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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Sharing Resonpsibility for Reducing Poverty
By nsbyrer @ 4:47 PM :: 3044 Views :: Article Rating
"My 15-year old son is being recruited by a gang. He is cutting school and failing his classes. He is o­n an IEP in school and receiving no additional tutoring or support. I know my son is at high risk of joining a gang. I would like direction to a support organization or mentor."

In too many parts of Chicago and other cities there will be no support for this mother because there are no tutor/mentor programs near where she lives, or the few that are there have no money to add additional students. Many don't have enough money to serve the kids they have.

At Cabrini Connections we have more than 90 teens o­n the roster, but due to shrinking revenue we have been cutting staff hours and other expenses for the past year. While we have received a DHS grant to help cover expenses, the paperwork and reporting requirements of the grant add mountains of paperwork and bureaucracy to our small staff (one full time and 3 part time people).

This leads to high staff turnover and a loss of consistency with teens and volunteers. This is no way to run a business, especially o­ne dedicated to helping kids stay in school and prepare for jobs and careers.

Yet unless donors come forward with funds to operate these programs, what else can organizations like Cabrini Connections do to keep our doors open for volunteers and kids to connect? Without the commitment leaders of these programs make to create a space for teens and volunteers to meet, mothers like the o­ne who contacted us have no place to seek this type of help.

This is not just a problem for Cabrini Connections. It is a problem for many youth serving organizations.

You can make a difference. Visit the Program Locator and Program LINKS and review the different tutor/mentor programs listed. Call some. Get to know them. Then make a commitment to provide 1 to 5% of your annual income to help o­ne or more programs succeed.

A 1992 Chicago Sun-Times editorial read, "7-Year Old's Death at Cabrini Requires Action. Demand it now! This isn't something you can let the other guy be indignant over. It's past time for you to take responsibility for solving the problems of Chicago."

If you have been blessed to not be o­ne of those living in poverty, you have the ability and the responsibility to be a partner with o­ne of Chicago's tutor/mentor programs. If you live in another city, you can help a Chicago program, the Tutor/Mentor Connection or programs in your own area. It is up to you to decide how much you can spare from your income or your wealth. However, o­nce you set your charitable budget, pick a program and stick with them until you die (or until they run out of kids to help).

And when you do depart this world, make sure you leave a bequest that continues your support of a tutor/mentor program like Cabrini Connections!

Your continued giving can make this a better world for those who follow.

Note: This is o­ne of many appeals we receive from parents looking for help. It's frustrating not to be able to find enough donors to support our work, or to make comprehensive tutor/mentor programs available in every poverty neighborhood.  Please join in the Discussion Forums to help change this.

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