In late February an intern from the School of Information at the University of Michigan spend a week working with Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection. Here's a blog post about that internship.
We're now recruiting interns from different colleges and universities to support our information and collaboration strategies. Below is a description of this process. If you would like to intern with Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection in one or more of the work categories described below, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explore ways for you to get involved.
Role of Summer Intern with Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection
Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection (CC, T/MC) is a small organization with a big vision. We live this quote every day in the way we collect and share information intended to help build more and better tutor/mentor programs in low-income inner-city neighborhoods. We lead an innovative strategy that works on three levels:
• we mentor hundreds of organizations in Chicago and around the country that provide tutoring/mentoring services to thousands of inner-city and at-risk youth
• we mentor and coach business, philanthropy, media, and other institutions to help them be more strategically involved with mentoring programs that aim to help youth move from poverty to careers
• we mentor teens and volunteers at a Cabrini-Green area program called Cabrini Connections
While the Cabrini Connections is a single, site based tutor/mentor program serving 70-80 7th to 12th grade teens from the Cabrini Green area of Chicago, the T/MC has been developing a comprehensive marketing/distribution strategy to support the growth of volunteer based programs like CC in all high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago. Through the Internet, we are learning from people from around the world, while sharing ideas that can be duplicated in other cities.
The T/MC has been creating a library of tutor/mentor program information to support this strategy since 1993. It began piloting marketing/pr actions to draw attention to this information and encourage idea sharing and collaboration among tutor/mentor programs in 1994. However, the T/MC did not begin to integrate the Internet into its actions until mid 1997. Since then, the T/MC has developed a variety of innovate, Internet-based strategies to mobilize public involvement and to distribute essential resources into tutor/mentor programs in every poverty neighborhood of Chicago. A search on Google under the key words "tutor mentor" results in T/MC web sites appearing in the first listings.
Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection (CC, T/MC) seeks the support of interns from the School of Information to “quicken the pace of its progress”.
These interns will support project management, knowledge collection and analysis, programming, software and hardware acquisition and will help the T/MC stretch the application of these technologies in its on-going commitment to expand the availability and quality of comprehensive mentoring-to-careers programs in Chicago and in other major cities. T/MC will share its learning and innovation with its corporate and university partners and the non profit community, making them available to tutor/mentor programs, community networks, and education, health and human service networks, throughout the nation.
Depending on the skills and experience level of interns, these are projects that a summer intern might work on:
· On-line Tutor/Mentor Learning Network – Knowledge is the T/MC's greatest asset. We are creating an internet based learning and information sharing system that draws from the best technology of businesses that are already building “knowledge libraries” and creating “just in time” access for any user. Interns will help collect and organize this information, maintaining data already on the http://www.tutormentorconnection.org site, and creating visual tools to help users know what information is available to them, and why it is important to a city, a business or university, or an individual tutor/mentor program.
· Collaboration - The T/MC has used its knowledge of tutor/mentor stakeholders to create an information sharing system that encourages the transfer of good ideas from one program to many programs, while encouraging stakeholders to connect in face-to-face and virtual forums with each other, and with the T/MC's library of "best practice" information. T/MC has built social networking sites and seeks to add state-of-industry collaboration tools to its technology offerings, along with staff to facilitate the interactions of organizations and information. Interns with knowledge of social network analysis, or with collaboration and communications skills would work in this area.
· Geographic Information Services (GIS) – The T/MC has piloted the use of maps and charts to create a visual information system that speeds understanding of complex issues and leads to a more consistent distribution of resources to all places where they are needed. T/MC seeks interns to work with this GIS platform to create a library of maps that can be used by business, universities, volunteers and donors to decide where to get involved, based on the location of a program, or a poverty neighborhood, in relation to a business, church, hospital or university. Interns working with the GIS project will create map view on demand to map current events, such as media stories about inner city violence or poorly performing schools.
· Public Awareness/Volunteer Donor Response – The T/MC has grown from an idea to an organization that recognized throughout the world as a resource for tutoring/mentoring leaders. This is the result of an on-going public awareness strategy that uses the knowledge and maps the T/MC creates to draw visibility, volunteers and dollars to all neighborhoods where tutor/mentor programs are needed. Interns who can create on-line video, flash, and other visual communications of T/MC messages will create media for distribution via Internet channels to increase the number of visitors to the Tutor/Mentor Learning Network and draw an increasing number of volunteers and donors to every program in the Chicago area.
· EVALUATION - T/MC has piloted on-line documentation and journey-mapping tools that show the impact of a virtual network such as the T/MC, as well as the long-term impact of tutoring/mentoring on youth and volunteers who participate in such programs.
At Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection we've piloted this thinking on two levels. In 2000 we began to create an Organizational History and Tracking System (T/MC OHATS) to document actions the T/MC takes to achieve its goals. You can review this at http://www.tutormentorprogramlocator.net/svhats/default.asp . At http://www.pflaws.com you can review a new version of the T/MC OHATS with a METRICS page that summarizes the data being collected. We seek an intern who can work with this data to help create better understanding of the impact the T/MC is having.
A second version of the OHATS, focused on the student and volunteer journey in the Cabrini Connections program, SVHATS, was started in 2003. An intern might work with the current SVHATS to add automated information aggregation and reporting features. The initial SVHATS was developed by an intern during fall 2003. While he was able to build the information input systems, funds were not available to continue fine-tuning the system to encourage youth and volunteer use, nor to add the aggregation and reporting features, or survey features, that would enable staff and evaluators to more easily view the data in report form, thus increasing uses of the information for analysis and process improvement. We feel that in a one-week internship, some of these components could be developed and added to the system. SVHATS was developed as a web interface using Microsoft technologies that allow students and volunteers to document their interaction/experiences and day to day activities.
Summary: The technology strategy of CC, T/MC is broad, and constantly being improved by the talent and time of volunteers who work with us. Within this strategy there are a variety of different information-based projects. Thus, potential interns can align their own interests, and skills, with specific parts of this strategy, and thus have a significant impact on the work of Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, as well as on their own learning.