Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Courtland Madock

This week we’d like to bring one of our “behind the scenes” volunteers to the fore, and give her the recognition she deserves for all her hard work and commitment to our program.  In her 5 years volunteering at Cabrini Connections, Courtland Madock has mentored 3 students, including Diara Fleming, who will be graduating from Northern Illinois University this year with a degree in Family and Child Nutrition Services and aspirations to attend nursing school in the fall.  After working together at Cabrini Connections during Diara’s Junior year, they developed a strong enough mentoring relationship so that when Diara couldn’t attend the program her senior year because she got a job working for Cabrini Green Tutoring Program, they still stayed connected and were able to work together to guarantee Diara’s admission to college.  Courtland describes her relationship with Diara as “super close, she’s like family”.  Even today, they still talk a half dozen or so times a week!

Courtland is no stranger to reaching out to others in need, in fact she grew up surrounded by foster children in her own house growing up.  During her college years at the University of Iowa she mentored 3 kids through Big Brothers Big Sisters.  However, these days her biggest contribution to our youth is the role she plays as the coordinator of our Annual Year-End Dinner.  She started helping to organize the event 5 years ago and has been the primary coordinator for the last 3.  For Courtland the year-end dinner is one of the highlights of her year.  In her view it’s a great event because it “brings a very unique group together who wouldn’t otherwise come together”. She’s always happy to see the way students, volunteers, staff, donors, family and friends can mingle at the year-end dinner, connected by their participation in Cabrini Connections.  Unlike some of our other events, Courtland prides herself on the fact that the focus is on the kids, not wooing corporate sponsors or big donors.  Despite this, last year’s event managed to raise $13,000 for our program, something she’s working hard to repeat this year!  We agree with Courtland when she says that the event is getting better and better each year and that this is in large part due to the fact that she gains more and more knowledge and expertise each year, so that she is able to focus on the little things that make the event great rather than worrying about basics such as getting food or searching for a suitable space to hold the event. Additionally, due to the marketing savvy she’s gained at her job managing product strategy for US Cellular and the Kellogg MBA coursework that fills her nights, Courtland clearly has what it takes to pull off a big event like our Year-End Dinner.  We’re so happy that she’s taken such a leadership role and has been able to put her unique talents to use.  Now come see all her hard work in person by attending our Year-End Dinner, which will take place from 5:30-8 on June 4th at 1111 N Wells.   See you there!

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