Let's Get Started

I'd never imagined such experience: flying 13 hours oversea and spending most of my summer time intern in a totally new country for a non-profit organization. But now I'm here, in Chicago, the windy city, working with a group of enthusiastic members in Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection.

Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection is a non-profit organization in Chicago. Found in 1993, it aims to help kids from under privileged families to grow. If a student come to CC T/MC, he or she can not only get tutorials about their school study, but receive instructions about lives by volunteer mentors as well. It is a organization to build up connections through its volunteers' networks for the disadvantaged children and youth, in order to provide them as much chances as other young people.

When I first knew I have the working opportunity three months ago, I was both exited and nervous. China born and China bred, it is a precious chance for me to work on the other side of the world which I could only learn from books and media in the old days. On the other hand, I was also confusing how can I, as a foreigner, contribute to the organization. Majoring in International Journalism, I'm assigned to write stories about Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection on the internet to attract more people to pay attention to this program and even participate in. However, I was a little bit afraid that I could not do the writing as good as a native. Fortunately, our talk to Mr. Dan Bassill, the CEO of this volunteer-based tutor/mentor program, gave me confidence and directions where I can try to work on in the next two months.

Thanks to the worldwide internet, everyone and another has the opportunity to make their voice heard. Other than traditional media like TV, radio, newspaper and magazines, even normal people like you and me can do communication works via internet. And the most wonderful thing is, because of the internet, people with the same interest or concern can easily find each other, build their campaign, and fight for their shared goals together.

I think this is what I can do as a individual for CC T/MC. Everyday, there are tens of millions pieces of information being posted on the internet. It is so easy to have our message drawn in the information ocean. Nevertheless, the more we provide, the more chances they could be seen by others. Maybe at first, it is just my friends reading my words, but if it's interesting enough and they would share it to their friends. We should never look down on individuals' connection network. Some social study shows that the maximum number between 2 random people in the world is only SEVEN! Think about it, and that also is why Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection focus so much on connections. Connections are truly powerful!

Now, I've began my second day's work. I really have learnt something from CC T/MC, and I hope I can help others to learn it with the power of my words and individual connections.

See graphic showing Willow's network and skills
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  • As you map your network, you'll begin to find ways to target articles like this to the different people in the network, showing reasons why they should read the article and get involved. As more people take ownership, and pass your articles on to people in their own network, we'll reach this world of people. The graphic below illustrates the power of one person to share a message that is recirculated around the world.

    This presentation, done by one of our interns from Korea, shows how the message purpose changes at different times each year.
  • You're majoring in International Journalism? Cool! You're off to a good start.

    "Thanks to the worldwide internet, everyone and another has the opportunity to make their voice heard." YES! I think you are really going to like the networking aspect of our program. Hopefully through your work we will be able to connect with more people in Chicago and around the world.
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