Thursday, September 17, 2009

Archive of 2008-09 articles -

This blog will not be used to post new articles but contains many useful articles written in 2008-09. The Tags to the Right do not work, so we have listed useful articles, with links, below.

1/20/-09 Cool Cash Introduction. The following articles were posted each week from January through May, and students were encouraged to view the T/MC library, look at these and other links, then post comments about what they found in the Cabrini Connections StudentVolunteer collaboration portal.

1/21/09 - Science, Math, Engineering, homework help links

2/2/09 - homework help; writing links

2/9/09 - Black History Month links

2/18/09 - Social Science learning links

3/4/09 - literature and arts activities

3/10/09 - college and career planning

3/17/09 - college and career web links

3/20/09 - college resources

3/27/09 - blogs on philanthropy, mentoring, networking, learning

3/27/09 - blogs and forums on education

4/3/09 - Business involvement and diversity resources

4/10/09 - Choose your future/career planning

4/17/08 - Street Gangs - many students commented on this

4/28 - Summer Activities for youth

5/6/09 - Leadership Strategies

5/13/09 - Networking and Fund Raising

5/20/09 - Social Capital links

Additional blog articles of interest

12/16/08 - introduction to new Student Volunteer Collaboration Portal

Tutor/Mentor Exchange - new site launched

11/25/08 - reflections from Nov. 08 Tutor/Mentor Conference

6/3/09 - reflections on Tutor/Mentor Conference

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ideas, work and results

Another Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference has come and gone and… it was a huge event. It was a chance to participate in a variety of interesting workshops, discuss new ideas (and how to make the old ideas work better) with old and new colleagues.

How barbers can help after-school programs was a presentation held by Mr. Ishmael Alamin, Owner of the Hyde Park Hair Salon, the Official Barbershop of President Barack Obama. Barbershops are social places where people come regularly. No matter your income or what your political favorites are, you have to come to a barber shop. For example, as a Presidential candidate candidate, Barack Obama traveled each week to the Hyde Park Hair Salon for a trim.

And, since barbershops are where discussions start about everything and anything, why shouldn’t we be inspiring discussions about the value of tutor/mentor programs? – asked Mr. Ishmael Alamin. In his barbershop, thought-provoking maps of the availability of tutoring/mentoring programs are on the wall and brochures about tutor/mentor programs are in the reception area. What a great way to start a discussion about how each of us can help!

Twitter - How It Can Benefit Tutoring and Mentoring Programs was the last workshop, presented by Mrs. Lovette Ajayi. To twitter or not to twitter, that is the question no? Come on; don’t tell me that you’ve never tried Twitter or some other micro-blogging application. It is fun and it can be very valuable. Mrs. Ajayi has 651 twitter followers. Therefore, whenever she twitters, 651 people receive that message. I know, some of us have newsgroups with much more e-mail addresses, but practice says that only 2-5% of receivers actually read those messages. Therefore 651 is a huge number. How to twitter and how to generate so many followers… well, you were supposed to come to the Conference. As an alternative, you can attend the 2009 Making Media Connections Conference, to find about new media formats like Twitter and how to use them.

Impact Evaluation: From Basics to Best Practices, presented by Jenny Ellis Richards, was an excellent introduction into planning and results evaluation. Everything we do, we do to achieve some specific results. Impact or results are not just a bureaucrats’ wish, but the reason why each institution exists, why each of us is coming to a job or to a school. Right?

To evaluate the results, Mrs. Richards uses a Theory of Change methodology. A Theory of Change is a logic model for program; it is a picture of why your program should succeed. It is called ‘theory’ – because it has to be evaluated, improved on daily basis. Very interesting and very useful – just as many other workshops at the Conference.

Program of Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference is available at I encourage you to check it and think about the next conference – in the autumn. Will you come?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Social Capital

Summer… just that word makes me feel relaxed, makes me think about vacation time, think about time with my friends, family, neighbors. During the school year we are all busy; school/work, daily duties – so some of us forget how it is important to have a good connection with people in our network, how it is beneficial to have a big network, how it is good to be able to reach people in other networks. That is why we should invest time during summer in our social capital.

What is social capital? Social capital is the connections within and between social networks. Something like glue that holds our society and institutions/groups together. Just as a printer (physical capital) or an education (human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so do social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups.

For example, if we have a task to do something, and thru our social network we can reach people who can provide us with ‘know how’ to solve that task, the task will become ‘a piece of cake’. Furthermore, social relationships and the social environments of school, family, and neighborhood influence students with respect to school performance. It influences adults too.

So, what do you plan to do with your social capital?

A few nice articles about social capital are linked in Tutor/Mentor Exchange Links Library: T/MC Links Library : Research, Resources : Social Capital

So, let’s check a few of them.

Social Capital article at (a site dedicated to promote and support INFormal EDucation) is a great way to start. The article ( provides all the most important data about social capital in plain English. Social capital for starters, Types of social capital, The decline in social capital, The benefits of social capital are just a few of interesting sections of that article. Find more about social capital at:

A New Conceptualization of Social Capital is an article that attempts to improve the conceptualization of social capital by incorporating a number of new factors that have previously not been considered

Read more at:

Conceptualizing Social Capital among Young People is an article written by Nicole J. Schaefer-McDaniel and focused on new theoretical framework of social capital among young people.

The author describes social capital among young people to consist of three components:

  1. Social networks/interactions and sociability;
  2. Trust and reciprocity; and
  3. Sense of belonging/place attachment.

Find more about beneficial outcomes of social capital at

What are your thoughts about those articles? Of course, you can fine much more links about social capital at T/MC Links Library : Research, Resources : Social Capital

I am very enthusiastic about your comments here or at Cool Links and Cool Cash >> Social capital,

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Networking & Fund Raising

Last week we had 28 posts in Cool Links – Cool Cash. Fantastic! It is the second time we’ve had participation over 20%. Great job and great posts!
So, let’s continue, let’s make even better results this week. Right?
And, do not forget that Cabrini students will be rewarded with $2 for each post!
OK; ready?

This is a fundraising week - we will have a Fundraising meeting for volunteers on Wednesday and Thursday. Therefore let’s check out the Networking and Fund Rising category in the Links Library (T/MC Links Library : Event Information : Networking & Fund Raising) is a blog about social policy and poverty in America maintained by Scott W. Allard - an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. Professor Allard is a passionate supporter of the social safety net.

What it the social safety net? The social safety net refers a collection of services which prevent individuals from falling into poverty beyond a certain level. For example, if single mother unable to work has several children, she and all her kids can be caught up in the hopelessness of extreme poverty.

However, by receiving money to support her children, along with universal health care and free education, she and the society (social safety net!) can provide her and children a better chance at becoming successful members of society, a better chance to become successful taxpayers…

In his blog Professor Allard wrote:

With more than 50 million Americans living near or below the poverty line and need on the rise, it becomes important to have an accurate grasp of what the safety net is, how it functions, and where the gaps in assistance are most severe. The written work presented here address challenges facing today's safety net.
Find more at: is an online magazine devoted to charity events, volunteering and philanthropy in the USA. At this moment has 6 editions for 6 USA cites – including Chicago. serves as a volunteering and philanthropy stock market. You can search for charity events or volunteering opportunities or you can promote your own volunteering event.

Find out more at

The Social Marketing Institute is being created to advance the science and practice of social marketing. Social marketing is a marketing process where the primary goal is ‘social good’. In classical, 'commercial marketing' the goal is primarily 'financial'. For example, Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection marketing strategy is focused on marketing of mentoring programs – because each mentoring program is a social good that benefit kids’ lives and communities.

Find more about social marketing and the Social Marketing Institute at:

What are your thoughts about these sites, about these issues?

I am very enthusiastic about your comments; here or in the Cool Links and Cool Cash forum.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Leadership Strategies

Leadership is one of the most important aspects of the organizational context. Where to go, how, who, what for… are just a few of questions challenging leaders. Leadership can be a role of one prominent person or role of groups, associations or even whole countries can be leaders. Each of us can/should be a leader as an individual or can be a member of a group that is leading school, club, corporation or… world into the better future.

In Cabrini Connections, we are trying to nurture future leaders; leaders that will help us build a society where everybody has a chance, where success is a choice – not something young people will or will not inherit from their immediate surroundings; a society that helps the development of each individual – to her/his full potential.

Here are a bunch of very interesting Leadership Strategies, which are well described at
Can you check a few of them and send your comments. What do you think about those strategies?
Do you know a leader you would commend or… what would you do/are you doing as a leader?

I am very enthusiastic about your comments!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Summer is coming…

Summer is coming
OK, OK, summer officially starts June 21st, so we have more than a month to go. But… that is not a reason not to think about what you will be doing this summer right? For example you can have a rest – spend the whole day in bed, or you can have fun with friends & family. Maybe you can even travel… If you are an adult – you will probably have 10 vacation days and it probably will not be enough time to do everything you want to accomplish. But, what if you are a student and you have almost 3 months (June 12 – September 07) for summer vacation. Hmmm, maybe you can try a summer job: earn some experience, earn some money, and make a few new friends. Good combination; right?

So let’s check resources for summer jobs we have linked in Links Library.

Youth Ready Chicago. For example the program connects young people, ages 14 - 24, with internships, apprenticeships and jobs within Chicago’s public and private business sectors. You can get hands-on experience, gain marketable skills, see how you like a specific job, and of course – you can earn some cash. It is always good to have a little bit more money, but if it is money you earned through your own hard work – that is something special right?

Jobs For Youth-Chicago is a free program for teens and young adults ages 17 to 24.
It is a bit different that Youth Ready Chicago because you must have either a high school diploma or a GED and there is a 3 hour assessment test at the onset. Find more at:

What about adults? Do we have a program to teach them how to organize the summer jobs how to work with kids?

Youth Work Matters! is part of the University of Minnesota Extension Services. Program provides a highly interactive and very interesting online course that will help you understand youth and work with youth better.

The idea behind this program is that:

Our work with youth - both volunteer and professional - needs to come from an informed, intentional way of understanding their lives and the ways we support and promote their growth.
Sounds logical and worthy of research. Right?
Find out more at
You can get enrolled in a course in less than a minute.

Check it out and send your comments; are you planning on working this summer?, can you recommend another resource, and what do you think about aforementioned sites?

I am very enthusiastic about your answers, here or at >> Summer is coming… ?



Friday, April 17, 2009

Street Gangs

The future is already here - it is just unevenly distributed. That was the message from the previous post.

So what is your future? What about the future of kids you saw yesterday fighting on the street?

Yes, gangs pose a significant threat to community safety. Furthermore, they are a terrifying threat for the future of kids who are or may become gang members. Right?

So, what are we doing about it?

Now when a very successful community organizer on the South Side of Chicago is the President of the USA – we can see a new federal approach to America's high-poverty areas. Check for example

That document states that:

Obama and Biden support innovative local programs, like the CeaseFire program in Chicago, which implement a community-based strategy to prevent youth violence and have been proven effective.

A link to the CeaseFire website is available at our Links Library; in the Gangs section:

Links Library >> Law, Justice, Poverty and Prevention >> Street Gangs.

Therefore, let’s say a few words about those links and the challenges of gang violence prevention.

CeaseFire is the first initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention. It collaborates with community-based organizations to reduce and prevent violence. CeaseFire relies on community leaders such as outreach workers, faith leaders, profit and nonprofit organizations to intervene in conflicts, or potential conflicts, and promote alternatives to violence. Of course, CeaseFire cooperates with police and promotes the message that shootings and violence are not acceptable. Finally, it calls for the strengthening of communities so they become capable of controlling and responding to issues that affect them.

Find more at:

The BUILD Model is designed to develop personal competencies, strengthen commitment to education and community service, and as a result develop stable, productive members and leaders in their communities.

Therefore, if a young person is encountering risk factors like gangs, violence, substance abuse, truancy, poor academic performance she/he/they can be recruited to BUILD Core Groups, where they are engaged in activities designed to reduce risk-taking behaviors, set and reach educational and career goals and promote positive impact on community.

Find more at:

Crime maps. If you are interested in maps of crimes in Chicago, you can check or

How do you like it? Which do you prefer: the CeaseFire program or the BUILS Model?

There are much more links. Please check them out: Links Library >> Law, Justice, Poverty and Prevention >> Street Gangs.

And of course, send us your comments at: SVHATS Forums >> Cool Links and Cool Cash >> Street Gangs.