Cabrini Connections is a site based tutor/mentor program where volunteers connect with 7th to 12th grade teens living in the Cabrini-Green area of Chicago. Once a teen joins us in 7th and 8th grade, we promise we'll do everything we can to help that youth be starting a job, or career, by age 25. That's an open ended promise that is only limited by how many volunteers and donors we can recruit to help us make this vision true for every youth who joins us.
The Tutor/Mentor Connection was born out of our understanding of how difficult it is for a small, community based program to keep such a promise. Cabrini Connections was started in 1993, by volunteers who had already been involved in a site based tutor/mentor program serving 2nd to 6th grade kids. As leader of that group, I had led the tutor/mentor program at the Montgomery Ward headquarters in Chicago since 1975. I began my mentoring in 1973. I had a 17 year advertising career and served 3 years in the Army prior to that.
Thus, by 1992 when we started Cabrini Connections, I already had more than 17 years of experience in connecting youth and adults. I knew how difficult and how rewarding this work was. I also knew that no one in Chicago maintained a master database of tutor/mentor programs and no one supported all of the programs in the city the way corporations like Montgomery Wards were supporting multiple locations around the country. At Wards, my job was to prepare advertising that would tell customers near our 400 stores in 40 states that we had merchandise they might want at stores near where they lived.
Understanding this void the founders of Cabrini Connections agreed to split half of their time and resources to fill this with a leadership strategy that would draw volunteers, donors and other needed resources to all tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, and that would help neighborhoods without programs find information to create new programs to fill these voids.
That strategy is the Tutor/Mentor Connection.
I write about this on my http://tutormentor.blogspot.com blog and implement this in the T/MC web site. I hope that in this community space we can attract others who will take a role in supporting us, and in suporting the growth of T/MC type structures in big cities throughout the world.
Since I write a blog I won't be updating this blog often. I will participate in discussions that form on this site, as well as in many other forums where people who care about kids, or workforce development, or diversity or poverty reduction, are gathering to share ideas and work together to solve these problems.
Please introduce yourself and let's try to get a group to use this space to make a difference in the world.