Tutor/Mentor Connection

Connect knowledge, volunteers, youth and make a difference.

As a requirement for Loyolas internship program every two-weeks I will be writing a report on how my internship at Cabrini Connections is going. Though I have been working at Cabrini for a little over a month now this report is from the first several weeks of starting my internship. Hope you enjoy. If you have any questions on how to get an internship or where internship opportunities are open please feel free to leave a comment underneath and i'll be sure to reply asap.

Two-weeks ago I started my internship at Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connections. Cabrini Connections is a non-profit organization designed to enrich and further develop the lives of students who live in low-income neighborhoods such as Cabrini Green. They do this by providing tutor/mentor programs for these students after hours, which not only provides alternate learning opportunities but keeps these students out of trouble. At my internship my job is to promote the organization further through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, volunteer forums, etc. Through this I will help expand others’ knowledge of Cabrini Connections as well as increase my own knowledge of certain social media outlets.

These two-weeks I have been mostly learning about Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connections as a whole. Dan Bassil, founder and CEO of Cabrini Connections believes that it would be to my benefit to immerse myself within all that is Cabrini Connections so that I can fully portray it through my PR tactics. Other than finding out everything that there is to know about my internship I have no other responsibilities as of right now. As more days pass though I am sure that I will gain other responsibilies.

The task that Dan has given me will greatly benefit me in that it will help me reach my overall learning goals for the internship. To be able to answer my learning-question and accomplish my learning goals I need to be able to fully understand Cabrini Connections as a whole and acknowledge how it operates. Without doing this, I would be putting myself at a great disadvantage and would not be able to represent how much this organization impacts the lives of many. From reading others’ blogs on Cabrini Connections and talking to some of my co-workers I have become very fond of the organization. Also, I am starting to see the struggles that non-profit organizations have with raising money and maintaining funds. I am intrigued to see how over the next several months they overcome these obstacles and what I may be able to do to help out Cabrini Connections further.

These two-weeks have been nothing but a complete information overload. I have read everything that there is to know about the organization and I believe that I am now fully equipped to finish out this internship with flying colors and help them become more acknowledged within the community. I strongly believe in Cabrini Connections and their mission, I have already started encouraging all of my friends, sorority sisters, and family members to help become a part of the solution. These students need someone to be their light in a world that is so dark, Cabrini Connections needs funding so that they can provide this program for them, and through my writing I can help.

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Comment by Daniel Bassill on January 29, 2010 at 1:48pm
Thank you Jordan for posting your report. Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection is a small organization with a huge vision. We want to help kids joining our site based Cabrini Connections program when in 7th grade be starting jobs and careers by the time they are in their mid 20s. That's a 10 to 15 year journey for each youth and because they live in high poverty neighborhoods, there are many, many obstacles to overcome.

At the same time, we want every high poverty neighborhood in Chicago to have comprehensive, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, like Cabrini Connections, serving youth as young as first grade. If creating a successful Cabrini Connections is like the work Thomas Edison did to create the "light bulb", then creating a system of supports that would enable programs like CC to be in all neighborhoods, is similar in scope to what Edison had to do the create an industry that would enable light bulbs to be used all over the world.

Since we're so small, and we have no advertising dollars, we can't reach all of the people we need to reach who might help us do this work through the efforts of our paid staff alone. Instead, we are recruiting interns and volunteers who will help people in their own networks understand and respond to the information we are sharing.

The graphic below shows the "flywheel" affect. You become good over a period of years. You build public awareness as a result of actions repeated over time. I've learned what I know from being a leader of a tutor/mentor program for 35 years, and from constantly learning new ideas from other people I meet.

Every day I start with a goal of sharing information on our web site with more people. That means I need to find ways to use social media to put the ideas and links to our blogs, in more places. It also means that I need to recruit and mentor volunteers and interns, so that they are looking for places where they can share this message, so more people are looking at it.

We track web traffic to our blogs and this Ning site. Each month we hope we attract more visitors as a result of the way you and I and others will be communicating our stories. At the end of a year, more people should be growing their own understanding of this information, and more people should be acting as volunteers, donors, leaders, network-builders, to help Cabrini Connections, or other tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and other cities, get the resources each needs to keep that long-term commitment to the kids in their programs.

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