The following is a guest entry to my blog by Dan Bassill of Cabrini Connections:
School starts in a few weeks and volunteer-based organizations all over the country are beginning to look for people who will share time, talent and dollars to help them connect with at-risk kids who need help in college preparation and completion..
I've been blogging with Suzanne Morse, of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, and today the title of her blog is New Wiki Articles on Dropout Projects, Mentoring, and Youth Engagement (http://smartcommunities.typepad.com/suzanne/2007/07/new-wiki-articl.html
). I encourage you to visit the Act Now section of the Best Practices wiki(http://www.learningtofinish.org/doku.php?id=act_now
) and look for ways that you can incorporate these ideas into company communications, your United Way campaign, or in sermons and media reports.
Now that school is fast approaching, I want to share some ideas with you that I hope teachers at high schools and colleges all over the couuntry will try to integrate into teaching and learning and service opportunities for students who don't live in poverty, but could be helping draw resources to tutor/mentor programs.
Below are links to some weblogs (blogs) written by student volunteers working with Cabrini Connections
- this is written by a 2007 graduate of Northwestern, who is serving a one year fellowship with Cabrini Connections
- this blog was started in 2006 by an intern from Hong Kong Baptist University, who was with Cabrini Connections from June to August 2006. This summer Paul Wei, our second HKBU intern has added to it.
- this blog is written by a local college student who helps with the Tutor/ Mentor Leadership Conferences
- this blog is written by a volunteer who meets weekly with Cabrini Connections teens. It shares the writing that the teens are doing.
Each of these is a writing project that could be a service, learning and leadership development activity. As the Hong Kong student blog illustrates, the blog can be owned by successive groups of students going through high school and college. As the Learning to Finish Wiki illustrates, people from many places can contribute to building a strategy used by people from many other places.
As more students contribute to such blogs, and wiki, and web sites like http://www.tutormentorconnection.org/
, they will build a more complex understand poverty, and learn to use their own skills and leadership to draw volunteers and donors to mentoring-to-career youth programs in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, London, Hong Kong and every other city in the world.
Once you begin to write about tutor/mentor programs, your next step is to point to links that help people shop for where they get involved. I encourage you to use the Program Locator and Program Links sections of the http:// http://www.blogger.com/www.tutormentorconnection.org
T/MC web site, as well as national volunteer search engines, to find programs near where you work or live.
I encourage others to write about this idea and build it into their teaching and learning strategies for 2007-08 and beyond.
What we do now to help volunteers connect with kids, can help prevent drop outs, gang violence, and make a lifetime of difference for kids who have too few adult supports and learning activities in their own personal network.