Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Mugeria

Catherine Mugeria grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. She says it is a great country with better (than Chicago) weather and beautiful scenery. Her parents still live there while her sister lives in the United Kingdom and her brother lives in Florida.

After high school, Catherine moved to the United States to attend college. She chose DePaul University because it has a good program in her area of interest (math). She ended up graduating with a double major in finance and economics.

What made her undergraduate experience interesting is that Catherine went to school full-time and worked full-time. Because of financial reasons, she had to do this in order to pay her tuition. She worked for GE until she graduated in 2005.

Student Spotlight: Justin Fields

Justin Fields was born outside of the United States in Kingston, Jamaica. He moved to Chicago when he was 12 months old and he has been here ever since. Justin likes Chicago because most of his family lives here and the summers are great. He does love to travel, though. He has been to Mississippi and Virginia and he even thinks that Virginia might be better than Chicago. If Justin could go anywhere right now, he would go back to Jamaica or visit California.

As a child, Justin was shy, but he got over it thanks to people who introduced him to their friends. He was the beneficiary of networking just like we hope you all are here at Cabrini Connections.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer O'Rourke

First year mentor Jennifer O’Rourke was born in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton. She had a great childhood with her two younger brothers – playing outside a lot and going on road trips. Her favorite trip was a six week excursion out west to see Mount Rushmore, the Redwood Forests, and the Grand Canyon.

“What I love the most is to travel,” says Jennifer. Out of high school, she went to College of DuPage, a community college, for two years. There she was able to study abroad in London and Canterbury, England. After transferring to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she went back to London and also to Australia.

Student Spotlight: Kevin Stanfield

Cabrini Connections alumnus Kevin Stanfield moved to Cabrini Green at the age of 3. He says it was hard growing up in the area because he had trouble fitting in with people from his building. It was like a competition to see who had the nicest things. But this is something a lot of young people struggle with and Kevin made his way through.

At the age of 13, Kevin’s mom took a chance and moved with him (her only child) to California. That didn’t last long, though, as they came back after just a year. They missed their family too much, most of which is in or near Chicago. Kevin loves Chicago because it has activities for every season. “This city is like a never-ending event,” he says. Whether it’s the beach during the summer or hay rides during autumn, there’s always something to do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Tim and Jessica Minton

Tim and Jessica Minton joined Cabrini Connections in January 2010. (At that point they were engaged, but they have since gotten married. Congratulations!) Tim was born and raised outside of Boston, Mass. He describes it as “the perfect place for a die-hard sports fan,” which he is. He also says Boston is known for aggressive personalities and its fast-paced lifestyle. “You grow up fast,” he says. At the age of 15, Tim moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his dad to attend high school. He went from a diverse, fast-paced city to a non-diverse, Midwestern city. It was a “big shock,” but “the best decision for me,” says Tim.

Student Spotlight: Dionte Herron

Second-year student Dionte Herron was born in Chicago but moved to Milwaukee at the age of 3. He says it was a “quiet place” where “people didn’t come outside.” He himself didn’t go far and stayed inside to read most of the time. Also, there weren’t a lot of trees, and Dionte loves to climb trees.

10 years later, at the age of 13, he moved back to Chicago. Currently he lives with two of his sisters. He has seven siblings total; five of them older. Dionte is happy to be back in Chicago. “More fun, more friends, more people,” he says. Most of his family is in the area, too.

Volunteer Spotlight: Brian Kamajian

First year mentor Brian Kamajian grew up as a “70s suburban kid” in Skokie, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. He has two brothers, his dad was a school teacher in the city, and his mom was a secretary. His dad was a gym teacher and coach at Kelvyn Park High School for 35 years.

In high school, Brian was a good student who loved math and science (in fact, he craves it). He also wrote for the school newspaper and was the captain of the football team. When you think about what you want to be when you grow up, Brian says it is important to find the things you like to do and the things you are good at; then find a combination of both and do your best at it.

Student Spotlight: Paris Lockett

Paris Lockett has always lived in Chicago and has always been a “good gal.” She’s outgoing and has a lot of friends; a personality she says she got from her father and grandmother. She has a large family: three sisters, one brother, two nieces, and one nephew. All her siblings are older, so she gets to learn from their mistakes, and her nieces and nephews are younger, so she constantly has somebody to play with.

Paris is a junior at Phoenix Military Academy. Going into high school, she thought it would be all segregated by groups, but, instead, she says, “We’re all like one big family.” She is in three clubs: acting club, book club, and the sisterhood program, which is an all-girls program designed to help teens support each other.