Wednesday, January 15, 2020

NU PIP Intern 2007-08

In 2007 Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection began a four year partnership with the Public Interest Program at Northwestern University, which resulted in one new NU graduate each year serving a full time, one-year paid fellowship.  Nicole White was the first, starting in July 2007. Below are excerpts from her NicoleCabrini blog.

On June 19, 2007 Nicole posted her first article, saying:

In this blog I hope to inform you about what is happening not only at Cabrini Connection but also in the general realm of tutoring and mentoring non-profits throughout the Chicagoland area.

On July 8, 2007 Nicole wrote:   Tomorrow I start my great adventure of my first adult job. Before starting, I've been encouraged to read through several websites and blogs in order to begin to conceptualize what I need to accomplish in the upcoming year. My boss, Dan Bassill has pointed out time and time again, it's one thing to build a house on a Saturday afternoon or volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, but it's another to build a relationship with someone and help them week in and week out.

On July 24, 2007 Nicole wrote about the Business School Connection strategy of the Tutor/mentor Connection

One of the more interesting projects I've been given in these past three weeks is to maintain our Business School Connection, a concept that was launched last year by a fellow through the University of Chicago Graduate School.

The idea is very simple: why not enlist business schools to use their expertise on running businesses and taking that expertise to the realm of non-profits. After all, non-profits are pretty much businesses, just as their name indicates, not-for-profit. 

Back in May, when I attended the Tutor/Mentor Conference at Northwestern Law School, I sat in on a seminar about creating ties between corporations and non-profits such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or Cabrini Connections. Why not take this a step further? Why not instill this idea of contributing to the public interest while business execs are in business school? This is the whole idea of business school connection so that business schools themselves can have connections to non-profits. 
Nicole White visiting
Indo American Center - 2008 

On August 16, 2007 Nicole wrote:  Yesterday I had two very constructive and eye-opening meetings. The first meeting was for every youth-centered non-profit organization that is funded by the city in our region. It was at the Union League Baretto Boys and Girls Club in Humboldt Park. The meeting overall was very interesting to me because I got to meet a lot of people I had been contacting these past couple of weeks.

However, it was also very eye-opening to go into another neighborhood where there is high crime and fairly high poverty. Humboldt Park, like the area around Cabrini-Green is being gentrified (the city is now calling it Bucktown so the negative connotation of Humboldt Park won't stay with the area) and there is a lot of construction going on in the area.

However, the real state of things in the neighborhood really came to light for me when I met a gentleman who worked at another Boys and Girls Club four blocks away (the two Boys and Girls Clubs can actually see each other from their buildings). Of course I was naive enough to ask "Why would you need another Boys and Girls Club four blocks away." His answer was painfully obviously: "Because the kids can't cross gang lines." What makes this even more interesting is that each of the Boys and Girls Clubs in this small area host over 1000 children.

On March 18, 2008 Nicole wrote an article following a shooting of a Crane High School student, on Chicago's West Side. 

On March 7th, a fight at Crane High School, on the West Side, resulted in the shooting and killing of one student and another student being in a coma after a savage beating with a golf club. Police are saying the fight was due to gang rivalries and as of today, more than 200 students who live in the ABLA housing projects where the shooter was from have to be given a police escort to school when it resumes next Monday due to fear of retaliation.

There are many fingers being pointed at different directions, but just for curiosity's sake I looked up in our Tutor/Mentor Connection Program Locator, where Crane High School and the ABLA homes are located, and how many tutoring and mentoring programs for high school students are in that zip code. Not surprisingly, there are only 4 programs in the 60612 zip code that offer tutoring and mentoring programs.

Finally, on another sad note, 20 CPS students so far this year have been killed by some act of violence. It's only March 18th and that is way too many young lives lost too soon. Almost all of them are from neighborhoods where tutoring and mentoring programs are few and far between.

In May 2008 Nicole White transitioned to a new role for the next year as the Tutor/Mentor Connection Coordinator, funded through a grant from the Chicago Bar Association/Foundation Lawyers Lend a Hand to Youth program. 

As she wrote in her March 18th article, One of my roles will be doing outreach to programs in areas such as that around Crane High School and helping to possibly new programs out there.

Nicole White served for two years as the Tutor/Mentor Connection Coordinator, building a deep understanding of the different youth tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and helping to draw them together for networking, learning and capacity building.

On June 8, 2010 she wrote this article, as one of her final  posts.

Nicole White
T/MC Coordinator
It’s been a great year at Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection. 80 kids and 100 plus volunteers have made the Cabrini Connections program an award-winning success. Both the November Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference and the May Conference saw well over 100 people attend.

It would be nice to say that the year is ending with a bang and if financial issues weren’t a part of the picture, we indeed are. Unfortunately, just as we’re ending a stellar year with both programs, we’re seeing funding dry up to pay payroll, rent, insurance, electricity and much more. I will be leaving Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection in two weeks, and the fact that this is the current situation deeply saddens me. Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection has been the best thing to happen to me and I am so deeply grateful to have worked here.

Each of these articles is an example of how Tutor/Mentor Connection / Institute, LLC has encouraged interns to learn and make sense of our strategies, then communicate their understanding, to their readers, via blog articles, videos, and/or visualizations. This is work that students from any part of the world could be doing.

Visit Nicole's blog and read more of the articles ahe wrote between July 2007 and April 2010.

NUPIP Intern - 2008-09

Chris Warren was a NU Public Interest Program fellow from July 2008 to June 2009.

Here's his "Reflection on Week 1" which he wrote on July 15, 2008. Below I show just part of that article:

To help ourselves and other related programs recruit enough quality volunteers, we organize collaborative volunteer recruitment strategy meetings with other organizations. I attended one of these last week with Dan Bassill, our CEO/founder and Nicole, a former NU student who is our current Research and Networking Coordinator.

Throughout the meeting I think Dan made a strong case for the importance of maintaining a significant and regularly updated online presence, something we have benefited from in terms of volunteer recruitment, but also for public relations and fundraising aims. Honestly, the amount of information that Cabrini Connections and particularly Tutor/Mentor Connection make available online is staggering.

In his July 12, 2008 article Chris launched a series of articles under the theme of "Knowing the Research".  Here's part of that article:

As tutoring/mentoring programs such as ours and Big Brothers/Big Sisters become more and more widespread, there has been an increasing amount of research both evaluating individual programs, as well as synthesizing previous work, such as by using the same meta-analytic methods we employed in the aforementioned paper. 

 Above all else, these results demonstrated conclusively that MENTORING WORKS and are cited by organizations such as ours to argue for the effectiveness of our programming and why it is necessary for the kids we serve. By showing the effectiveness of mentoring in a well-thought out, controlled and published experiment, this study laid the groundwork for future investigations into the effectiveness of particular types of tutoring/mentoring and specific programmatic content. 

 As you can see just from this brief post about a pair of mentoring studies, being familiar with the relevant research can greatly assist an organization such as ours to offer the best possible mentoring programming for our youth. Therefore I think it is especially important as someone who has gained a familiarity with the way this work is done and reported, to summarize and share this knowledge with people and organizations who can benefit.

On January 21, 2009 Chris wrote an article with title "Has Obama Inspired You?"  He began by introducing the new web site.

If you're not already aware, our wonderful eLearning and Technology Coordinator recently created a website to replace our aging "Tutor/Mentor Institute". It's called the Tutor/Mentor Exchange and it has information about a wide variety of tutoring/mentoring related topics, particularly those aimed towards helping potential advocates to more effectively support tutoring/mentoring initiatives of all kinds. There are articles here for anyone wants to help us in our goal to give every child growing up in poverty, access to a high quality tutoring/mentoring program...for those who agree with President Obama that our nation's success depends "on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good. 

If you have been inspired by Obama's call to service like so many others and are in the health care field: check out the Tutor/Mentor Hospital Connection to see how you can make a difference. (Chris listed several other opportunities such as this). 

The information in these essays draws from decades of tutoring/mentoring experience culled from the members of the Tutor/Mentor Connection as well as Cabrini Connections Founder and CEO Dan Bassill's personal experience. In either case, it's worth checking out. Hopefully you'll find one of these links worthwhile and find a way to get involved and use your particular talents to make a difference!

On March 17, 2009 Chris wrote this article with the title of "College Program: Our Mission".

I am proud to announce that the (Cabrini Connections) College Program now has a mission statement. The mission statement will guide us in planning future programming and a serve as the starting point for program evaluation.

The mission statement reads, “to transform youth from economically and educationally disadvantaged neighborhoods into college bound students through providing structured support, resources, and training.”

Allow me to explain some of the details behind our mission, so that if you are a tutor/mentor with our program or another program, you can see what the mission statement means on the ground.....

Finally, I want to note my use of the word “transform” and the phrase “college bound students.” Transforming another human being is a challenge. It is a stronger than saying something like “to assist youth from economically and educationally disadvantaged neighborhoods in becoming college bound students.” As tutors/mentors we are literally assisting students, but more importantly we are a layer of support in the process of transforming a child who might have frame of reference about higher education into a student who is curious and excited about going to college.

On July 9, 2009 Chris wrote this "One year later, what have I learned" article.

Thinking back to where I was at this time last year, I never could have predicted how profoundly a year of non-profit work would change my personal perspective on work, life and my own future. 

Perhaps the most important (lesson) is that connecting a youth with a caring adult volunteer through a tutoring/mentoring relationship is really one of the most powerful ways to help a disadvantaged youth succeed.

Given the obvious benefit of our work in the areas of: academic achievement, employment gang-prevention, drug-prevention and violence-prevention, it is shameful that organizations like ours are constantly scrambling for the necessary operating dollars because government, business and other sectors with a stake in the future of youth growing up in poverty haven't taken a more active role in supporting programs like ours.

Chris' final two articles in July 2009 used concept maps to show the articles he wrote in the past year and to show the many different organizations and programs at Northwestern that could be supporting efforts like Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. 

On July 12, 2009 Chris wrote I've mapped the various articles in my blog according to some general themes. Interestingly, since I've blogged about much of the work I've done here, the concept map can also read as a job description or summary of some of the projects I've embroiled myself in during my time here. Hopefully Bradley Troast, my NUPIP successor and others will not start from scratch, but rather build from some of the knowledge and expertise I've accumulated and shared in these articles and develop a more comprehensive understanding of the work we're doing and how to constantly expand and improve our social impact!
Concept map showing articles Chris Warren wrote in 2008-09

On July 6, 2009 Chris wrote, So as I've mentioned in previous posts, Colleges and Universities are full of valuable assets for Tutor/Mentor Programs like ours. They are chock full of smart and engaged people who want to make a difference. However, for better or for worse, universities are multifaceted communities, with a wide variety of buildings, departments, offices...etc. 

They also have an unfortunate tendency to be composed of various organizational silos that inhibit communication between different parts of the university. In fact many a program coordinator has been frustrated by the seemingly endless amounts of emails and phone calls necessary to reach the right administrator who can actually begin to help forge a mutually beneficial relationship.

Therefore, after facilitating a workshop about ways to constructively engage Northwestern University at our May Conference, I decided it would be beneficial to put together a concept map of all of the different parts of NU that could help a tutor/mentor program like ours

Concept map showing programs at Northwestern University 

Each of these articles is an example of how Tutor/Mentor Connection / Institute, LLC has encouraged interns to learn and make sense of our strategies, then communicate their understanding, to their readers, via blog articles, videos, and/or visualizations. This is work that students from any part of the world could be doing.

Visit Chris Warren's blog and read more of the articles he wrote between July 2008 and April 209.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

NUPIP Intern 2009-10

Bradley Troast was a NU Public Interest Program fellow from July 2009 to June 2010 then was hired to be part of the Cabrini Connections staff from July 2010 to March 2011.

Here's a part of one of the first blog articles he wrote on July 14, 2009:

As fresh eyes here at Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection, I am tasked with learning the organizations and my role in them. On the one hand, I want to get to know our students and volunteers of which there are more than 150 combined, and on the other hand, I want to understand concepts in the field of tutoring and mentoring and how our work - past, present, and future - fits into that conversation. 

Though such an orientation may seem daunting, I am well positioned for a swift familiarization. Resources here are endless! Cabrini Connections' historical record is exhaustive. More than 60 students and volunteers have been showcased in our spotlight, and I have already met several of them as they frequent our center over the summer. The Tutor/Mentor Connection web site is an invaluable asset. You can search an interactive map to find locations of tutoring and mentoring programs in the Chicago area.

On Sept. 4, 2009 Bradley wrote this article about the Tutor/Mentor Institute. He included this paragraph:

So if Dan were to start his own Tutor/Mentor advisory firm, what might it look like? Well, perhaps it already exists. The Tutor/Mentor Institute gathers and organizes all that is known about successful non-school tutor/mentor programs and shares that knowledge to expand the availability and enhance the effectiveness of such services to children in inner city Chicago and other impoverished areas.

Little did Bradley know that in mid 2011 Dan Bassill would launch a Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC for the actual purpose which Bradley outlines in his 2009 article.

At the end of his full year as a NUPIP fellow, Bradley wrote this in a July 12, 2010 article:

It's hard to believe all that has transpired in the last 365 days. When I read my predecessor's "One year later" post last summer, I could sense his love for this work, but I couldn't feel it yet. I couldn't comprehend it. One year later, I know exactly what he was talking about. I am so happy with my position here and I am so grateful to be surrounded by more than 70 young people, almost 100 adult volunteers, and five invaluable staff members.

The more I value the work of Cabrini Connections, the more I understand the necessity of Tutor/Mentor Connection. While we do great work at 800 W Huron, there need to be facilities like this all across Chicago; all across the nation. After-school hours are a vulnerable time for youth and if we can engage them in positive, academic- and career-oriented activities, we will all be better off. We are training the next generation. I can see this on the ground, but I need others to see it, too. 

I would love to have more people in power such as businessmen, politicians, or athletes reading this blog and Dan's blog, visiting our web sites, or visiting our tutoring site, in order to recognize the value of our program.

Each of these articles is an example of how Tutor/Mentor Connection / Institute, LLC has encouraged interns to learn and make sense of our strategies, then communicate their understanding, to their readers, via blog articles, videos, and/or visualizations. This is work that students from any part of the world could be doing.

Visit Bradley's blog and read more of the articles he wrote between July 2009 and April 2011.

NU PIP Intern - 2010-11

This was from a March 7, 2011 blog article written by Karina Walker, our NUPIP fellow from 2010-2011.

It isn't rocket science to surmise that where there are more poorly performing schools, more tutoring and mentoring programs are needed to give kids academic skills, guidance, and motivation to graduate from high school and prepare for their next steps such as college, vocational schools, or careers. For those growing up in poverty neighborhoods and with failing schools, building relationships with a mentor can give students the support they need to realize their own potential.

This was from a March 2, 2011 blog article written b y Karina Walker

While most small organizations certainly don’t have GIS staff positions, Dan Bassill values this type of thinking enough that our 6 person staff does include a part-time GIS specialist. This is something that differentiates the type of work T/MC does from most other nonprofits. T/MC uses whatever information is available to help communities make strategic plans involving tutoring and mentoring.

Karina wrote included this in an August 19, 2010 article titled "A Century after Ford"

Henry Ford’s famously effective strategy for constructing a car-- workers building separate components in order to create a common product--is in many ways analogous to the Tutor/Mentor Connection's mission toward addressing massively complex issues like “urban poverty” or “equal access to opportunities” or “violence in American cities.” Even more so than assembling a car, however, attacking any of these issues as an individual (or even as a single organization) is as impossible as it is daunting.

Each of these articles is an example of how Tutor/Mentor Connection / Institute, LLC has encouraged interns to learn and make sense of our strategies, then communicate their understanding, to their readers, via blog articles, videos, and/or visualizations.

This is work that students from any part of the world could be doing.

Visit Karina's blog and read more of the articles she wrote between August 2010 and April 2011.