Wednesday, May 23, 2007

5-16, Writing for year-end dinner!

This week, we started brainstorming about what we want to say at the year-end dinner! Jen led the meeting and had the girls come up with memories we've created in the group and talk about what the group means to them. She started with a one-line description of the group and passed the paper around. Each member wrote a tidbit describing the group in their own words. We'll be using this as a springboard to work on poems that members will perform!!

5-9, Letters of Change

Last week we had one of our most inspirational meetings. We had never seen members so focused and passionate about an activity! The focus of the day was how we could write to make change in the world. We talked about the power of the written word and how our own words could get things done, help us achieve things, help us help others, and get "things" (like the donations we've been getting....anything we've gotten donated to us was the result of using words and letters to put our message out there!). We wanted the kids to find issues that they wanted to fight for and use their own words to make change.

To figure out what everyone was passionate about, we started out with the question: "What bothers you in your life?" The girls had a LOT to say, and they all listened with respect to everyone's ideas. Some of the issues girls brought up were things at home (miscommunication, wanting closer relationships with family members) and things at school (the way teachers talked "down" to them, the lack of care they've seen in some of their authorites, etc..). We talked about how to approach these issues productively and talked about possible avenues of change.

Tonight we picked up from last week's conversations and figured out a place to start. Several members suggested writing letters to teachers that have inspired them. We figured starting with the positive things in life was a good route, and so we wrote....Members wrote letters to past or present teachers, which we mailed as an end of the year gift! The more we talk about issues affecting the girls, we hope to find a collective cause that we can address....with our words, and down the road, our actions.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

5-2, Blog Exchange

5-2, Blog Exchange

Dan recently pointed out a Vermont mentoring program that cited our blog (and the Cabrini Connections main blog) as an example of what blogs can accomplish! The Three River Valley Regional Business Education Partnership mentoring programs creates diverse mentoring opportunities such as facilitating weekly lunches/meeting with mentors and youth, giving youth the chance to spend time with senior citizens, and matching mentors with juveniles who’ve committed crimes, to ensure that they get on the right path. Marie Gelineau, Executive Director, and her staff are publicizing their efforts to reach out on their new blog @ We are thrilled to have a blog connection, and we’d like to share some of the great things that our blog has helped us to accomplish.

(1) Showcasing student work! Our group is of course 100% voluntary, and we’ve been amazed at the kids’ high level of enthusiasm! As we build a community, we’ve tried to create fun and meaningful activities for the kids….as we help them focus on different writing tasks, they’ve produced some amazing work. We’ve posted their work on the blog and talked to them about what it means when their work goes “public” (you can search their names on google and the blog shows up). This gives the kids a sense of accomplishment and encourages them to be more focused.

(2) Showing potential donators what we’re about! As we’ve reached out to the community and asked for donations, we always cite our blog! It helps give a “face” the kids’ efforts, as well as gives a sense of professionalism to our group. The more people that visit our blog, the more resources we can garner. We’ve written letters to newspapers and local restaurants and talked to anyone and everyone about our group! The blog is a tangible means of showing what we do.

(3) Creating connections with other mentors. The blog helps us create relationships and opens up communication lines with other mentors and volunteers (in Cabrini Connections and other mentoring programs). When face-to-face meetings and interactions aren’t possible, the blog indirectly opens up communication lines :).