Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Act Now. Invest in the future of youth.

If we want to help inner city youth stay in school, and move toward jobs and careers, we need to provide role models, life experiences, tutoring and mentoring in the non-school hours, not just invest in teachers, principles and charter schools.

This graphic shows all of the work that we do at Cabrini Connections each week, just to keep kids and volunteers connected, and to find the resources to pay the operating expenses.

Visit this blog and read about one of our June 2009 graduates, who visited the program while on spring break from her first year in college. Read this article, and see how teens from Cabrini Connections are visiting the workplace of volunteers during Chicago Public Schools spring vacation.

If Cabrini Connections can't pay the bills, we can't provide the support that helps kids who start with us in 7th grade, be finishing high school six year later, and even stay connected to us many years after that.

At you can see how friends, volunteers and students have contributed more than $24,000 since last September, through many small donations. One grant from a Chicago corporation of foundation could be that much. One gift from a benefactor could be 10 times that.

If you're reading this, and you know people like this, and you want to do something about ending poverty, then help us find these benefactors.

However, that's not the only reason to send a donation, or help find a benefactor. Cabrini Connections created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993, to help every poverty neighborhood in Chicago have programs like Cabrini Connections. This map is just one of many resources we host on the T/MC web site. One of those is a Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program locator that you can use to search in different neighborhoods to find tutor/mentor programs, if any are there.

An anonymous donor gave $50,000 in 2007 for us to build this mapping capacity. The money ran out in early 2009, but we've scrounged to keep it available to people in the Chicago region. If your company wants recognition for doing good, why not be the sponsor who helps T/MC keep this service available, or helps expand it to other cities?

Every non-school organization that is working to help kids avoid gangs, and drugs, and make healthy choices about school and careers, has the same infrastructure needs as we have at Cabrini Connections. They all need benefactors who provide flexible, on-going operating dollars.

Don't wait for someone else to take the lead. If you value what programs like Cabrini Connections are doing .... then reach out to the people you know and invite them to become volunteers, donors, leaders to help build the infrastructure that makes these programs possible.

The problem will still be here tomorrow and next year. However, some of these programs may not be here if we cannot influence the flow of operating dollars now and over the next few months.

Is this idea important to you? Come to the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference on May 27 and 28. It will be at Loyola University Chicago. Learn more. Get personally involved.

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