Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Future Leaders - In Development

Below are two videos posted to the Internet this week. The first shows how students are building leadership and fund raising skills by their participation in the Cabrini Madness and other events that help us keep Cabrini Connections available to them and future students. As with other Cabrini Madness videos our students are the actors which helps them develop confidence in themselves. It also shows them how to use video to communicate ideas and motivate people to respond.

Encouragement Promo from Cabrini Connections on Vimeo.

The second is a new video created by Dan Bassill, that shows how Cabrini Connections is a "collective effort" of many people, over many years, to help inner city youth go through school and on into adult lives. In this video Dan shows how the the leaders and past volunteers in Cabrini Connections created the Tutor/Mentor Connection, which is a larger scale collective effort intended to draw needed operating resources to all tutor/mentor programs in the city on a more consistent basis, thus helping Cabrini Connections get more of the resources it needs, too.

This second video is also the result of a collective effort. We first learned about CamStudio from a volunteer based in the UK who used it to create these videos to show her network how one of the T/MC web sites works. She learned about us when George Siemmens, who is in Canada, wrote this blog article about the T/MC on his web site.

In both of these videos we're focusing on raising visibility, connecting leaders from different tutor/mentor programs with each other, and finding donors and philanthropic investors who will provide the capital needed to support the on-going efforts of our students and volunteers. We're also demonstrating how easy it is for any of our students, volunteers, leaders and friends to create videos that help others understand what we're doing so that they are more motivated to use their own time, talent and dollars to help us.

If our teens (and volunteers) practice this form of learning, leadership and communications over many years they will have tools, skills and habits that enable them to mobilize help from many sectors to help them solve any problem they ever face in the future.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Talent Show - This Saturday, March 26

Cabrini's Got Talent" will be held this Saturday, March 26th, at 5pm at Cabrini Connections.

Tickets are only $2. Pay at the door. Cash, check, or credit card. Performers get in free.

Food will be provided potluck-style by parents. Please bring a dish for the crowd! It will be much appreciated :

Food will be served at 5pm. *Performances begin at 5:30pm* and should last about an hour.

We have 10 students and volunteers scheduled to perform, but there is still time to join them.* "Last chance" performance reviews are this week* at Cabrini Connections: Wednesday 4-6pm and Thursday 5-6pm.

*URGENT NEED:* We could really benefit from the use of a stage and a microphone and amplifier. Please call the office at 312-492-9614 if you have any leads. Thank you!

*SPECIAL NOTE:* Support one another! This is a great, cheap, convenient, student-led event - a perfect opportunity to showcase the program to your family and friends. These talented students and volunteers deserve a full house! See you there!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Monday 3/14 - Happy Hour - Please join The Free Agents http://www.giveforward.com/thefreeagents for happy hour on Monday, March 14 from 6:30-8:30 at Redmond's Ale House [http://www.redmondsalehouse.com] (3358 N Sheffield Ave.) and enjoy FREE domestic drafts for the duration. If you are so moved to make a donation in support of Cabrini Connections in return, that'd be awesome! No minimum donation required. For more info or to RSVP, visit the Facebook event page

Tuesday 3/15 - Wing Eating Contest - On Tuesday, March 15th, The Green Team http://www.giveforward.com/thegreenteam is hosting a wing-eating contest at Cabrini Connections. Come as an individual or group and pay $10 for 10 wings per person. Teams compete in groups of 2 or 4 and the fastest two teams will face off in a bonus round for a chance to win the inaugural "Wing Bling" trophy! For more info or to RSVP, visit the Facebook event page

Thursday 3/17 - Chili Sale - Running for Cabrini [http://www.giveforward.com/runningforcabrini] will be
selling chili for only $1/bowl during the session from 6-7:45pm.

Friday 3/18 - Midnight Bowling for Cabrini Connections Event - Boom Goes The Dynamite http://www.boomgoesthedynamite.org/ is hosting a bowling charity event at Timber Lanes [http://www.timberlanesbowl.com/] (1851 W Irving Park Rd.) on March 18, 2011 from 10pm-2am. A $30 suggested starting
donation gets you unlimited bowling, shoes and loads of fun for 4 hours. Cash bar. For more info or to RSVP, visit the Evite page http://new.evite.com/services/links/3JLBICZIKG

Team High5ive [http://www.giveforward.com/high5ive] is selling candy and snacks and The Golden Stars [http://www.giveforward.com/goldenstars] are selling candy bars

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Good to Great and Cabrini Connections

The Mission of Cabrini Connection is to "Engage workplace adults in structured activities that make a life-changing difference for youth living in economically and educationally disadvantaged neighborhoods." At last June's dinner Tangela Smith Marlow told of how Cabrini Connections has had a transformative impact on her life. This video captured these words.

During the next weeks and months members of the Cabrini Connections community are urged to take part in deep thinking and strategic planning that determines the future of this organization beyond the current school year.

We have provided an organized structure for more than 18 years, thanks to a core group of leaders and a wide range of donors and volunteers. It has never been easy and there has been constant change in the leaders involved. Yet with the help of volunteers who step forward to take over for those who proceeded them, we have continued to provide this space for others to try to have an impact.

If you look at the Program Locator map and search for tutor/mentor programs serving high school kids, you see only 82 listings of places that we know of doing some version of what we try to do here. Many neighborhoods have no programs. Many programs are smaller that we are. Thus, just making Cabrini Connections available and keeping it here for 18 years is a measure of success.

We have many resources on the Cabrini Planning Wiki that you can put everyone on the same page as to the history of Cabrini Connections, it's mission and purpose.

One wiki is titled Good to Great. In this we talk about key values, products and services that we offer.

It's time for new eyes and new leaders to be looking at this information, update it for the future, and take the ownership role that assures the organizations has the resources to achieve this mission.

During future tutor/mentor sessions we'll begin to introduce this planning process to current volunteers and students. If you'd like to take an active role in this process please contact El Da'Sheon Nix or Dan Bassill at 312-492-9614

Monday, March 07, 2011

So Much More Than Tutoring and Mentoring...

Cabrini Connections is a tutoring and mentoring, volunteer-based program, but we are so much more!!! Besides tutoring and mentoring services, we provide not only site based resources for our participants, we also provide off-site opportunities that we feel can and will assist the students with their current and future academic and career goals. One of the many resources that we provide are college and university trips, and today we visited DePaul University!

Over the years we have visited many of the colleges and universities in the Chicagoland area, but what made this trip a little more unique than the rest was the fact that this entire opportunity was set up by a parent of one our current students. Rhonda Parrow, mother of 2nd year student Aaliyah Griffin, is a graduate student at DePaul University and she is involved with a program at DePaul that sets up tours similar to the one we went on today. There were a total of 5 students and 2 staff that took part in this opportunity, and although it was a smaller group, those that attended had a very positive experience.

The visit started with lunch at the Welcome Center and we also were provided an hour long admission's presentation given by a current DePaul University student. This presentation provided the group with any and all of the information about the school, financial aid, classes, social life, and more! Following the information session we then were greeted with our tour guide and he walked us around the campus providing us with more information about the life of a DePaul University student. One of the biggest attractions for the group was the student center on campus which serves as one of the main meeting places for DePaul students to eat, play games, socialize, AND....do homework.

Our group spent a little over two hours on the campus and it was a great opportunity for the students and staff to get more information about the university, what it takes to get into the school, life after graduation, and the opportunity to just envision themselves walking on a college campus in the near future! We definitely want to thank Rhonda Parrow and the DePaul University for providing us with this great opportunity, we greatly appreciate the great service that we received today.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Good to Great and Cabrini Connections

As we head to the final months of the 2010-11 school year I encourage volunteers, staff, students and supporters to spend time reading sections of the Cabrini Connections planning wiki such as this section titled Good to Great.

Each year is a cycle where we begin to look from one year to the next, with new volunteers growing into leadership roles. As more members of our community become familiar with these planning documents, more become owners and more talent is unleashed to help us succeed in connecting youth and volunteers in life-changing mentoring and tutoring.

The wikis can be edited (they need editing) and new ideas can be added. As our teens look at these they can become more engaged in shaping the direction of Cabrini Connections and of their own futures.

As you have questions or want to discuss the information and ideas please contact Dan or El or set up a time when groups can discuss this information.