Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Contributor, The College Program hits the Internet

Greetings to Chris' loyal readers. My name is Carla Reyes and I would like to introduce myself as a new contributor to Chris' PIP blog. Like Chris, I am also a Northwestern grad and participating in the PIP fellowship. My PIP placement as a research associate at the Civic Federation has me focusing on public finance and policy by day. However, by night I am a volunteer with Cabrini Connections' College Program.

I plan to contribute posts about the College Program and its progress in addition to posts about mentoring with a college prep focus. I would like to share the program's story, challenges and triumphs and also discuss strategies for building a college prep component into a tutoring and mentoring organization.

Before I start contributing to the blog I would like to provide some background on the College Program:

* The College Program is the brainchild of Jen Nolan, a Cabrini Connections tutor/mentor, attorney and die-hard Illinois basketball fan. Jen worked with students applying to college in the 2007-2008 school year, but envisioned that the College Program could work with more students and provide more services.
* Jen, the Cabrini Connections staff and I created the College Program's current structure. The program currently works with students of all grade levels on a rotating basis. Any student can sign up to speak with a college mentor during tutoring time and college mentors alternate meeting with all students of a certain grade level every week to address their specific needs. For example, college mentors are currently meeting with all Juniors on a one-on-one basis every week during February to address their ACT prep needs and to answer any college related questions these students might have.
* The program has two college tutors: myself and Stephanie Rogers, a soon-to-be graduate of Westwood College and native Chicagoan.

I would like to thank Chris, for setting up this wonderful blog and for challenging me and Jen to build this new program. Thanks are also deserved for my colleagues at Cabrini Connections, EL Da'She On Nix and Nicole White, for all their help in building this program. My never ending gratitude also goes to Stephanie Rogers, my fellow college mentor, for jumping into the program and not missing a beat.

Finally, hats off to Jen Nolan, for creating this program and providing her support. Stephanie and I are working to execute your vision every week. I hope we can still be friends when Northwestern beats Illinois on Thursday.

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