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.

Jessica was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, about two hours west of Chicago. She came into the city a lot and loves it here. “It’s a big city with a small town feel,” she says. Jessica went to college at Indiana University, though most of her family has gone to Iowa. She wanted to do something outside of what they had done and she liked that it was far enough away to feel on her own, but close enough to visit home if she wanted to. She graduated with degrees in journalism and art history. “College is the best time of your life,” says Jessica, “because you don’t have that real world responsibility.” For example, she was able to discover a great passion: running. Subsequently, she has completed seven marathons!

Tim went to college at Miami University of Ohio. He was recruited there to play baseball, but it also has a top business school, another interest of his. He ended up graduating with degrees in finance and management information systems (MIS). Tim says he is a very structured person, which helped him balance being a student and an athlete. “The key is coming up with a routine and sticking with it,” he says. “It’s hard and exhausting, but the reward is worth the sacrifice.”

After graduating, Jessica spent time in London and Arizona before returning to live and work in Chicago. She wanted to be close to her family and she likes the metropolitan environment. Unexpectedly, an acquaintance of Jessica’s turned out to be a headhunter and lined her up with a great job. She works as an assistant at a proprietary trading firm called DRW Trading Group. Her lesson learned is that “you shouldn’t take any relationship you have for granted. You never know what could happen.”

While Tim loved baseball, he realized that not everyone goes pro, so he shifted his focus to his ambitions in business. To be successful in that field, Tim says you have to be analytical and detail-oriented; you have to have an outgoing personality; and you have to be able to develop relationships. After working at a trading firm and an investment bank out of college, Tim made a career switch to commercial real estate in 2005. He now works at a boutique firm in Chicago with eight employees.

(But how did he meet Jessica?!) Tim and Jessica met at East Bank Club gym. They have different interests (“opposites attract”), but they have other things in common, such as volunteerism! Jessica found out about Cabrini Connections online after searching for a program that works hands-on with kids. She told Tim about it and he got involved a week later. Since the beginning of this academic year, they have been paired up with twins, Reggie and Brittany Murphy, whom they love!

They say the key to get to know your student is consistent communication. “Go the extra mile… Relate to them on their level… Be a friend.” Tim and Jessica also suggest off-site visits. They recently went bowling with Reggie and Brittany and had a great time. They hope that volunteers continue to do more and more with their students and for the program. Last year, Tim and Jessica started a fund raising team which came in second place in Cabrini Madness. This year they say, “We’re not going to get fooled.”


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