T/MC Case Statement - updated 1997
This is a 1997updated version of the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy, , created with the help of Public Communications, Inc. in 1994. Use this and the 1994 version for reference when looking at the current strategy as shown here.
A CABRINI CONNECTIONS PROGRAM
The Cabrini Connections Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) is about children and learning. It's about tutoring and mentoring programs that provide urban youth positive experiences, role models and alternatives to the streets. It's about linking volunteers and corporations with children in need, and bringing programs and committed people from all walks of life together to turn our communities around. In short, T/MC is about making a difference.
T/MC is a network that is inventorying every community in Chicago to identify afterschool tutoring/mentoring programs. It is continuously promoting the need for tutoring and mentoring and volunteer involvement so that more programs become available in each coming year. It is providing a means of sharing successful strategies among new and existing programs and will identify and focus public attention — on a continuing basis — on the areas where tutoring services are most needed.
T/MC believes that after-school, tutoring/mentoring programs, where children work with adult role models in one-on-one and group activities, can be one means of giving children hope, support and learning tools and building self-esteem and confidence necessary for students to succeed in school. "The nation cannot afford to raise another generation of young adolescents without the supervision, guidance, and preparation for life that caring adults and strong community organizations once provided and again can provide."
Tutoring and mentoring programs have great potential. They can help in many ways:
. Maintain and build children's interest in learning
. Keep children in school
. Keep children off the streets and in productive activities
. Improve grades
. Broaden each child's experience base
. Stimulate creativity
. Enhance social and problem-solving skills
. Develop productive adults
. Expand each child's options for a quality life
The need for more support programs for urban youth has been known for years, and each time a tragedy involving the death of a child provokes public outrage, politicians, media and community leaders raise the call for "more role models and mentors". Yet, up to May 1994, when the first T/MC Chicago Programs Directory was published, there was no comprehensive directory to help parents, educators, program leaders and children locate and compare available programs. No agency or government body has accepted the role, of leading the development and growth of a citywide network of afterschool tutor/mentor programs.
Cabrini Connections leaders, having led a network of Cabrini-Green area tutoring programs since 1977, established the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and launched its 10-point marketing plan in January 1994, to fill this void. The T/MC is unique and workable, because T/MC's approach is a business-type marketing plan, with marketing solutions that increase program distribution and neighborhood coverage with one small success at a time.
T/MC does not attempt to define the overall need for after-school youth programs. Neither does T/MC attempt to build a consensus for a single "best" way to create or operate a tutoring and mentoring program. Rather, T/MC collects, then shares information from existing programs to create strategies adaptable to varying neighborhoods and groups of children. Our product is educated kids. Our delivery system is a growing network of motivated volunteers, recruited from Chicago's business and university community. Our distribution points are sites throughout Chicago's inner-city neighborhoods where kids can meet on a regular basis with these volunteers, as more than 1,000 volunteers do in Cabrini-Green area programs. T/MC success will be measured by the expansion of afterschool tutor/mentor programs into neighborhoods which now are significantly underserved, the increase in volunteers and students, and the continuous improvement in the quality of services provided.
Only 9% of at-risk children were enrolled in identified tutor/mentor programs in 1994.
T/MC research identified nearly 200 tutor/mentor programs in Chicago by the end of 1994, with 160 neighborhood sites. The 120 programs who responded to the 1994 T/MC survey reported a total of 11,642 children participating in their combined programs. This is less than 6% of the approximately 200,000 at-risk school-aged children identified by the 1994 Voices for Illinois Children report, Chicago Kids Count., but it is a starting point for quantifying growth in both tutor/mentor programs, and the number of children enrolled in each coming year. Since 1994, the number of known programs has increased to nearly 300, with approximately 230 sites.
To accomplish its goals, T/MC:
• Developed and launched an extensive research study to inventory each of Chicago's neighborhoods to locate existing afterschool tutoring/mentoring programs. Since January of 1994 the T/MC has located nearly 300 existing programs and cataloged these in a "Donors Forum" type library available to any who seek to build or expand tutor/mentor programs.
• Gathers, assembles, promotes and distributes networking information. On a continuous basis, T/MC promotes networking of leaders of existing programs to bring together good ideas and good leaders to help them stay in business and improve their services over a long period. T/MC also makes information on successful programs available to individuals interested in determining where tutoring and mentoring services are needed in their community and how to go about launching or expanding a program.
• Markets information on program development and operation strategies. As T/MC gathers and organizes information about after-school tutoring/mentoring programs, it markets this information to continually keep youth programming issues in the public eye. As T/MC identifies communities that are under-served, it creates a call-to-action to mobilize corporate and volunteer support for new and existing tutoring and mentoring programs. By keeping the need for tutoring/mentoring in the public eye, T/MC provides long-term, consistent support and promotion to help existing tutoring and mentoring programs continue to improve while encouraging new programs to develop.
• Collaborates with the Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) to raise funds for tutor/mentor programs. T/MC provided the leadership initiative, along with CBF, to establish a new funding stream to support existing tutor/mentor programs and to help new programs get started in areas of greatest need. Since November 1995, $60,000 in small grants have been awarded to more than 25 different tutor/mentor programs.
• Measure progress. T/MC uses data gathered through its annual Neighborhood Programs Survey to compare levels of need and current services in different neighborhoods and on a year-to-year basis. As T/MC is able to report this information at the neighborhood level, the information will be used by individual tutor/mentor programs in developing funding and expansion plans, by corporations for developing strategic initiatives to support tutor/mentor programs, by foundations to determine levels of service in individual neighborhoods, and by the T/MC to target its year-to-year marketing efforts into neighborhoods where more programs continue to be needed.
In summary, the mission of the Tutor/Mentor Connection is to gather and organize all that is known about successful after-school tutoring/mentoring programs and apply that knowledge to expand the availability and enhance the effectiveness of these services to children throughout the city.
Cabrini Connections, the umbrella organization under which T/MC operates, is involved in the T/MC network as an organizer, operator and user. Cabrini Connections continues to maintain and grow its tutoring and mentoring services for 7th through 12th grade students in Cabrini-Green, while developing and coordinating the T/MC network. T/MC will share its successful strategies and apply information learned from other service providers to enhance its own Cabrini-Green tutoring and mentoring programs and strengthen its training programs for tutors and mentors.
Why expand tutoring and mentoring programs in Chicago?
Because children are our city's and our nation's future.
Today's children will be responsible for maintaining our social, community and health care services. They will provide the high-caliber work force America needs for global competition. They will be responsible for protecting the earth and natural resources.
Apart from tutoring and mentoring, the majority of services for children today are problem-oriented or crisis-oriented. These are programs to help children overcome drug-addiction, gangs, and family, physical, developmental and psychological problems. In contrast, T/MC is oriented more to the prevention of problems. It provides a managed process to enhance and expand tutoring and mentoring opportunities that involve children throughout the city. T/MC encourages programs that focus on social and academic development and give children the tools they need to avoid academic and social problems. T/MC helps foster tutoring and mentoring programs that encompass recreational, social and academic activities that build children's self-esteem and self-confidence.
The costs associated with poverty will continue to increase without an increase in prevention efforts.
According to Mark Cohen, a professor at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, "High risk youths who are kept out of trouble through intervention programs could save society as much as $2 million a youth per lifetime." He calculates the costs in terms of actual loss as well as pain and suffering. From The Wall Street Journal, 3/31/96. In a separate study of the Cost of Poverty in Overtown and Date County, Florida in 1990, the public cost of poverty for a neighborhood of just 3,439 households is estimated to be "$30 million per year." Furthermore, the report concludes that "77,000 people living in economically healthy low-income neighborhoods of Dade County are costing taxpayers $62 million per year less than 77,000 people living in economically unhealthy low-income neighborhoods."
Every child who is helped by an afterschool tutor/mentor program to become a tax-paying adult represents a savings and an investment. We are offered with the choice of a 12-to 16-year investment as a child becomes an adult, and becomes a taxpayer, vs the potential life-time costs of public services associated with children who re-enter the cycle of poverty.
Most important, however, tutoring and mentoring can help individual inner-city children have a wider range of possibilities for long-term personal fulfillment.
Children can't realize personal goals without the necessary skills. They can't secure rewarding jobs and personal happiness without self-esteem, a good education and good learning habits. They can't reach their full potential without positive role models who demonstrate these skills. Tutoring and mentoring programs are infused with these kinds of role models.
Tutoring/Mentoring Programs Should be Enhanced and Expanded
Tutoring and mentoring programs face numerous challenges. Existing programs invariably operate with very small budgets, and their success depends on attracting and keeping qualified people who are willing to volunteer their time. Tutoring and mentoring programs operate in relative isolation from one another (the 1994 T/MC programs survey indicated that more than 50% of responding programs have little or no contact with other programs). Information on how to develop quality services, effective training strategies and reliable methods of evaluation is not readily available. Also lacking is information on how to find and motivate volunteers and how to secure funds to start or expand a tutoring and mentoring program.
Perhaps most disturbing, there has been little encouragement for tutoring and mentoring programs to collaborate and learn from one another as they seek to support children, give them new opportunities and help them become responsible, productive and happy adults.
In many neighborhoods, parents and children aren't even aware of the tutoring and mentoring services that exist or, for personal safety reasons, children cannot travel the streets to attend the programs in which they want to participate. Leaders of tutoring and mentoring programs, parents, educators, corporations, community leaders and governmental leaders need to join forces and share strategies that successful programs are using to overcome the many challenges for tutoring and mentoring programs.
Tutoring/Mentoring Programs Can be Enhanced and Expanded
By continuously updating its database and by placing emphasis on the need and programs successfully providing services, T/MC focuses public attention on the need for tutoring and mentoring services in specific Chicago neighborhoods. Where public and government leadership in the past has demonstrated cycles of attention and neglect, T/MC will offer a continuous advocacy for tutoring/mentoring programs.
As a network for new and existing tutoring and mentoring programs, T/MC serves as a central information exchange, gathering, sharing, applying and continuously updating information about successful tutoring and mentoring programs.
The Tutor/Mentor Connection is able to:
• Identify existing tutoring and mentoring programs through an annual inventory of Chicago's 77 community areas. Nearly 300 programs, including more than 250 neighborhood sites, have been identified.
• Manage a database of those programs to make information about them accessible to all interested parties. The first T/MC Chicago Programs Directory was published in May, 1994 and was updated and reissued in August 1995 and 1996 The Directory is being used by the United Way, the Chicago Bar Foundation and a growing number of corporations to recruit and refer volunteers. The 1997 Directory will be distributed in late July.
• Establish an effective tool for data analysis and executive presentations, illustrating need and convincing corporate leaders to offer their resources to establish and support tutoring/mentoring programs. The T/MC uses Geographic Data Base maps to show programs, needs areas, and corporate sites in these areas. This is a tool companies can use to focus philanthropy and build long-term partners. It also a tool programs can use to build a stronger case for their service and to identify corporate partners located within their service area.
• Exchange and promote information on successful tutoring and mentoring programs through a network of individuals, youth programs, community groups, corporations and foundations to encourage replication of good programs and a sharing of effective strategies. In 1995 and again in 1996, more than 600 individual and group consultations were held between the T/MC and users of T/MC information. These users included parents and DCFS workers seeking programs, community groups seeking information for starting programs, existing programs gathering new ideas, companies seeking to develop programs and universities seeking to become involved in supporting such learning programs.
• Host conferences among providers of tutoring and mentoring services. Six T/MC Leadership Conferences have been held since May 1994. The past three conferences have each attracted more than 180 participants, including leaders of programs from as far away as Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cleveland and many downstate Illinois cities. The next conference, to be held on May 2nd and 3rd at Malcolm X College in Chicago and is being co-sponsored by the Chicago Public Schools School Partners Program and Science Linkages in the Community. The conference is being developed by a leadership team with representatives from more than 10 different tutor/mentor programs in Chicago.
• Increase public attention and support of tutoring and mentoring programs. The T/MC's media campaign has reached an audience of more than 5 million each year since 1994. In September 1995 the T/MC organized the city's first citywide tutor/mentor volunteer recruitment campaign, with support from Chicago Access TV, the Chicago Department on Aging, and several tutor/mentor programs who hosted neighborhood fairs. More than 1200 inquiries were received from potential volunteers over a 4—week period. In 1996 the recruiting campaign expanded to seven sites with more than a dozen companies involved in encouraging employees to volunteer. Merri Dee of WGN TV served as campaign spokesperson. Planning for the 1997 campaign is now in progress.
• Develop a process to help tutoring and mentoring programs evaluate the quality of their services. The T/MC conferences focus on the skills needed to build an effective business, which is fundamental to being successful in providing long-term service continuity to youth. These skills include planning, evaluation, recruiting and training strategies, fund raising and public relations strategies as well as networking strategies. The T/MC is working with various Chicago universities to expand the range and availability of tutor/mentor training throughout the city.
T/MC Action Plan and 1996 accomplishments.
“One of the lessons we’ve learned in our first 10 years is how extraordinarily isolated we are” reported MacArthur Foundation Vice President Rebecca Riley, in an April 1995 presentation at the Union League Club of Chicago. In the book “Kindness of Strangers”, Marc Freedman cites lack of infrastructure as potentially the greatest impediment to developing widespread mentoring activities. These are not new revelations to Cabrini Connections. More than 50% of the tutor/mentor programs who responded to the spring 1994 T/MC survey reported “little or no contact with similar programs.”
In the past twenty years no city, state or national organization has ever established a consistent outreach into Chicago’s neighborhoods to learn what tutor/mentor programs were operating, where they were, or what they were doing, nor to approach them with a “how can I help you succeed?” commitment. Nor has there been any concentrated or consistent effort to identify which neighborhoods are underserved, either through lack of programs, or lack of programs for a specific age group, then to develop and lead a marketing program which would fill those gaps in service.
The founders of Cabrini Connections and the T/MC had these conditions in mind in the fall of 1992 when Cabrini Connections was organized. The Tutor/Mentor Connection was formed to reduce this isolation, as a means of finding solutions to make its own Cabrini-Green Kids’ Connection program succeed, while linking similar programs throughout Chicago and America with each other and with networks of related service providers, such as universities, science/math networks, and the Illinois Intergenerational Initiative, with individual programs and groups of programs.
In its founding Cabrini Connections recognized that no clear model existed to follow in building a successful tutor/mentor program for inner city teens. Therefore, while building a program based on long-term experience with elementary school children, a commitment was made to learn all that was known about effective tutor/mentor programs operating throughout Chicago and other cities, and to draw from those examples to build the Cabrini-Green effort.
At the same time, while Cabrini Connections serves fewer than 110 children in Cabrini-Green, and while Cabrini-Green includes less than 2% of the total at-risk kids in Chicago, the T/MC seeks to create access to programs similar to its Kids’ Connection for the nearly 200,000 school-age children living in neighborhoods of Chicago which are just as disadvantaged as Cabrini-Green, but far more neglected through a growing network of program leaders, business leaders and dedicated volunteers. It is only through this broader outreach can Chicago really expect to find a way to help the entire community of at-risk children find a means to a brighter future.
The T/MC Action Plan includes the following steps. These were launched in 1994, repeated in 1996 and 1996 and will be repeated again in 1997 and in each following year, reaching a larger group of individuals and organizations with a greater range and quality of services to help programs become established and grow.
Each year since 1994, T/MC media have reached audiences of over 5.4 million with print, TV and radio messages intended to build visibility, volunteers and dollars for Chicago's tutor/mentor programs. In 1996 the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) delivered a calendar of events along with an on-going communications and networking program as part of its effort to help build a total quality after-school learning system to help at-risk children throughout Chicago become more successful in schools and in preparation for work. It is clear from news reports that the public schools cannot accomplish this task by themselves.
Here is a summary of 1996 T/MC results:
Feb. - May — Update T/MC Directory and list of tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago. While this is a year-round process, each spring T/MC staff and interns must contact every program listed in the T/MC Directory to determine that the program is still active and at minimum, someone answers the phone at the number we list. Without this quality control, the T/MC Directory would not be regarded as the single most important resource for tutor/mentor connections and referrals in Chicago. The revised directory was printed in July and distributed in August to all public schools, more than 1000 businesses, and more than 1000 other community members who have called for information or who are involved in some manner with educating Chicago’s children.
May 15-16, 1996 — Two hundred and twenty-five leaders, sponsors and volunteers from more than 100 tutor/mentor programs gathered to share ideas, learn new techniques and promote effective tutoring, mentoring and school to work practices at the 5th Tutor/Mentor Connection Leadership Conference which was co-sponsored by the Institute on Disability and Human Development at UIC.
August/Sept. '96 — More than 60 programs and ten area businesses participated in the T/MC’s second annual Citywide Volunteer Recruitment Campaign, "What a Difference a Day Makes!", with Merri Dee of WGN-TV serving as campaign spokesperson. Volunteer fairs were held at seven sites around the city, and promotions ran on Access TV throughout August and September. More than 400 individuals, a 300 per cent increase from 1995, turned out for one of seven volunteer fairs held at Borders Books & Music, the Chicago Cultural Center, Evergreen Plaza Shopping Center, Ford City Shopping Center, DePaul University, AON Corporation and Pottowatomie Park. Copies of the 4th T/MC Chicago Programs Directory were distributed to 2000 individuals companies, schools, libraries and churches, and to an additional 300 people who called the T/MC hotline established especially for the campaign.
Nov. 15-16, '96 — Nearly 200 leaders and volunteers from over 110 tutor/mentor programs met at Malcolm X College for the T/MC’s 6th Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference. Co-sponsored by Chicago Public Schools, this was the first conference attended by large numbers of teachers and school administrators.
Nov. 10-16, 1996— Mayor Daley proclaims this the city’s third Annual Tutor/Mentor Week, recognizing leaders, volunteers and children participating in Chicago’s 250 afterschool tutoring, mentoring and school-to-work programs. During the week the Chicago Bar Foundation awarded $19,000 in grants to tutor/mentor programs, making its total contribution for the year $39,000. Furthermore, Involve!Chicago, a dedicated group of young professionals, hosted its first Friday Night tutor/mentor week party and raised $1,700 which it donated to the CBF Lend-A-Hand Fund.
In addition to these major events, the T/MC published this quarterly report, reaching more than 5,500 readers, including tutor/mentor leaders, business leaders, educators and volunteers from around the country. The T/MC also issued its 4th Edition Tutor/Mentor Directory, listing more than 250 Chicago tutor/mentor programs, along with support groups and national tutor/mentor programs.
Finally, the T/MC media plan generated tutor/mentor attention from Chicago’s major newspapers, TV, radio and public television, dramatically increasing the reach and frequency of messages intended to draw visibility, volunteers and dollars to ALL of Chicago’s tutor/mentor programs.
The result is that more tutor/mentor program leaders are talking to each other than ever before. Organizations such as the Chicago Bar Foundation, with 22,000 member lawyers, is recruiting and placing teams of volunteers at tutor/mentor programs, while developing funding resources and other programs, which create learning opportunities for children most neglected from these experiences.
Finally, the T/MC has provided referrals to hundreds of volunteers and parents looking to find tutor/mentor programs, and to hundreds of program and community leaders looking for help in expanding, improving and/or starting a new program.
As the T/MC has grown in Chicago, it has become a model for other cities, with leaders from Milwaukee, Kansas City, Seattle, Cleveland and many Illinois cities, joining in the T/MC conferences or drawing upon one-on-one T/MC consultations.
HISTORY OF CABRINI CONNECTIONS
What is Cabrini Connections and why is it qualified to launch and foster the Tutor/Mentor Connection network?
Before developing Cabrini Connections, the organization's leaders spent 18 years developing and managing the Montgomery Ward/Cabrini-Green Tutoring Program (CGTP) at Chicago's Cabrini-Green, an inner-city public housing neighborhood. While under their leadership, CGTP provided more than 100,000 hours of tutoring/mentoring to more than 3,000 2nd through 6th grade children and involved more than 3,000 volunteers in this process. Between 85 percent and 90 percent of all students enrolled attended weekly tutoring sessions. More than 60 percent of all tutors returned to the program each year as it grew from 100 weekly volunteers in 1975 to more than 500 volunteers in 1992. The success of the program and the strength and dedication of its leaders have been acknowledged many times in articles in educational periodicals and the Chicago media.
Cabrini Connections leaders also developed and led a local network of Cabrini-Green area tutoring program leaders, beginning in 1976. Initially, this network met monthly at the Montgomery Ward headquarters, and leaders used meetings as a "show and tell" to exchange ideas and program concepts. From these meetings, training workshops were developed, combining the resources of multiple programs. Training and program management concepts were exchanged. CGTP became a resource for volunteer leaders from Chicago and beyond who were seeking to develop similar type programs. Although the network membership, meeting place and meeting frequency has changed often since 1976, the basic values and sharing among program leaders continued and has contributed greatly to the continuity and growth of several of the Cabrini-Green area programs.
Building on their successes in Cabrini-Green with the elementary school program and tutoring network, the leaders of the Cabrini Connections set out to do more. They created Cabrini Connections, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering people throughout the Chicago area to be part of long-term solutions to the crisis in urban literacy.
While the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) is the subject of this Case Statement, Cabrini Connections also operates a total quality tutor/mentor program, the Kids' Connection:
The Kids' Connection is a Cabrini Connections youth program for 7th through 12th grade students that provides mentors, role models and enrichment activities to help students navigate more successfully the junior and senior high school years. Through different club formats Kids' Connection combines the benefits of a one-on-one adult/child relationship with group creative learning activities. The programs emphasize building self-esteem and problem-solving skills. They include recreational, social and academic activities. The programs provide children with support, frustration outlets and career development assistance. Starting with five students and seven volunteers in January 1993, this program now has an enrollment of 110 students and over 120 volunteers, with six alumni in college and/or working in business partnerships created by Cabrini Connections.
The organization's Career Success Steps is the action plan of its mission. It begins with developing student participation in tutor/mentor activities based at the Cabrini Connections headquarters site in Cabrini-Green based on a one-on-one partnership with an adult volunteer and a student-staff relationship built over the year-to-year connection of Cabrini-Connections staff members and students and their families. As students begin to participate in site-based activities, the Success Steps program begins to expand the experience base of the program's students through field trips to businesses and colleges and universities. The Career Success Steps hopes to take this relationship a step further and then, a step further. In forming partnerships with companies and corporations, the Success Steps model encourages businesses to:
• Offer a business representative to be part of the Kids Club team;
• Recruit volunteers within their company to volunteer at Kids Clubs;
• Offer seminars to Kids Club students;
• Offer companies' existing employee training classes and seminars to Kids Club students (from typing to diversity training);
• Create part-time jobs or internships for Kids Club students;
• Help establish funds for high school and scholarship pools;
• Offer career development and counseling;
• Act as long-term role models to students;
As an operator of a tutor/mentor program, we know how difficult it is to attract and keep volunteers, and how difficult it is to provide the training they need to be effective. Yet we have successfully built a volunteer corps of over 100 adults from a variety of business backgrounds, with nearly 20% serving terms of three up to 25 consecutive years.
We’ve also found ways to recruit children, match them with these volunteers, and keep them coming back, week after week, year after year. Six of our graduates are in college or working, some who have come to Montgomery Ward for our help from the time they were in 2nd grade.
We have ten seniors this year, many who also have come here for tutoring and mentoring since 1st and 2nd grade. We have built a structure, composed mostly of volunteers, and we are making it work.
We have built the Tutor/Mentor Connection to share our knowledge, and to add new knowledge, benchmarking ourselves against the best tutor/mentor programs around the country, so we, and others, can constantly improve.
For further information on the Kids' Connection program, please contact the Cabrini Connections office.
Importance of programs offered by Cabrini Connections
The need for after-school programs has been well documented in the last decade – most notably in daily headlines. In December 1995, the group, Voices for Illinois Children released its 1995 Illinois Kids Count report, which advocates for the establishment of one-on-one relationships between adult role models and children in need, and uses Cabrini Connections as an example of the type of programs which should be duplicated. The following summaries also reinforce the conclusions of Voices for Illinois Children.
LOST OPPORTUNITIES DURING THE OUT-OF-SCHOOL HOURS
Each school day, America's 20 million young adolescents decide how they will spend at least five (40%) of their waking hours when they are not in school. For many, these hours harbor both risk and opportunity. On weekends and during the summer months, American youth have even greater amounts of discretionary time.
For those teenagers without adult supervision, the out-of-school hours constitute high-risk time for high-risk behavior. Young people left on their own or with peers stand a significantly greater chance of becoming involved in substance abuse, sexual activity leading to unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, crime, and violence than their peers who are engaged in constructive activities. For low-income adolescents, economic disadvantages and the stresses of life in their neighborhoods are exacerbated by the lack of places that provide safe havens, attractive opportunities, and trustworthy adults.
From A MATTER OF TIME, Risk and Opportunity in the Nonschool Hours. Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. Carnegie Corporation of New York, March 1993.
IT IS "IMPERATIVE THAT SOCIETY PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES… through which children can build the capacities and skills they need to function adequately as young people and later as adults. Over the long term, particularly for school-age and older children, the potential for social participation is often what sustains a child's effort to overcome obstacles."
From Redefining Child and Family Services: Directions for the Future",
by Joan Wynn, Joan Costello, Robert Halpern, and Harold Richman, Dec. 1992.
Cabrini Connections believes that after-school, tutoring/mentoring programs, where children work with adult role models in one-on-one and group activities, can be one means of giving children hope, support and learning tools, as well as building the self-esteem and confidence necessary for students to succeed in school. "The nation cannot afford to raise another generation of young adolescents without the supervision, guidance, and preparation for life that caring adults and strong community organizations once provided and again can provide." From A MATTER OF TIME, Risk and Opportunity in the Nonschool Hours.
A study of a total quality tutoring, mentoring and school-to-work program, the Quantum Opportunity Program, was released by the Center for Human Resources at Brandeis University in September 1995. This study reports that “it is possible to make a quantum difference in the lives of at-risk youth. …but it takes a critical mass of service, support, nurturing, incentives, creativity, caring, compassion, and especially patience.” This study reports that the “impacts on young people gain strength over time”.
A second study performed by Philadelphia-based Public/ Private Ventures (P/PV) shows that middle school-age boys and girls who meet regularly with an adult are much less likely to become involved with drugs and alcohol. They also do better in school and have better relationships with their peers than do non-mentored youth. The report, Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters by P/PV, also reports, that “it has to be done right to get those results. That means thorough screening and training of volunteers, careful matching and extensive supervision of the entire process.” This is exactly the type of information the T/MC gathers and shares in its effort to help tutor/mentor programs throughout Chicago build and improve the overall quality of tutor/mentor programs available.
These reports, along with the daily newspaper stories on street violence, poor school performance and poverty, emphasize the importance of prevention programs and support systems to help at-risk kids become productive adults. Cabrini Connections was established to bring together people and resources to provide such opportunities, in Cabrini-Green, and throughout the many neighborhoods of Chicago who have far less visibility and access to resources than has Cabrini-Green.
TUTOR/MENTOR CONNECTION'S LEADERSHIP TEAM
The Cabrini Connections board of directors now includes two women and five men – four are Caucasian, three are minority. Most of the organization's board members are active volunteers with its kids program, some having been tutors with students of Cabrini-Green for more than five years prior to joining the board. Each director is a financial contributor and each helps raise funds to support the program.
Cabrini Connections' president and CEO is not only a 22-year leader of tutor/mentor programs, but has broad management and marketing experience after 10 years as an advertising manager at Montgomery Ward. In 1996 he was recognized for his long career of achievement by receiving the David Kellum Award, “presented to organizations and individuals who serve as positive role models for youth of all races and who contribute outstanding services to the community,” and the MidAmerica Leadership Foundation’s Resourcing Leadership Award, presented to an adult who has made a significant impact by “providing or finding funds, materials, or volunteer and/or professional support for communities of need.”
Cabrini Connections has an extensive board development process, which builds upon the commitment of its volunteers to serve as tutors and mentors to Chicago’s youth. Raymond F. Dowdle, a 11-year volunteer, is serving his third full-year term as Chairman of the Board, while almost every other board member has been an active volunteer with one or more Kids’ Connection program for at least two years.
The organization’s staff is made up of three full-time employees, six part-timers and a growing number of interns from various universities. Most staff members have multiple-year business backgrounds and four have been volunteer tutor/mentors and organizers of program activities for Cabrini-Green students for 24, 12, 7 and 6 years.
Greatest Strength—Friend Building
The T/MC secret is partnership, based on mutual benefit to each partner organization. In each different stage of the T/MC process, different partners have helped and are helping leverage Cabrini Connections resources to impact afterschool learning in the entire city and beyond. In every case, whether a partner be a PR firm, a business association, a volunteer or another tutor/mentor program, the T/MC uses T/MC-generated maps to focus on the needs of kids in every high-poverty neighborhood—not just the most visible areas, such as Cabrini-Green. In each case the T/MC concentrates on helping the partner succeed and benefit in his/her part of the partnership, knowing that this success is what fuels further collaboration. T/MC results and the awards that it has received in the past year demonstrate that this strategy works.
One of the best examples of collaboration within this process is our work with the Chicago Bar Foundation. Since we began our partnership in June of 1994 the CBF has expanded this initiative to 1) raise money to fund programs —$60,000 awarded in past 12 months; 2) build an annual tutor/mentor week to raise awareness and help recruit volunteers; and 3) establish a Law Bridges program to recruit, train and place 10 teams of lawyers and judges with 10 different tutor/mentor programs; and 4) develop a “ticket” program which draws tickets for sports and cultural events to the CBF which sends them to students in tutor/mentor programs.
Additional collaboratives include arts collaboratives with The Joffrey Ballet (tickets), Organic Touchstone Theater Co. (tutor recruitment in their theater bulletins), and Chicago Academy for the Arts (student volunteer opportunities with Kids’ Connection), and a new initiative where the T/MC has helped a group named Involve!Chicago generate a tutor/mentor week party which drew 200 people and a $1,700 donation to the CBA’s Lend a Hand Fund.
Of course, our most important collaboration is with members of other tutor/mentor programs, such as Friends First and Working in the Schools, along with the Chicago Public Schools’ School Partners Program and faculty from University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola, Illinois Wesleyan and Northern Illinois Universities who have joined with Cabrini Connections to organize the two annual tutor/mentor conferences and the citywide recruitment campaign.
This type of collaboration is also a strength of the Kids’ Connection which we operate in Cabrini-Green. This effort is leveraged by our collaborations with the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Services, for our leadership college; Project LEAD, where we collaborate with 10 other Cabrini-Green youth agencies in a student-led leadership project; A Grassroots Aspen Experience, which led to two students spending a week in Colorado in August; and in the way we draw our volunteers into committees which build the events and programs which we incorporate into the regular schedule of activities our students participate in.
Cabrini Connections’ criteria for success is that each year the maps we produce show more tutor/mentor programs in each of the neighborhoods which have high poverty, but not enough programs. This information will be generated through the surveys we use to update the T/MC Directory.
We will evaluate each step of the process by tracking the responses to our invitations to gather and share information, to participate in volunteer recruitment campaigns, and to come to Cabrini Connections for information about tutoring, mentoring and school-to-work programs. We will also continue to track media placements, which increase the frequency and reach of our message, and dollars raised and allocated by the Chicago Bar Foundation to fund general operations of tutor/mentor programs in Chicago.
During 1996 the T/MC provided 26,958 units of service, vs 16,460 in 1995 and 11,155 in 1994. These include:
• Attendance at Leadership Conferences—225 attended the May Conference; 199 attended the November Leadership Conference
• Over 1,000 inquiries were logged at Access TV, Cabrini Connections, while 400 potential volunteers attended T/MC Volunteer Fairs. At least 10 Chicago-area companies promoted tutoring via E-mail and inter company communications.
• T/MC news stories appeared in a variety of newspapers, TV, Radio and public TV. Merri Dee of WGN promoted the T/MC recruiting fairs on WGN and in a variety or radio interviews.
• 672 one-on-one consultations (in person and over the phone) with individuals seeking to start or improve tutor/mentor programs, individuals networking to share information about programs, and/or with volunteers and/or parents seeking referrals
• T/MC Chicago Programs Directory sent to more than 4,000 program leaders, businesses, volunteer centers, and individuals
• T/MC Report, distributed to 5,500 program leaders, community leaders, schools and individual volunteers 4 times in 1996
In our own Kids’ Connection we will continue to track enrollment and participation rates. If we cannot attract students and volunteers to weekly afterschool tutor/mentor sessions, and keep them coming year-after-year, until they graduate, we will fail at every other goal we set. While we build participation, we will track advancement, aiming for students who participate in Cabrini Connections to have a lower high-school drop out rate than the average for Chicago Public Schools. We will monitor grades for each student, looking for grades to maintain or improve (understanding that each year it is more and more difficult for some students to just stay in school, let alone improve grade point averages). Finally, we will continue to look at graduation rates, and college and employment rates of our students (since most of our students were 7th and 8th grade students when we started Cabrini Connections first student program in January 1993, we only have a few students who have gone through the program and into college or work).
1996 T/MC Conference Planning/Advisory Committee
• Tim Henry - FRIENDS FIRST, Mercy Home for Boys & Girls (Co-Mgr.)
• Gena Schoen - Cabrini Connections (Co-Mgr.)
• Lizzie Caston - Family Resource Center
• Ashley Dearborn - Volunteer
• Carlos Drazen - University of Illinois at Chicago
• Julie Parish - Cabrini Connections
• Chuck Schroeck - Chicago Public Schools
• Tony Small - Science Linkages in the Community
• Rory Smith - Latino Youth
• Lattice Wallace - New City YMCA LEED Council
• Lesa Weinert - Youth Guidance
• Bernice White - New City YMCA LEED Council
• PUBLICITY/EDITORIAL OPINION
• MAP SAMPLES
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