A Tuba in One Hand, A Saw in the Other

When Operations Intern Bryan comes into Civicorps’ Job Training Center at West Oakland in the early mornings, he has a routine: open the parking lot gates, open the warehouse doors, and essentially get everything ready for the incoming Corpsmembers to head out for the day.

As part of Operations, Bryan helps to maintain all equipment and facilities used by the Corps at the Job Training Center, led by Sergio, Civicorps’ Operations Coordinator. Bryan is one of two Operations Interns, each of whom is personally selected by Sergio on a rotating basis for the role. 

For this newest incarnation of this pair, Bryan and fellow intern (and new Civicorps Academy grad) Victor, support Sergio in his work.

Like the producers of a film set, the Operations team at Civicorps helps to make things happen at the Corps. A broken tool needs fixing? Need the materials to build a community garden?

The Ops Team has you covered.

A Dependable Jack of All Trades

Much like at the Job Training Center, at home, Bryan is very handy.

“I do a lot of carpentry projects. My dad gets side gigs like making fences and that’s what got me into that. I also like building furniture. It’s more of a hobby. Whenever my siblings ask me for something, if I can make it, I’ll try it.”

When asked where he got this interest from: “I started with Legos.”

Last thing Bryan built for his siblings: a bookshelf.

Helping collect dumped tires throughout the East Bay and bringing it back to the Job Training Center for pickup.

Helping collect dumped tires throughout the East Bay and bringing it back to the Job Training Center for pickup.

Favorite tool to use: chainsaw, particularly preparing the chain for the chainsaw.

At 19 years old, Bryan is just beginning his professional journey. And yet, Bryan brings with him a willingness to learn and explore.

Having seen an ad online for Civicorps, Bryan applied. In no time, Bryan was wearing a red hat, signaling his position as a Conservation Intern.

During the Conservation Program’s orientation, Bryan learned about the Operations department and inquired. Sergio advised Bryan to stick with the crews at their project sites to learn more about the organization and see if the interest was still there after some time.

After a couple of months, and impressed by the work Bryan put in, Sergio promoted him.

“He’s one of those Corpsmembers with perfect attendance, shows up early, and works hard. [Bryan] demonstrated through his behavior and actions that he could work in Operations and the promotion happened naturally,” remembers Sergio.

Because the Operations team takes care of every tool, vehicle, equipment and room in our Conservation Program, the role requires someone reliable and resourceful. One day you can be re-chaining a chainsaw, the next you’re building furniture for a new office space.

Bryan seems to fit all these molds.

“[Operations] pretty much runs the shop and does anything that needs to get done in order to facilitate the crews’ work,” says Bryan. “I also like taking out tires. It’s pretty cool since I’ve been to places in Oakland that I’ve never been to [before].”

The Musical Influences of Sinaloa

Having a creative mind is helpful when finding solutions to different tasks at the Job Training Center. What’s more, Bryan’s hobbies extend beyond creating furniture.

Growing up, Bryan enjoyed learning new instruments and making music. Starting as part of a church band, he eventually joined the marching and jazz bands in high school.

“I enjoy putting myself through the challenge of learning an instrument. The tuba was the most challenging,” recounts Bryan.

What is banda sinaloense?

This type of brass, woodwind, and percussion band hails from the Sinaloa region of Mexico.

On his free time, Bryan makes music as part of a banda sinaloense.

“In the banda, I play the tuba. But I can play the drums and trumpet. “

Bryan was connected to his current banda through mutual connections. Playing most of the time during the weekends, Bryan gets to be at different venues.

“Most hours we get to play during weekend are for quincinearas. We do still play night clubs every weekend and on Cinco de Mayo we play at a festival in Richmond. For the Day of Dead, we play Oakland,” tells Bryan. “The point of our music is to get people hyped up and get them to dance.”

And where does he enjoy playing the most?

“I enjoy playing at festivals in Richmond because that’s where I’m from and the people I know see me play every year.”

Ever the enterpriser, Bryan wants to go into metalwork. Bryan’s curiosity and originality will no doubt find him reaching new heights.

“I plan to go to San Francisco Ironworkers Union, I want to do that apprenticeship soon.”

As for the Job Training Center, the work that Bryan and the Operations team do at the Corps is pivotal to making their fellow Corpsmembers’ journey happen. Providing young participants opportunities for family sustaining careers would not be possible were it not for bright Corpsmembers like Bryan whose work is essential to keeping our Conservation Program up and running.

Sergio himself sums it up best:  “Operations is responsible for all material items that make the Corpsmember experience. Without Operations doing their business, there is no Corpsmember business.”

Do you share our vision for a world where all youth have the education and resources needed for college and career success?

Join us! Add your name to our list here.

Filed under: Blog