Thursday, October 22, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Mitch Holzrichter

Mitch Holzrichter, originally from Geneva, IL, a western suburb of Chicago, graduated from Northwestern University in 2005 with degrees in Political Science and Economics. Because he had earned so much college credit in high school, he was able to graduate from Northwestern in just three years. This enabled him to spend his senior year as an intern in Washington, D.C., working on transportation policy for the Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert, with whom he had interned twice prior.

Mitch later attended The University of Michigan Law School and in July of 2008 he passed the bar examination (a test to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law). He is now an attorney at Mayer Brown LLP, a leading global law firm with offices in key business centers across the Americas, Asia and Europe. They have 1800 lawyers worldwide, approximately 500 of which are in Chicago. Mitch works as a transactional attorney in the practice area of government. His job is to negotiate a deal between two entities, one of which is the government; document that deal; and legislate if necessary (go to the government for approval via laws, resolutions, ordinances, etc.).

Mitch likes his job a lot because he has always had an interest in government and politics. But it turns out he was able to cultivate two interests at The University of Michigan - law and love. Mitch met his fiance, fellow Cabrini Connections mentor Carolyn Grunst, in law school. They will be getting married on October 2nd, 2010. We wish them all the best. Congratulations!

Carolyn is actually the one who brought Mitch to Cabrini Connections after she discovered our program on the Internet. They live in the area and wanted to volunteer in their own neighborhood, so our program was a perfect fit. They signed up as a 2-on-2 and were matched with 8th graders Charles Kilpatrick and Malina Tate. Mitch and Carolyn subsequently went through the high school applications process with them, and now, a year later, Charles and Malina are freshman at Muchin College Prep, a campus of Noble Street Charter School, located in the heart of Chicago at 1 N. State Street.

Mitch is regularly in touch with Charles' teachers and advisers, his mother, and, most of all, Charles himself. They have truly made the most of their relationship. Some tips Mitch has for other mentors are:
  • Be productive - work with your mentee on productive activities
  • Meet off-site - time outside of the program can be helpful for getting to know your mentee
  • 2-on-2 - work with another pair to liven up the dynamic
Mitch has spent all but one year of his life in the Chicagoland area, so we expect him to be around for awhile. "It's probably the most well-rounded city in the country," he says. "It's a good place to have a career; it has a diverse economy; and it has the lakefront" - all great things! Thanks for joining our team, Mitch. You're one of our star players!

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