa Iwami are leading the Mixers and gearing up for the January Monthly Mixer. This month we will be heading to Casey Morans on this Friday to have some fun, and thanks to veteran volunteer Shannyn Nellet that works at Casey Morans there will be some great food and drink packages for all guests of Cabrini Connections. If YOU are free this Friday and want to network and get to know more about Cabrini Connections' and the MANY people that make the program a success, make an effort to attend this Mixer and/or others in the future!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cabrini Madness 2011...IS HERE!!!!

Last year Assistant Program Coordinator, Bradley Troast, and Administrative Coordinator, EL Da' Sheon Nix, came up with a FUNdraising Tourney based off of the NCAA March Madness tournament.
Students, volunteers, staff, board members, and friends of the program separated into different teams, put together a simple or very detailed fundraising page on Giveforward (to collect donations) and after those two things were done...THE GAMES BEGAN!!!
The mem
bers of the teams just found creative
ways to advocate for the pro
gram as a way of bringing in donations. There were pizza and snack sales, pool parties, birthday party fundraisers, social events for volunteers, grants were completed, just a lot of fun and creative ways to help their team win the tourney...all while bringing in the funds needed for the program. Here is where you can get tourney information from last year.
Bradley and I made the tourney fun by coming up with all of this fun and creative videos that we used as a play off of college basketball, NBA, SportsCenter etc. Here is the first of 9 videos that we put together.

The 2011 season is just about ready to start and we are excited to see what this season will bring and who will be crowned the 2011 Cabrini Madness Champion!!! This opportunity is open to ANYBODY that is interested in joining in our efforts to raise awareness and funds for the Cabrini Connections' program. Please contact EL Da' Sheon Nix or Bradley Troast for more details.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Alumni News

LaShaun Crosby (with the orange shirt) sent me this message on Facebook.

I already received a Master degree in Education back in 08 and I will be graduating with my second Masters in June of this year. I will be receiving a Masters of Arts in Teaching and Learning. Also this summer I hope to begin drafting a mini book that will be composed of motivational, academic planning and esteem building activities that will be used to guide students in the city..Also it will contain a mini bio of my life growing up in Cabrini and how Ive grown into the person I am today...I hope to get it published one day and distributed to multiple schools throughout the city..Im in here Chicago.

All three of the students in this photo were part of Cabrini Connections in the mid 1990s and all have college degrees. LaShaun and Marquita Hall have graduate degrees.

We hope to help other students achieve this success in the future. If you're one of our alumni, please get in touch and tell us your story.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Right Back At It in 2011

After what was hopefully a very nice Holiday Break for all of staff, students, and volunteers, we kicked off our Winter Quarter of the 2010-2011 tutoring/mentoring year in excellent fashion. With nearly 80 students and nearly 100 volunteers in the program, it looked as though we never had a break. The Wednesday night students and volunteers packed the center and got right down to the productivity they had been putting forth during the first quarter. Many pairs started the night off catching up with each other and talking about the holiday break, but all then got right into the academics and worked diligently throughout the night. Both students and volunteers compiled attendance at nearly 90% on the very first night!!!

The Thursday night set of volunteers and students were not to be out done at all. The productivity throughout the night was great and the attendance for both the students and volunteers exceeded the program's goal of 80%. It was a wide variety of activities taking place within the center. From students and mentors catching up from the holiday break, completion of the day's homework, and playing of games to job and college searching, and the planning of new and exciting student led fundraising projects.

All week the center has been buzzing with activity as if we never took a break at all. We like to use a lot of work analogies here at Cabrini Connections as a way of setting the tone and setting the example today of what it will be like in a career tomorrow. With that being said, we would like to thank all of the volunteers, students, parents, donors, and fans of the program for doing all that they can to ensure that we were back in the workplace in 2011...and for continuing to work just as hard, if not harder, that in 2010. Know that the reasons that hardships that many of our students face on a daily basis in their schools, communities, in their homes ect...doesn't take a day off, therefore programs and the people that make them up to combat those hardships can't take a day off either.

~More To Come in 2011~