Friday, May 8, 2009

Community Building Tutors and Making the Career Change from the For-Profit Sector to the Non-Profit

This past Tuesday, I ventured out to Fosco Park, near the University of Illiniois at Chicago campus, in the Near-West Side neighborhood, to visit the new Community Building Tutors program there. Community Building Tutors is a non-profit founded and run by young professionals that trains high schoolers to be tutors to the elementary schoolers in their community. The hope is that these high schoolers, in taking an interest in helping those younger than themselves, will begin to see themselves as leaders in their communities and to take pride in where they come from.

There are three sites currently offering tutoring through Community Building Tutors: Fosco Park, Chase Park up in Ravenswood, and Willye White Park up in Rogers Park. Holstein Park in Bucktown, has also been a site in the past, and will be a site for the 2009-2010 school year as well. Fosco Park is the newest site, having just started three weeks ago. Even though the students in the program are relatively new to a structured tutoring program, they already seemed very enthusiastic, eager to learn, and excited to work with their tutors. As mentioned before, at the other programs, high schoolers tutor the elementary school students. However, the program at Fosco Park is still trying to recruit high school students to be tutors. For now, the program has had to rely on friends of Bart Phillips, the founder and President of the Board of Community Building Tutors and UIC students.

Which brings me to the next topic - talking about one of the workshops that we are going to offer at the May Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference. Bart Phillips, and other Community Building Tutors board members spoke at the last May conference (shown in the photos) about their program. This year, on Thursday May 28th, from 1:45-3:00pm, Bart Phillips is going to talk about the topic of transitioning from working in the for-profit world, in the field of medical research, to running his own tutoring program. This is a very timely topic, with the tough economic climate, as many professionals have had to re-evaluate their career choices. Hopefully, Bart's story and wisdom will be of help and inspiration to everyone who comes to the conference.

Thanks to Bart, his dedicated tutors, his enthusiastic students for making me feel welcome at Fosco Park and letting me win in a very heated game of Uno at the end!

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