Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NU Gives Back...To Cabrini Connections

On Saturday May 21st the Cabrini Connections' program hosted a group of 14 Northwestern University students as part of the NU Gives Back: Service Day. Hundreds of Northwestern University students spent their day in various non-profit organizations, schools, and communities throughout the Chicagoland area as way of "giving back" with a day of service.

We had a GREAT group of fellow Wildcats that selected Cabrini Connections as their service site. We started the day with introductions which was great because as staff we wanted to get to know the students better, but it was also a good idea because not all of the students knew each other before the introductions. The Cabrini Connections' staff then provided the group with more information about the history of the organization and information on the present Cabrini Connections and the Cabrini Green community so that the students could have a stronger connection to the program as they completed their responsibilities for the day.

And before it was time to get to work, we provided a preview of a "Challenge" that we were going to close the day with. We asked all of the students to write down the names of five people that they consider to be their mentors and to keep those names in mind as they complete their service projects for the day. And then they were off to work!!!

The 14 students broke up into teams and completed a variety of tasks for the day. Some cleaned and organized the storage room, some students completed a mural on the wall of the front office, while others cleaned and provided maintenance work on the desks and chairs, organized the library, cleaned the desktops on all of the computers in the computer lab, and a variety of other projects that needed attention in the center. We had the music going, there was a lot of laughter, a lot of teamwork, and more and more relationship building as we all got to know each other throughout the day.

The day started around 11am and ended around 2pm, but at 1:30pm we got back together as a group to present this "Challenge." At the start of the day we discussed the pieces to the puzzle that make programs like Cabrini Connections' work. The NU students said you need students, volunteers, a safe environment, staff, and donors. We then expanded that last piece to the puzzle that was mentioned, the donors that provide financial support. As we got back together as a group a couple of students talked about their experience that day and shared that with the group. We then asked all of the student to take out their notecard with those five names on there and posed this "Challenge:" the students have to contact their five mentors and thank them for all that they have and continue to do in their lives, share their day of service experience with them, and encourage their five mentors to support their day of service efforts by making a donation to Cabrini Connections. The student that brings in the most donations by our Annual Year End Dinner will be awarded a special invite to our Annual Golf Benefit.

I know I am biased but I feel that Cabrini Connections' is a GREAT program, but we are only GREAT because of all of those that come together to make this work. The students, volunteers, parents, staff, Board Members, community partners, and the donors! When you have all of these pieces working together, supporting each other, and working towards a common goal, success HAS to be the result. So I encourage you to become one of those pieces to the puzzle and help Cabrini Connections continue to be GREAT!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kanah Bradley Makes Her Selection!!!

As we get closer and closer to the end of the school year, we also get closer to saying good bye to our 2011 graduating class. Just recently one of our seniors made her decision on where she will be heading to continue her education. Von Stueben High School senior, Kanah Bradley, who has been in the Cabrini Connections' program since March of 2009 has made the decision to attend Southern Illinois University this fall! Kanah was researching several colleges and universities, and has decided that Southern Illinois University would be the perfect fit for her to pursue her dreams of a career in medicine.

Kanah and her mentor Autumn Sharp have been working together for nearly two years here in the program, and they also spend time outside of the program as well. Autumn said this about her student's recent decision to attend SIU, "I am excited to see Kanah graduate and move on to SIU. I think she will do extremely well and we'll see her accomplishing her goal of being a doctor."

We are not only proud of Kanah and excited about this next step in her life, we are thankful of both Kanah and Autumn sharing their time, experiences, and commitment to the Cabrini Connections' program. We are looking to create more and more life changing stories and experiences like this one, and we are going to need more and more support from others to help us create these stories. If we can get consistent financial support and resources, we will then be able to keep the center open, filled with a strong leadership of staff and coordinators, that will lead dedicated and committed students and volunteers grow in the program...and THAT will lead to more and more SUCCESS stories like that of Kanah Bradley!

Monday, May 02, 2011

YOUR 2011 Cabrini Connections' Year End Dinner

Cabrini Connections' 2011 Year-End Dinner will be held on Thursday, June 16th, 6-8pm, at Cornerstone Academy, 1111 N. Wells St. (same as in past years). We are looking to make this the BEST Year End Dinner ever, and your support by attending and/or donating to the event will help us reach this goal! This event is often hailed as the best of the year, which makes it a great time to support the program with a donation.

Individuals or businesses are encouraged to donate at one of the following levels:

Homework Helper - $50
Extra Credit - $100
Student & Volunteer Achievement - $200
Honor Roll - $500
Senior Sponsor - $1,000
Future CEO/Leader - $2,500

Checks made out to Cabrini Connections can be mailed to 800 W Huron, Chicago, IL 60642.

You may also donate online via PayPal.

We are hoping that YOU will make an effort to attend this event and assist us with not only wrapping up this year on a positive note and successfully sending our seniors off to the next phase of their life, but we want you to assist us with keeping the momentum going for the upcoming year! Please complete the RSVP form if you plan on attending this year's event! RSVP for the dinner now! http://tinyurl.com/2011yed