Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Suntimes Explores Solutions to the "Crisis" of Chicago's Teen Violence

I encourage you to read the in-dept article Mike Trakan, of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, wrote in response to the strategy editorial posted this week in the Chicago SunTimes.

Then read El Da'Sheon Nix's article about teamwork at Cabrini Connections.

When people write about tutoring/mentoring, most are not thinking of ways to build a team of adults who will help kids in poverty move through school and into careers. If the SunTimes, and the Mayor, and Mr. Huberman, and other leaders understood how volunteer involvement in a tutor/mentor program changes the volunteer, and turns some of them into surrogate parents who do much more to help kids grow up than many of the adults in their own community, or who donate dollars, and vote for public policy initiatives, then they might invest more time thinking of how to make such programs available in more places.

What happens in a tutor/mentor program? The mural on this page was created over the past few months by students and volunteers who meet at Cabrini Connections every Monday evening throughout the year. Thus mural and other art created by students and donated by professionals, will be shown and sold at our annual art festival, to be held at the Palette and Chisel Art Academy, 1012 N. Dearborn, Chicago, Il. on April 4, 2009.

If you want to be part of our team, and help solve the problems the SunTimes is talking about, consider making a donation to support Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, or come to the Art Festival and bid on this and the Peace Hands Mural, which was created last year by the art club. This is just one example of how volunteers meet weekly for a few hours. As their mentor kids to create art, they build relationships and mentor kids to aspire to be artists, or to be creative, or to aspire for a life beyond poverty. As they participate in other activities of Cabrini Connections, they meet other volunteers who try to help them build the habits and skills that enable them to achieve these aspirations.

This is just one program serving a small number of kids. Programs like this need to be operating in every high poverty neighborhood and could be if this was part of the broad strategy offered by our media and public leaders.

Visit the Art Festival page on our web site for more details or to make a donation.

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