Saturday, September 30, 2006

Making a Difference and Bridging the Poverty Divide

During the past two weeks an amazing thing has happened in Chicago. Volunteers from various businesses and professions have begun meeting with 7th to 12th grade teens from the Cabrini-Green neighborhood for a 14th year of tutoring/mentoring and networking at the Cabrini Connections Tutor/Mentor Program.

More than 470 teens and 600 volunteers have been involved with this program since 1993. Here's a few highlights from my recent newsletter:

Daniel Sherrod (who started with CC in 1994) honored with Associated Colleges of Illinois award - ACI Honors Cabrini Connections alumni

Cabrini Connections Music Video can be viewed -
on YouTube

Michael Tam blogs from Hong Kong -

Josh Rothstein (2005-06 volunteer) emailed to tell us he's moved back to California and will be interviewing in the coming weeks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (a NASA contracted facility) in Pasadena.

Ted Bills (former volunteer) emailed from St. Louis and said "Our United Way campaign kicked off today and I sent the email to 70+ people that I have met at GE. "

Larry Daigle (former volunteer) emailed to tell us he enjoys staying connected via our email newsletter and he's now living in Costa Rica

These illustrate how Cabrini Connections is turning the meeting between teens and volunteers at our Chicago site into a life long connection made possible by the Internet. With such a connection we can remove the isolation of poverty for every teen who joins us and learns to connect with each other and volunteers via the Internet.

In order for us to keep our teens and volunteers connected with each other and with Cabrini Connections, we must constantly raise money. You can make a difference this weekend, by writing a check or going on line and making a Pay Pal donation.

Some of you have already received the Back to School Mailing in a Yellow Envelop. Here's a link to a PDF that you can forward to friends.
Back to School Campaign

Some of you might be interested in a social/networking opportunity. Join us on Oct. 13 for Martini Madness. Here's a pdf with details: Martini Maddness

In other sections of this blog you've been able to read posts about how difficult it is for non profits to find on-going dollars to sustain their work. We've been fortunate to find dollars for the past 14 years, but never enough to avoid borrowing money when cash is short, and never enough to do all of the work we know needs to be done to assure that our teens are in jobs by age 25.

As you read this, I hope you'll make an effort to help us now, and in the future. I also hope you'll make an effort to help programs like Cabrini Connections that operate in other neighborhoods, and other cities, get the dollars and volunteers they also need.

While we change the future for the teens who join Cabrini Connections, we still only impact a small number out of the more than 200,000 youth living in poverty in Chicago and the millions living in poverty in other big cities. A strategy that supports all tutor/mentor programs consistently is one that will also support Cabrini Connections more consistently.

If you'd like to discuss ways you can help, email me at

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