Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good News and Bad News

While many wonderful things are happening with the conference, I also have very sad news to report on the Cabrini Connections front. Cierria Thomas, who was just 16 and a fourth year student in the Cabrini Connections program, passed away this weekend in a house fire. While most of my work has been with the Tutor/Mentor Connection these past two years, I did have the pleasure of knowing Cierria. The world has truly lost an incredible young woman and I hope that everyone keeps the Thomas family in their thoughts and prayers.

The loss of a wonderful student like Cierria only makes us more determined to help kids in need. Students like Cierria are the reason why we do the Tutor/Mentor Conference - so that we can all better help these wonderful students.

We have a two more workshops lined up for the conference - One on capacity-building with Tasha Robinson, Coordinator, Capacity Enhancement Program, Youth Network Council. The other is on tutoring tips and training skills with Jennifer Bricker and Devon Lovell of Family Matters.

Another bit of good news is that Baxter Laboratories has become a $500 sponsor for the Conference. We really appreciate their support. If anyone knows of any other companies that would be willing to sponsor, please leave a comment below.

Finally, the Tutor/Mentor Conference now has a GiveForward page. If you would like to help support the Tutor/Mentor Conference yourself, you can donate at the link above.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Great Workshops and Panels for the Conference

Hello Everyone! I'm very pleased to announce some more workshops and keynotes that are scheduled for the May Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference:

-"Non-profits: How to get Mobile" - How texting can help non-profits presented by Brian Banks of Advatext.com

-"Race, Language, and the Achievement Gap in America" presented by Michael Levesque, Executive Director at LEAP Learning Systems

- "How to Help your Student Finance College" - presented by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission

- "How to Effectively Train Tutors by Partnering with other Organizations who serve the same Population" presented by Alex Cornwell of Chicago Lights Tutoring and Day at Fourth Presbyterian Church and Erin McPartlin of Cabrini-Green Tutoring

- "The Edgewood College/Cabrini Connections Partnership" presented by Thomas Holub, Professor of Education at Edgewood College, Madison, WI

- A workshop presented by Darrell Finch of the Milwaukee Housing Authority, Milwaukee, WI

- A keynote about the "Breakthrough Model - No Superstars Needed" by Bill Curry, Chief Operating Officer at Breakthrough Urban Ministries

- "Engaging Athletes as Advocates for Tutoring and Mentoring Programs," with Kurt Kittner, former University of Illinois and NFL quarterback and current Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection Board Member, and El Da'Sheon Nix, former Northwestern University wide receiver, and current administrative coordinator at Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection.

- "The Way to a Successful Tutoring and Mentoring Project" presented by Amos Carmeli, Perach - the national Tutoring and Mentoring Project of Israel.

- "Creating your own Neighborhood Maps" presented by Mike Trakan, GIS and Mapping Coordinator of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection.

- "It takes a Village - Partnering with Others" presented by Sue Sowle, Social Worker at Project SOAR Mentoring at McGaw YMCA in Evanston, IL

- "Mentoring Program Strategies" with Joel Newman of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley in Davenport, IA, Christy Beighe-Byrne of Chicago Youth Centers, and Rose Mabwa of Mercy Housing.

- A keynote by Deanna Wilkinson, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science at Ohio State University

- Trends in Tutoring and Mentoring by Rose Mabwa, Mercy Housing

Hopefully these workshops, panels, and keynotes pique your interest. If you would like to present a workshop or register for the May Tutor/Mentor Conference, please visit the Tutor/Mentor Conference website. And, just as a reminder, the conference will be held Thursday and Friday May 27th and 28th at Loyola University Chicago's Lakeshore Campus. I hope to see all of you there!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Career Week Day 3

This past week, since it's Spring Break for Chicago Public Schools, Cabrini Connections has hosted Career Week for our students. On Monday, Bradley took our students to Water Tower Place and De Paul University (Day 1 Here). On Tuesday, El Da'Sheon took our students to the home office of one of our volunteers, AJ Tyson (Day 2 Here). Yesterday, I had the great honor and privilege of taking one of our students, Christian Palacios, to see an accounting agency and to visit the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Our first stop was to Grant Thornton, an international accounting firm, where one of our volutneer tutor/mentors, Torquil Carlisle, works. Torquil is originally from England and worked at their London office for two years, before being transferred to the United States. While both Christian and I discussed coming in with preconceived notions of how boring accounting is, Torquil and the wonderful staff at Grant Thornton made it quite exciting! Torquil helps international companies make sure that they're paying their taxes and all of their accounts are okay, even when say, a product is manufactured in one country, bought in another, and the company is headquartered in a third. Pretty cool! I think Christian was especially interested in forensic accounting where accountants try and figure out why money is being lost and where it went. We learned that if we were to give just a couple of facts about ourselves, a lot of accountants would have the tools to find out everything about you. Scary but interesting at the same time.

Christian and were both really excited about going to the US Court of Appeals, where Lu Han, another volunteer tutor/mentor, works as a clerk. Christian wants to be a criminal defense attorney and I'm starting law school this fall at the University of Oregon law school. So it was career day for both of us! Lu explained to us the process of how people end up at the Court of Appeals and how it's different from regular trials you would see on tv. Did you know in a court of appeals there is no jury and there are three judges that sit on the trial? I didn't. Christian was really excited to find out that anyone can come and watch a trial at the court of appeals and Lu promised him that she would let him know when there was a really exciting case as well. I think I even might attend a trial and see how our law works in real life! Lu also was really kind in telling Christian about law school and answering my more specific questions about law school.

In any case, I know I had a great time yesterday, and I'm pretty sure Christian did too. My overarching impression was how wonderful it was to talk to two people who really love and enjoy their jobs. Torquil and Lu were so wonderful in sharing with us what they do and their enthusiasm for their careers is infectious. Thanks so much Torquil and Lu and thanks to Christian for coming yesterday. I think we both learned a lot!