Tuesday, April 22, 2008
There is an alternative to hanging out on streets, getting involved with gangs, and senseless acts of violence. This Peace Mural was created by students and volunteers who are part of an art club at Cabrini Connections, a non-school volunteer-based tutoring/mentoring program serving 70-80 7th to 12th grade teens living in the Cabrini Connections neighborhood.
This "College Bound, No Doubt About That" music Video was created by another group of teens and volunteers at Cabrini Connections.
This program offers teens an alternative choice of ways to spend their non school time, and connects teens with a wide range of adult volunteers who serve as mentors, tutors, coaches, friends.
There are many similar programs in the city. They all are constantly looking for private sector donations to fund their operations. If you want to stop the violence, invest in these programs. Make a donation today.
However, the problem we face is that there are not enough of these programs, especially in the South and West part of Chicago and South Suburbs. Good programs don't grow overnight. They take years to grow. Cabrini Connections started in 1993 with just five teens and 7 volunteers. You can search the zip codes in the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program locator to learn about existing organizations offering various forms of tutoring and/or mentoring. When you look for more comprehensive tutor/mentor programs, or programs serving high school youth, there are very few in many areas.
If the city wants to really make a difference, it needs to encourage businesses, churches, hospitals and universities to build long term, adopt a neighborhood strategies that make more and better tutoring/mentoring programs available in more places.
This is not a short term strategy. It is an investment in peace. It will pay dividends the longer donors and leaders stay involved.
Want to know more? Come to the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference on May 29 and 30 and meet some of the people who lead these programs.