Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The May 2010 Tutor/Mentor Conference is Shaping up Nicely!

Hello Everyone!
The May 2010 Tutor/Mentor Conference is shaping up nicely. We already have a number of workshops and keynotes booked:
- James Garborino, a professor of psychology at Loyola-University Chicago will be giving the morning keynote on Thursday morning, May 27th. He wrote the book, "Lost Boys," and will talk about young men and violence.
- Tracy Swartz of the Chicago Tribune RedEye and Phillip Thompson of the Mash, will be talking on how the media treats violence and how it relates to tutoring and mentoring.
- Scott McFarland of the Serve Illinois Commission will be giving a workshop about partnerships between tutoring and mentoring program and Serve Illinois, the state of Illinois's Commission on Volunteerism.
- Katie Cusack and Sandy Reyes of Gads Hill Center will be doing a workshop about "Thinking outside the Box: Creative Ways to Foster Youth Development.
- Jordan Hestermann of Becoming "We the People," will be giving two workshops: One on leadership in tutoring and mentoring organizations, and the other on how tutoring and mentoring organizations are fighting poverty.
- Cynthia Townsend of Temple to the Classroom, will be giving a workshop on "Achieving more Effective Tutoring and Mentoring."
- A panel discussion on how tutoring and mentoring organizations can better get media attention is in the works.
- Leap Learning Systems is also putting together a workshop or two on brain development and learning disabilities
- As always, there will be a volunteer recruitment and retention strategies and a student recruitment and retention strategies panel.
If you would like to do a workshop or be a panelist, you can leave a reply to this post, and/or fill out a workshop proposal online at: http://www.tutormentorconference.org/forms/presenter_form.asp
Thanks so much everybody!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Women of Color and Finances

While perusing the news this week, I came across a story that made me go "Huh?" Apparently, the average single African-American woman in the United States is worth $5. The findings were from a study by the Insight Center for Community and Economic Development, titled “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth, and America’s Future.” When I started thinking about it and between credit card debt, student loan payments, mortgage payments, car payments, etc., plus having the lowest average income of any other ethnic/gender group other than Native American/Hawaiian women, it starts making more sense.

However, this should not be a given. Those of us who work in tutoring and mentoring organizations work tirelessly to help empower low-income minority youth so that they have the tools to break out of poverty and find a career that they enjoy and that pays well. If many of the young women who we work with end up being worth $5, that's a problem for all of us and needs to be remedied.

I encourage you to read this 5-part series on Women of Color and Finances by Latoya Peterson on the blog Racialicious. Please read the comments as well, because many of the comments, not just from women and not just from people of color, talk very frankly and intelligently about why they find themselves with financial problems.

Many of the reasons that the study gives, and that Ms. Peterson and the commentors also talk about are the same problems that we are trying to combat working in tutoring and mentoring programs. Some talk about growing up in poverty, where their family lives from paycheck-to-paycheck. The idea of saving money is foreign and when money does come in, it is spent. Some individuals, if they do find themselves to be successful and making money, find themselves burdened with taking care of their parents, other family members, and friends who are less fortunate financially. There is also less of an emphasis on financial education (although I think so many of us need better financial education) and so oftentimes these individuals find themselves in credit card and/or student loan debt. Finally, when it comes to finding a job, these individuals oftentimes find themselves without a network and networking skills that can help them get a high-paying job after college.

I believe that tutoring and mentoring programs have a duty to help all young people set themselves up well financially. I know many programs emphasize job-shadowing and network building, but I also believe we have a duty in helping educate our students financially as well. It's one thing to help our students go to college and find great jobs. It's another to help them actually spend money wisely so that they will be able to save it and invest it in their future.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Exciting happenings at Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection

Cabrini Madness is truly in full-swing now! If you haven't been watching the videos that our PIP fellow, Bradley Troast has been making, please check them out here! Yesterday we had Tim Doyle, former Northwestern University basketball star and current Big 10 Network analyst be our bracketologist for Cabrini Madness.

Also, Cabrini Madness is featured in this week's Skyline newspaper in a wonderful article by Felicia Dechter. Check it out!

Finally, my team, Passion's Team, is hosting a bar night tonight, Friday March 12th, from 7-10pm at the Galway Arms, 2442 N. Clark St., just north of Clark and Fullerton. $40 for all you can drink beer, wine, and call drinks (and appetizers). If you can't come, but still want to contribute, you can always donate at our GiveForward Page. Or you can write a check payable "Cabrini Connections" and note that you want it to go to Passion's Team and send it 800 W. Huron, First Floor, Chicago, IL 60642.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vote for the Tutor/Mentor Connection to receive a Pepsi Refresh Grant!

Exciting news! The Tutor/Mentor Connection has been chosen to compete for a $250,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. This grant will support the 12-month cycle of the Tutor/Mentor Connection. We are currently in 228th place for votes and need to be in the top-2 by the end of March. Please tell everyone you know to vote for the Tutor/Mentor Connection by March 31st.

Please support the Tutor/Mentor Connection and all it does to support tutoring and mentoring programs throughout Chicago and vote here.