Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Heather Coleman

Veteran Cabrini Connections volunteer, Heather Coleman, has been with our program for over 5 years! She found our program via a google search while she was looking for a meaningful way to tutor a youth. She hasn’t looked back since. She’s currently in her 4th year of tutoring/mentoring with Lincoln Park High School Junior Dijana Smith. Since they have known each other for so long and have worked to build their relationship, Heather can help Dijana navigate the complex web of academic, social and personal challenges that she faces as she begins to think about life after high school. Since stability is so important for youth, we’d like to point out that in the rare case that Heather can’t make it to tutoring, she always arranges for someone else to attend in her place so that Dijana is guaranteed a caring substitute mentor for the evening.

Heather herself is a University of Indiana alumna, but Dijana is thinking more about staying in Chicago and going to DePaul University, though a part of her wants to leave her hometown for a little change of scenery, perhaps in Atlanta. Either way, Heather is committed to helping her find her way and achieve the goals they both know Dijana can attain. For now they’re trying to figure out which of Dijana’s many interests she should pursue in college. Here, Dijana’s interests in education, psychology, cooking and fashion all compete for her time and future. However, over their frequent dinners of chicken wings and French fries at Buffalo Wild Wings, we’re sure that Heather won’t steer Dijana astray.

Being a manager at Morningstar Inc, a financial services company, Heather is hoping her leadership skills are rubbing off on Dijana, since she considers herself lucky to be keeping up with Dijana’s rapidly improving math abilities! For now, Heather is happy to be in such a strong mentoring relationship with Dijana and glad to be in a situation where she can make a positive difference in a child’s life.

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