Friday, February 14, 2014
At that time 90% of the volunteers were employees at the Montgomery Ward Corporate office and Catalog Distribution Center in Chicago.
By 1990 we were up to 300 pairs of volunteers and youth. More than 80% of those who started in the fall continued all year and with constant recruitment of replacements, we ended the year with more volunteers than what we started with. On 10% of the volunteers were from Montgomery Ward. After the Catalog operation closed in the early 1980s many volunteers went to other companies, then began to bring co-workers from those companies to volunteer.
I continued to lead the tutoring program at Wards until the fall of 1992 (we converted it to the non profit Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program, Inc. in 1990. It was renamed Tutoring Chicago in the past couple of years). In the fall of 1992 I created Cabrini Connections, to help kids who aged out of the original program after 6th grade have a similar support system to help them through high school. At the same time, we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection to help similar programs grow in all high poverty areas of Chicago.
I led Cabrini Connections until mid 2011. I'm still leading the Tutor/Mentor Connection, but under the structure of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC.
When I became a volunteer in 1973 I was assigned to work with a fourth grade boy named Leo. That's him with me in this picture. We're still connected today via Facebook, over 40 years later.
One of the things I focus on every day is finding ways to empower some of those who have benefited from their participation so they will become leaders who share the vision I've shared in these blog articles and who will carry this forward in future years when I'm no longer here to provide that leadership.