Tutor/Mentor Connection

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Setting Goals Early = More Goals Accomplished

As many of you know, I finished volunteering this year at Cabrini Connections as a blogger and have moved on to work for the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago office as an intern in the Goverment Relations department. Not only will this opportunity help me to expand my knowledge of policy analysis on various different issues affecting women and youth, it has also helped me to grow in the area of goal-setting, which is crucial to on-going success.

As a component to my internship, I'm also required by Loyola University as a graduate student to take a Reflection course while completing my internship for the program. The course is consisted of 9 weeks of problem solving, contextual analysis, and case studies in my field. Our first assignment: to set personal, spiritual, and career development goals for our individual internships in composing a learning syllabus for the entire summer semester.

While interning, my job will not only to complete research briefs on Illinois policies regarding resources for women, but to also use the information I have gathered to come up with models for implementing a volunteer advocacy campaign in Chicago low-income neighborhoods. Each step in the process has allowed me to set sub-goals leading up to the completion of the overall project. Every week, I set a new goal for myself which has helped me in tackling hard and often intimidating tasks. Carefully drafting goals I want to accomplish over the summer in my learning syllabus offers me the opportunity to see long-term progress, even while I work within the "now".

A key component to goal-setting is to define clear objectives to answer the question: "How am I going to accomplish this goal?" Lately, I've been using the online strategy program, Spitfire Strategies SMART Chart 3.0, to help me further in the goal-setting process. What is great about SMART Chart 3.0, is that it is closely alligned to the strategy-charting process that I have learned in the Community Organizing course that I took this past Spring semester, so it was great to know that both my professional and school education were congruent with one another.

The SMART chart allows you to assess whether your goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time-bound

Your objectives when planned the SMART way will allow you to describe how you will complete each goal you set for yourself as well as help you in planning future program decisions, context, strategy choices, audience-acceptance, communication activities, and measurements of success. Since I've used the chart, my campaign proposal has been approved and I was able to set up a clear outline for my upcoming policy analysis.

Goal-setting is something we can teach our youth throughout the year in outlining academic guidelines for the year. Tutors and mentors can try working with their students to set up goals and objectives at the beginning of the year and use strategy planning to attain their goals. Non-profit organizations can also utilize the SMART chart for project planning, campaign building, policy proposals, and even grant-writing.

To access the Spitfire Strategies guide to SMART charting, go to the PDF link:

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Comment by Daniel Bassill on July 3, 2010 at 10:39am
Hi E. I hope that as you search for "models for implementing a volunteer advocacy campaign in Chicago low-income neighborhoods" you use the Tutor/Mentor Connection's calendar of events as part of that strategy.

If the YWCA and other organizations add their weight to these events we can build greater attention for all of the places in the city where people connect with young people and families, and where donors provide the operating resources to make this possible.
Comment by Bradley Troast on June 14, 2010 at 2:41pm
Thanks for sharing, E. I like this SMART charting idea.

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