Sunday, November 01, 2009

Students as Leaders - Treats for Cabrini

While there are many negative stories about young people and violence in Chicago neighborhoods, this photo illustrates the way some teens are trying to have an influence in what their futures will be.

As we started the 2009-10 school year at Cabrini Connections, we were uncertain we'd have the money to operate all year. Many of our volunteers and staff have responded with various fund raising campaigns, and one of our student leaders, Melissa Young, suggested that a bake sale be held on Saturday, October 30. She and her mentor, Elena Lugo, (shown with Ashaunti Roby and other volunteers) organized the event, recruited other students and volunteers, and then stood out on the street in 40 degree cold to lure customers to come in and buy some baked goods. More than $300 was raised, and a new sense of teamwork emerged.

You can see from this photo, that I'm getting old. I'll be 63 in December. It is critically important that young people, who are in Cabrini Connections now, or were involved in past years, and our volunteers, take ownership of the ideas in this blog, and the vision of Cabrini Connections, so that they will be willing to spend many Saturdays and Sundays for many years, to assure that programs like this are in their lives, and in the lives of many other youth living in high poverty, inner city neighborhoods.

We have more than 100 former students, volunteers and staff in our group on Facebook, plus another 600 friends. This can be an "army of good" if during the next 8 weeks, and in the coming year, each person makes just one personal donation, and makes one effort each week, to introduce one more person to the work we are doing and the information we share on our web sites.

This is "network building". We all have networks. We need to learn to map them, and use them to do good, and to help each of us overcome the challenges we face in life. On November 20 the Tutor/Mentor Conference will host Valdas Krebs and Jean Russell, who will talk about how to map your network and engage it in purpose driven activities.

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