Monday, April 18, 2011

"Improbable" rise from poverty

In today's Chicago SunTimes was a feature story about Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts, and is rise from birth in a high poverty neighborhood. He was compared to President Obama and his own rise from poverty.

In this article Patrick talks about how a teacher saw his promise and told him about a program ---called A better Chance -- that would show him another world.

This is what we're trying to do at Cabrini Connections. It's hard to measure the immediate impact because we're trying to help kids grow up.

I first learned about A Better Chance in the 1990s when I was contacted by A Better Chance Edina, from Edina Minnesota. I looked at their web site today and the page where they show the cost of their program. They say "The average cost to run the program with twelve students is $175,000.00 per year." That's over $10,000 per student.

We don't have nearly the same level of funding, and we don't send our teens to a private school, yet we have the same goals and our volunteers are trying to have the same impact on our teens. If we can show another world, maybe students will expand their aspirations and we can help them get there.

We're finishing this school year and struggling to find needed money. Due to this long-term struggle the Board of Directors has decided to narrow its focus to the Cabrini Connections program and no longer focus on the Tutor/Mentor Connection which we have led since 1993.

As we work through this change we will need volunteers and donors to step forward with even greater energy, talent and responsibility than in the past to help assure the ability of Cabrini Connections to help our kids become future leaders in their own adult lives.

More details on this new structure will be coming in the next week or two.

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