For those of you who may not have known, the Tutor-Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference came into town this past weekend. Of course, we couldn't miss out on such a great opportunity! Femi Memorial Outreach Fund had the honor of being a part of this annual Conference again to remind us of why our organization is important in the communities we serve. I enjoyed my years working for Femi Outreach as a tutor, and I don’t regret any second, minute or day of it. I had the honor of participating this year as it was my very first Conference and I learned a lot. This Conference exceeded every expectation that I had. Going into this conference, I understood how much of a great help I was with the students understanding their homework. Leaving it opened my eyes more wide as I realized that I am not only helping young children with their homework, I am showing them that there is hope for their futures and that education is the key to their success.
I went into the Tutor-Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference eager to see what was going to be discussed. It started off with a networking activity. During this activity, we had one minute to introduce ourselves, the organization that we are coming from and talk about an interesting fact to as many people as we can. I felt that this was a great ice-breaking activity to kick-off the event. I met many Presidents, Directors and Future Leaders of many organizations in this activity alone.
I started off by introducing myself; talked a great deal about Femi Outreach and discussed how the organization employs students that serve as after school tutors and as in-class assistance in schools throughout the Chicago area, then I of course said an interesting fact about me. Meeting these people really gave me the motivation to continue doing what I do with Femi Outreach. I met these people seeing how much of a great help they are for the underprivileged children throughout Chicago and seeing them take action.
There are not many people you will encounter who will actually take the time out of their lives to create something, like an organization, to let these children know that there is hope for their futures. Also, there are not many people who put their hearts and hard work into an organization as well. Femi Outreach is an organization that doesn’t just have people who just work for it. It has people that care to make a difference in these children’s lives and we care to take part in an action that creates a better future for these children.
Throughout the day, there were interactive workshops based on topics such as Learning How to Build a Social Media Campaign, Making Youth Safety a Priority, Mentoring Models, and Engaging in Leadership Roles, just to name a few. I started off the morning with a workshop called Mentoring/Coaching Initiatives to Reduce Violence. Of all the other workshops provided, I chose this one. Why? Well, I felt that I would learn a lot of information that has never been explained to me before, and little do we know I DID. The reason why I enjoyed this workshop so much is because it was more of an interactive activity rather than someone up in front explaining statistics and other things to the audience. Instead, we had a great discussion on what we can do to reduce the violence.
I realized that with all the violence that has been going on in Chicago comes from a lot of people who do not have the strong, supportive family, friends or even mentors to stand behind them. They don’t have anyone telling them that staying in school is the key to saving your life. We discussed that the root causes of this violence comes from unsupportive family members, choices of bad friends, lack of community resources, and so on. So in the end, it really comes down to what we do as an organization. If Femi Outreach continues to do the great job that it does, then we are the reduction to the violence. During the second part of the morning workshops I participated in How to Build a Social Media. What I took from this workshop were ways to promote Femi Memorial Outreach Center.
After the morning workshops, we had lunch while watching a documentary called On the Front Line: Taking Back Our Streets. It was this very documentary that made me appreciate Femi Memorial Outreach more than I already do. This documentary basically followed young adults who took the wrong path in life because they felt that they had no support and no opportunities in their community to engage them to stay in school and out of trouble. This documentary also revealed angered communities due to the violence going on and the innocent lives lost because of it. One innocent life lost was that of Blair Holt. For those of you who may not know, Blair Holt was a 16-year old student from Julian High School, who was shot on the CTA bus trying to be a hero. He was not an intended target but was hit. They charged two teens with the crime and to hear that crime was committed by two young men was shocking. In this video, I witnessed the pain of his parents as they try to promote less violence in Chicago.
As we see more and more of the violence going on, that’s more chances for innocent lives being lost. What can we do? As said earlier, we can help those in need. Not give them money, nor jobs, but help them. Help them strive in a society where not so many people care about you. Give them hope, mentor them, and help them stay in school. On the Front Line: Taking Back Our Streets have expressed that if the violence continues, then it brings a burden of fear and hopelessness for those who have the ability to succeed. And this is why I’ve grown to love Femi Memorial Outreach more and more.
After the lunch break, we headed back to business. That’s right, the afternoon workshops started. I continued the afternoon with two workshops in the following order: Making Youth Safety a Priority and Your Exposure as a Social Capital within the Community. These workshops were more of “remedy” workshops. I reference them as “remedy” workshops because they were more of how we can make a difference and the steps we can take to do that. Promoting mentoring and tutoring organizations in underprivileged communities are great steps to take to kick off a successful organization. Encouraging family members and community residents that organizations like Femi Memorial Outreach Center are there is another great step as well. I enjoyed these workshops because they reminded me of the things Femi Outreach is doing, trying to help out in more communities throughout Chicago.
Femi Outreach doesn’t just tutor children; it gives them hope for their future success. Femi Memorial Outreach Center is an organization that helps students in Public, Charter and Catholic schools in Chicago. We help throughout these schools located on the North, South and West sides of Chicago. We help a diverse pool of children and we enjoy it as well. Not only are we helping out these children understand their work, we are learning a lot from them as well. From my experience as a tutor, providing after school help and in-class assistance, I learned that these children need me as much as I need them. I say this because they are our future doctors, lawyers, professors, mentors and even tutors. Femi Memorial Outreach Center shows children who do not have the support that we, the tutors, and even the CEO care about them. We will try and go out of our way and make sure that their homework is done; they stay out of trouble and in school. We care!