I thought it would just be another normal week when I and Jenny came to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection on Monday as usual. It was not until we saw a group of people, dressed in blue T-shirt, sitting in a circle playing name games that I realized I finally got a chance to experience a program with all the passionate participants and our CC students.
It is an annual summer program co-held by Cabrini Connections and Edgewood College. This year, Dr Tom Holub together with his graduate students in education visited here for three days in order to help our students have a idea how to build connections and find their own personal values. It's also a opportunity for Edgewood College students to practice what they've learnt.
During the 3-day program, Edgewood students gave several presentations filled by various games and activities to encourage Cabrini students to express themselves and achieve their own success. What impressed me the most was on the first day, when students were asked to fall into 2 groups and illustrate their thoughts by either literature or art. Within just 5 minutes, our students showed their unique talents. Kids shared their well-written poems and creative pictures, which aroused great applause. It also make me believe that, for most of the time, the reason why people from underprivileged families cannot achieve as great life as others is not because of their personal abilities. Maybe, they are just lack of a good chance to shine. What our program do is to co-operate with other people and organizations in the society and create chances for those youth, or in other word "buried pearls".
For day one and two, after the secession indoors, we took bus to downtown Chicago to have the city explore. First day, we formed several groups to have scavenger hunt. The interesting thing was, since Edgewood students are not familiar with the city, in this case, all the Cabrini kids became the real leader and guide. After the scavenger hunt, the students not only knew their group members better, but their confidence increased in the process as well. The second day, we went to Contemporary Art Museum where our students were exposed to art. After that, all of us headed to the Navy Pier and took Ferris Wheel together to enjoy the beautiful city view of Chicago.
Before we ended our whole day's activities, students gathered again in Cabrini Connections to share their gains. I was so glad to see that both parties of students really got our concept of connection building. Charles, a Cabrini Connections student who wants to become a journalist was offered help to contact journalists and media people by a Edgewood student. As a member of Cabrini Connections, I was as excited as Charles, not only because he got benefit from our program, but also because this proves that what we persist about is worthwhile.
For a small organization like us, helping poor youth in our neighborhood to grow is truly a grand vision. Some people may doubt whether it can really fulfill. But just as this week's theme song "Imagine" illustrates, if you believe all these things and do your best to follow what you believe, then we can turn the "imagination" into reality. This is the conviction which supports Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection.