Friday, October 31, 2008

Volunteer Spotlight: Carolyn Grunst

This May Carolyn Grunst moved into one of the new housing developments in the Cabrini Green neighborhood. Curious about the neighborhood and eager to find a way to engage with local youth Carolyn and her boyfriend, fellow 1st year tutor Mitch Holzrichter gave Cabrini Connections a call, seeking to get involved. Carolyn dove right in and, despite being her first year in our program, she has been working with her student, Malina Tate like a veteran youth worker. Remarkably, Malina is the first student that she has ever tutored! Since the start of the program this year, Carolyn has taken Malina, who is in the 8th grade not only to see the White Sox, but also to numerous high school visits and information sessions to ensure that Malina gets into a high school that will challenge and inspire her, rather than her underperforming neighborhood high school. Carolyn has been proactive, meeting with Malina’s teachers, and school guidance counselors to ensure that they are addressing her needs.

Carolyn, who just received her law degree from the prestigious University of Michigan Law School, is currently working as an attorney at the firm of Bell, Boyd and Lloyd, where she specializes in real estate law. Of her numerous projects, she enjoys her public- private work the most, projects where she works to bring new infrastructure projects, things like public transit and clean water, to neighborhoods that lack these fundamental resources.

Since Malina wants to be a lawyer as well, following in her mentor’s footsteps, building a relationship with Carolyn will give her valuable insights on the field of law and give her an enlightened perspective of what it takes to be a lawyer, beginning now in the 8th grade! This is an incredible opportunity for Malina and she is extremely excited to be paired up with such a dynamic and caring mentor.

Besides serving as a role model for Malina , Carolyn has encouraged Malina to follow in her footsteps and document everything they do on SVHATS, both during tutoring sessions and outside of tutoring. This will help the two of them, as well as Cabrini Connections staff, track their progress as Malina begins to search for employment, colleges and enter a career.

We are so thankful for volunteers like Carolyn who jump right in and take advantage of all the resources that we have to offer here at Cabrini Connections, taking initiative and working to build a meaningful relationship with their students right off the bat! Thanks Carolyn! We’re glad you’re with us!

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