Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Celebrating a Successful Tutor/Mentor Jam!

Since my mom reads this blog, I better preface this post with a disclaimer: I don’t usually spend Sundays at a bar.

This past Sunday night, however, was a noteworthy exception.

The first annual Tutor/Mentor Jam at Darkroom, a music venue in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, took place this past Sunday. The event served not only as a benefit concert for Tutor/Mentor Connection, but also as a means for entertainers, bands, and other community members to collectively draw visibility and support to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in high poverty neighborhoods throughout Chicago.

The night kicked off with a delicious barbecue provided by Man B Que who grilled up mouthwatering burgers, hot dogs, and mushroom burgers.

After everyone’s appetites were satiated, Alexander Webb, a former Northwestern quarterback, played a great acoustic set keeping the audience entranced with his beautiful melodies and soulful voice. His talent and passion for the cause made me proud to be a Northwestern Wildcat!

Soon, the Unusual Suspects went on stage and got everyone on their feet dancing! With fantastic vocals and an excellent horn section, they covered various blues artists that kept people singing and dancing along (the music helped me discover that several of my friends are good swing dancers—who knew?).

Afterward, Trakan took the stage with his band and gave a rock-solid and energizing performance. It was exciting to see Mike Trakan, the T/MC GIS Coordinator and the co-producer of the concert, on stage and in his element. Mike has been working for months to organize this event and he provides a great example of using his passion—music—and his networks—entertainers, musicians, and concert-goers—to draw support and visibility to tutor/mentor programs.

After Trakan, The Black Temple 21 played a lively hip-hop set, then No Hero finished off the night strong.

One of the highlig
hts of the evening was when Brea Adams, a mentor at Cabrini Connections, spoke about her involvement with the program and what keeps her engaged as a volunteer. I got to know Brea’s mentee, Crystal Townsend, this summer so I was excited to hear from the person who Crystal enthusiastically referred to as “SO cool!”

The first Tutor/Mentor Jam was a success—not only because of the money raised, but also (and probably even more importantly) because of the new people that connected to T/MC through the event. I was touched by how many of my friends came out to support the event, and so many staff, board members, band members, and others brought out their networks to collectively show support for tutor/mentor programs for at-risk youth.

Thank you to all the volunteers, bands, auction donors, and event sponsors for making the first T/M Jam a success, and a special thanks to all of my friends who came!


  1. Cool! you gave me an idea on what to do next time on our event. We have a small group for tutor/student exchange and we have monthly bonding activities. Thanks for posting the pictures too. Looks like it was fun!


  2. Thanks for your kind words!! The Tutor/Mentor Jam was a lot of fun, and I am glad it sparked some ideas for your next bonding activity.

    Best of luck on your work with the tutor/student exchange and thanks again for reading!