Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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.

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