Happy New Year to you all and Happy Birthday to Vance.
Throughout the past two years as I've participated in e-Conferences with you
and read the many messages coming through the eGroup, I've been constantly
amazed with the many different ways you are adopting various communications
and learning technologies to your teaching, learning and networking efforts.
I'm also impressed with how much you help each other learn new ideas.
As you know I lead the Tutor/Mentor Connection, based in Chicago. The T/MC
started in 1993 because I also lead a site based tutor/mentor program that
connects inner city teens with workplace volunteers. It's called Cabrini
Connections and you can see what we do at http://www.cabriniconnections.net.
At Cabrini Connections we were a small, poorly funded charity, trying to
solve a huge problem. What the T/MC has done is build a library of examples
showing how others have tried to solve the same program, and a network of
people who could be working together to solve problems that benefit all
tutor/mentor programs. To me this process could be duplicated for any form
of problem solving and capacity building. All it takes is a small group of
people to build and maintain the information base and the network. That's
what Vance and a few of you have done to build WebHeads.
Since many of you focus on education, I'd like to ask for your help in
developing an opportunity at Cabrini Connections:
In many different ways I think our collective challenge is to try to find
ways to turn youth into active learners, and then to support and guide their
learning as they move through school and into careers. I'd be rich if I had
a magic pill or a simple, one size fits all solution, to do this.
However, I keep trying to find better ways just as you do.
I've often said, if I could combine all the different strengths of the
entire group of webheads, or of the people on other discussion groups such
as the Digigital Divide Network and the
, into one person, this would be
the type of person I'd want to hire to lead the e-learning and innovation
programs at Cabrini Connections.
I already have 16 new PCs, 4 eMacs, a DSL network, Digital Cameras, space to
meet and nearly 70 7th to 12th grade teens and 85 workplace volunteers at
Cabrini Connections. In December I received a $30,000 grant from HSBC to add
a "technologist" to improve the use of our technology to enhance the
learning, skills development and mentoring done throug the Technology Center
at Cabrini Connections. This is not a huge sum. However, it enables me to
add a key person to my staff.
I'd like your help in creating a job description, and finding a candidate.
Below is my vision for this person. If this resonates with you, or if you
have a job description that describes what I'm describing, or better yet, if
you know someone who would be ideal for this and would love to develop the
job and share it with other tutor/mentor programs via the Tutor/Mentor
Connection, please send me your ideas.
Daniel F. Bassill
800 W. Huron
Chicago, Il. 60622
Instead of writing about the skills I'm looking for, I've written my vision
for what the HSBC Technology Center at Cabrini Connections accomplishes.
The person we hire will have responsibility for turning this vision into
on-going, age appropriate programs that your can participate in from 7th
through 12th grade and for connecting our youth and volunteers via the
Internet with youth, volunteers and learning opportunities from around the
This Center will combine concepts of community service, youth leadership,
experiential learning, work force development and one-on-one and group
mentoring in an on-going program intended to have the following outcomes for
youth who participate for 3 or more years. Youth will join us in 7th grade
and participate in this curriculum through high school (and possibly
Youth (and volunteers) will learn to learn, think and problem solve, using
the Internet as a tool.
Youth (and volunteers) will learn to connect with others, share information,
network and provide leadership to the Tutor/Mentor movement by learning how
to use various Internet based applications and communications technologies
to gather information and tell stories
Youth will learn the Core Values of service, learning and innovation modeled
by leaders such as Cesar Chavez through their on-going participation in the
programs offered at the HSBC Tech Center at Cabrini Connections.
As youth build habits of learning and skills of communicating, they will
apply these skills in age-appropriate community service, internships, part
time jobs and youth apprentice programs that focus on the leadership
activities of Cabrini Connections and the Tutor/Mentor Connection.
As youth participate in the programs offered at the HSBC Tech Center at
Cabrini Connections they will explore diverse career opportunities and will
meet people in these industries who will become tutors, mentors, coaches,
employers and advocates to help our youth move to jobs and careers.
Among the communications tools that youth will learn to use will be web site
building, blogs, internet radio and video conferencing, desk top publishing,
GIS and Mind Mapping, etc. On an ongoing basis youth will use these skills
to show what they are doing at Cabrini Connections and in the HSBC Youth
Technology Center at Cabrini Connections, thus drawing new volunteers and
donors to support the program, while providing information that others can
use to duplicate the HSBC Tech Center in other locations.
Thus, while students (and volunteers) learn to apply communications and
problem solving skills, they will also being doing community service as
leaders and advocates for tutor/mentor programs. If we can develop a
curriculum that offers these learning opportunities every year from 7th
grade to 12th grade, I think kids will graduate with a huge sense of
purpose, and with skills needed to be leaders in any activity or job they
want to pursue. They also will be part of an expanded network of workplace
volunteers who can and will arrange job interviews and open doors to careers
for these kids.
To turn this vision into a reality, Cabrini Connections needs to find
people who can structure experiential learning activities, teach kids the
technical skills of doing web pages, blogs, videos, etc., and then teach
them to share their experiences in tutor/mentor programs through these
communications medium for the purpose of building greater participation of
youth and adults and donors in programs like Cabrini Connections.
We're looking for people (interns, volunteers, staff) who understand what
I'm talking about, have internet communications skills (e.g. they can build
a web page, host a blog, create a webquest, etc.) and who can turn it into
weekly activities that youth and volunteers will be motivated to participate
in. We'll hire one staff person (20 hours per week to start) who will do
the research and planning to develop this concept, and who will recruit and
train volunteers to act as leaders, teachers and mentors in this on-going
If you have a job description for the type of position I've described,
please email it to me. If you know of a person who has the skills and
experience, and the motivation, and who would want to help develop this
concept, as that person to email a letter of introduction and resume (or
just email me to ask questions) to:
Daniel F. Bassill
800 W. Huron
Chicago, Il. 60622
Thank you for your help. I hope to have someone hired by mid February and to
have programs running by June 2006.
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