Thursday, March 03, 2011

Ask not what Dan Bassill can do for you, but what you can do for Dan Bassill

A DePaul University student wrote a blog article last fall and ended it with "Ask not what Dan Bassill can do for you, but what you can do for Dan Bassill."

Over 35 years of leading a tutor/mentor program I've seen my role as being the one who makes it possible for everyone else to gather and do their thing at Cabrini Connections, or at a Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference. When I see a group of teens and volunteers in a room, I can say "What I see, is because of me".

Without the efforts of myself and a few other leaders, such as Ray Dowdle of our Board of Directors, Cabrini Connections would be an empty space. Tables with no students and volunteers.

In fact, there would not even be a space with tables for youth and volunteers to meet on a regular basis, and for guest speakers like GLC to come and provide motivational messages to our teens and volunteers, as he did last night (see video).

Places are needed in many parts of Chicago and the suburbs where youth, volunteers, motivational speakers, technology and all sorts of extra learning are available. But without a core group of leaders who make the commitment to build and sustain these programs, often at great personal sacrifice, there will continue to be too few places where the tables are full and new connections are being made each week.

More than 5,000 students and volunteers have been part of the tutoring/mentoring programs I've led since 1975. I'm connected to many of these alumni on Facebook and Linked In as well as to former executives from the Montgomery Ward Corporation who provided the space and dollars for the program to operate until 1999.

While I've written countless letters, articles, email messages asking for help to build and sustain Cabrini Connections, and help similar programs grow all over the Chicago region, this DePaul student has said what I've not been able to communicate effectively in all these years.

Ask not what Dan Bassill can do for you, but what you can do to help Dan Bassill continue this effort for another decade or more.

* be a donor - send tax deducatable donations to Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, 800 W. Huron, Chicago, Il. 60642. Or use this on-line PayPal form.

* Be a Network Builder - share the articles I write and information on our web sites with people in your own business, fraternity, faith group, etc.

Don't let the empty spaces be the future for tutor/mentor programs like Cabrini Connections.

1 comment:

EL Da' Sheon Nix said...

Definitely a great blog post! Because of your leadership, guidance, and expertise we have continued to be successful in the CC, T/MC organization. The retention of students and volunteers has been great, this fall we had record breaking attendance numbers (85% for both students and volunteers for the quarter), and we even been recognized as being one of the number one mentoring programs throughout the city of Chicago for the past two years. Because of you and your vision 30+ years ago, the chairs and desks that are shown in the picture above are filled each and every Wednesday and Thursday with dedicated, committed, and hard working students and volunteers.

There are countless antidotal stories where because of your vision, students and volunteers have been connected to tutoring/mentoring programs throughout the Chicagoland area, and the country for that matter. And not only students and volunteers being connected to other programs, but actual programs that have been founded based on the principles, vision, tools, and techniques that are made available by you directly and on organization’s websites over the years.

Hopefully because of your leadership, guidance, expertise, and knowledge there will be a line of people not only asking that question "What Can I Do for Dan Bassill," but they will take that one step further and actually take actions and lead the CC, T/MC organization out of the financial crisis that we have been in and put the organization in a position to obtain and retain the necessary resources to be successful.

I too want to stand in front of the Art, Tech, Video, and Writing Clubs, stand in front of the Wednesday and Thursday tutoring session nights , stand in front of a group of students on a college visit, in front of the 70+ students and 90+ volunteers in the Cabrini Connections’ program and say "What I see, is because of me."