Thursday, August 14, 2008

One Week Until Volunteer Recruitment Coffeehouse!

The countdown continues! Today, I would like to highlight the other programs that are participating in the Volunteer Recruitment Coffeehouse. Why are we having other programs participate? Why not just have a Volunteer Recruitment Coffeehouse for just Cabrini Connections?

The answer lies in what is the core goal of the other half of our program: Tutor/Mentor Connection. As we state on the homepage of our Tutor/Mentor Connection website: "The Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) is dedicated to improving the availability and quality of comprehensive, long-term, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in high-poverty areas of the Chicago region and other large US cities through an ongoing, dynamic exchange of ideas." My role as Tutor/Mentor Connection Research and Networking Coordinator is especially connected to the idea of collaboration and creating connections between programs. Cabrini Connections can only serve a small piece of the large population of at-risk urban youth. That's why we want to link up with and help out other programs in our neighborhood and neighborhoods all across the city of Chicago, Chicagoland, the state of Illinois and the nation.

There are two programs serving the Cabrini Green area: Cabrini Green Tutoring and Chicago Lights at Fourth Presbyterian Church. The program leaders, Erin Mc Partlin at Cabrini Green Tutoring and Alex Cornwell at Chicago Lights have been invaluable partners to our organization. They helped shape what the Volunteer Recruitment Coffeehouse Night is going to be - so it will be worthwhile for them and their tutors to participate in it. They have also been immensely helpful in participating in a Volunteer Recruitment Discussion Panel at our November 2007 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference and generally acting as sounding boards for my ideas during my first year here at Cabrini Connections.

Another program that will be featured is Working in the Schools, which has sites at multiple elementary schools around the country. On Tueseday, I got to visit Working in the Schools main office and find out what they do to recruit volunteers. They've done an especially good job of attracting both the retiree community and the corporate community - both huge draws as participants in tutoring and mentoring programs for various reason. Jenne Myers, their executive director and Lindsey Giacherio, their Americorps intern, soon-to-be full-time employee, have been incredibly helpful in their willingness to participate in the coffeehouse and in our May 2008 Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference as well.

Finally, a fourth program will be joining us - East Village Youth Program, which primarily serves the Latino population in the city, on the north-west side. Both Sarah Bird, the Volunteer Coordinator, and Katherine Moone, the Program Director, have been great resources for tutoring and mentoring in the Latino Community.

Hopefully, people will be compelled to volunteer for all of these program in addition to Cabrini Connection. Some of them might have more convenient locations, or days of the week when tutoring and mentoring are offered. Some people might want to use their Spanish-lanuage skills or work with elementary schoolers. All of these programs offer wonderful services in regards to tutoring and mentoring and we're so excited that they are participating in our Volunteer Recruitment Coffeehouse Night as well.

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