Connecting Youth to the Outdoors

Civicorps provides outdoor trips to our Corpsmembers as part of our Connecting Youth to the Outdoors (CYO) program, which introduces our students to the wonders of nature through trips that teach leadership and courage, foster healing from trauma, and build peer support while inspiring a life-long love of the outdoors.

On August 23rd, 7 Corpsmembers river rafted down “The Gorge,” a Class III section of the South Fork American River, with OARS out of Lotus, CA. For 5 Corpsmembers, it was their first time river rafting. This is a high adrenaline, challenging, yet super fun activity on the river. Corpsmembers swam in the river wearing their personal floatation devices, and also had the opportunity to dive from atop a 15 foot cliff.

“It was my first time white water rafting. I enjoyed working as a team and getting hit by the waves. I actually fell off the boat, but it did not phase me. I had a rush of adrenaline that made it so much fun!” – Tony, Corpsmember

Thanks to OARS White Water Rafting and Bay Area Wilderness Training for making this opportunity happen.

On September 7th, 10 Corpsmembers sea kayaked in two person boats from South Sausalito to Angel Island Friday morning. Eight of these Corpsmembers had never been kayaking. They described this new experience as fun, stress-relieving, and for some, an adventure to overcome fears.

“This was actually my second time kayaking, but never this far. I loved that we worked together as a team to get us to our destination. I had fun and really bonded with my fellow Corpsmembers. I recommend everyone to do it, it’s so beautiful, and towards the end, I really loved the night hike.” – Claudia, Corpsmember

The trip also included a night hike to the summit with 360 degree views of the Bay Area and all the bridges.  Corpsmembers stayed overnight in a historical Civil War era bunkhouse on Angel Island. By next morning, they were ready to kayak back to Sausalito.

Thanks to ETC Sea Kayaking, Angel Island and Bay Area Wilderness Training for partnering with us and giving our Corpsmembers an experience to remember.

Visit our facebook to view more photos!

Filed under: Blog, Student Spotlight

A New Chapter at Civicorps: Executive Director's Transition

AUGUST 1, 2018

After seven years of leading through a period of intense growth and change, our Executive Director, Alan Lessik, leaves Civicorps.  Alan has been instrumental in evolving the organization, developing public and private relationships throughout the East Bay and greater community. His leadership in the development of our public/private relationship with the Waste Management-Teamsters Union Apprenticeship Program has created opportunities for our talented and skilled Corpmembers to gain family-sustaining careers. Alan has positioned Civicorps for continued growth and improvement as well as long-term stability. He leaves the organization in a very strong position as we embark on our next phase. The Civicorps Board thanks Alan for his many years of leadership and dedication and wishes him all the very best in his next adventures.

The Civicorps Board of Directors is committed to carrying our mission forward and ensuring a smooth transition.  We have created a transition plan that will be open, transparent and, above all, will ensure the quality of education and other services we provide continue without interruption. 

As we embark on the search for a successor and frame the vision for the next chapter of the organization, we will invite Civicorps partners, supporters and members of the organization to provide feedback.  We value your input and want to hear your thoughts and hopes for Civicorps’ future.  More details to come as we set up the mechanisms to engage Civicorps friends and community.

We are grateful for your continued support and dedication as we look ahead to the next chapter of Civicorps and serving the Bay Area Community. 

Sincerely,

Nita Kirby
Board President

 

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A Weekend at Yosemite National Park - 2018

June 15-17, 2018

Civicorps students and staff spent a weekend at Yosemite National Park, enjoying the outdoors and helping to keep the landscape beautiful. This year, we camped at Wawona Campground, where we set up tents, made s’mores and played games around the camp fire. Civicorps engaged in a service project, with students and staff  removing litter from 100 campsites. We also enjoyed the legendary Yosemite scenery; we swam in the freezing yet refreshing Merced River, hiked Vernal Falls, were mesmerized by the tall Sequoias in Mariposa Grove, and explored the Yosemite Village.

For many of our students, this was their first time visiting the majestic national park.

“Going to Yosemite for the first time allowed me to experience a different side of California’s natural beauty. I’ve never gone camping. I learned how to build my tent, I helped start a campfire and bonded with fellow Corpsmembers over s’mores, scary stories and games.” – A.D., Corpsmember

“On this trip, I learned that nothing can stop me if I put my mind to it. I met an 8 year old boy who did not have legs and was hiking. He inspired me. As long as I have breath and 10 fingers and 10 toes, I am never giving up on my dreams. I learned a lot about myself being in nature.” – Eboni’, Corpsmember Grad, Class of June 2018

“This was my second time going to Civicorps’ Yosemite trip. It’s an opportunity to bond and get to know other Corpsmembers and staff. Oakland can be stressful at times, and this weekend’s trip to nature allowed me to forget my problems and relax for a moment.” – Jorge, Corpsmember Grad, Class of June 2018

Check out more photos on our Facebook Page. #ServeOutdoors

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Corpsmember of the Quarter: Tyneisha Crooks

Tyneisha Crooks
Tyneisha Crooks

Every quarter, staff select a Corpsmember who demonstrates personal growth, determination to succeed, and achievement in the program to become Corpsmember of the Quarter. For Winter Quarter 2018 (January, February, & March), we honor Tyneisha Crooks.

Tyneisha is a fierce Learning Academy Intern at Civicorps. She helps all students and staff ,and keeps the academy running smoothly. In addition to her internship, Tyneisha volunteers with the student appeals panel and focus groups. For this year’s Shakespeare play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with just two days before opening night, Tyneisha volunteered to play Hippolyta when a student was no longer available. Her positive attitude kept the show going! Congratulations, Tyneisha!

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Four June grads share what they look forward to after graduation!

ANTOINE

My teacher at Bridge Academy knew that I wasn’t going to graduate on time and connected me to Mr. Dunn, the Dean of Students at Civicorps. Mr. Dunn is one of the most influential people who finally made me realize my potential. He pushed my buttons, allowed me to be competitive with my academics, and prove that I could do it. At Civicorps, I really found a place where I got to focus.

I didn’t think graduating would have been possible. I even told my friend I am going to shed a tear when I walk the stage at graduation. My high school diploma will mean everything for me. I see my friends graduating from here and I know it’s going to make my mom proud. I can’t wait to look at Mr. Dunn with my diploma. I am going to be so excited and tell him “I love you. You got me here.”

“If basketball doesn’t work, I want to study law and be a lawyer. I just have to remember to always focus on me!”

BRENDA

I didn’t think graduating would be possible. I went through some hard stuff in high school, traumatizing events that distracted me from my education.

But when my little brother Angel was born, it changed my life for the better. My mother needed help taking care of him and for the first six months of his life, I became like his mother. He is the angel who came to make a difference. This was around the time that I signed up for Civicorps.

In my time at Civicorps, I have improved my communication skills, which landed me a job as a receptionist at a dentist office where I meet with different types of people. Being at Civicorps, I have really focused on me, which may sound selfish, but in doing so I was able to see what really matters in my life. I’ve stayed positive with my goals. I hope to work with technology and one day obtain my X-ray technician license. It’s where I see myself growing and learning professionally. Maybe someday I’ll have my own practice.

“Angel gave me a purpose: because of him I changed the bad influences in my life and focused on me. I stayed positive. I struggled but always came back to finish strong.”

ANTHONY

Three years ago, my mother brought me to Civicorps. When I got here, I knew that graduating was possible, but I did have trouble believing that.

The staff here showed me tough love. They saw me and allowed me to believe in myself. I became a Crew Leader at the Job Training Center, which in turn allowed me to grow as an individual. I have learned a lot about myself and my potential to do great things. It’s been a rewarding experience.

I want to tell new students to keep trying, no matter how hard it will be and how long it will take… keep trying! Civicorps has taken me farther than I ever believed I could be. And now I am excited for future job opportunities in welding or construction. Things are going in the right direction, and I look forward to my next steps in life.

“Being humble and being patient is what I am taking away from Civicorps. I learned a lot, but being quiet really made me see a different side of things.”

DAISHA

I enrolled at Civicorps in October 2016. It took me a while to really convince myself that I was ready to take this step. I had to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself, “Yes! You are ready!”

Growing up I didn’t have a lot of support. I was moving a lot, which always disrupted my education. The possibility of graduating really was a fairy tale. But my older brother helped changed that perspective. He made it to college, and then left for a while, but returned and graduated. Now he is a licensed police officer.

And when I became pregnant with my baby Zane, I had a bigger reason to not give up on my education. So many people told me I couldn’t do it, but in my mind I kept telling myself that a baby can’t stop me! Now I am one week away from graduating. I want my son to be next to me when I walk the stage. He is my reason for getting my education and creating a positive future for our family.

“I plan to go to Laney for my associate’s degree, and then take business classes at a 4 year university. In 10 years I hope to have a nail tech business, a reliable job that will provide my son a clear path for his education.”

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Civicorps Family Campout

Civicorps launched its first annual family campout this spring at Anthony Chabot Regional Park! The beautiful Civicorps community of young and old, came together for a weekend in nature. For many Civicorps students’ children, it was their first time camping. Games were played, the marshmallows went quick, wild turkeys rambled through the campsite, trails were explored, and many, many pancakes were eaten. Everyone woke up together feeling communal and positive. It was an opportunity to share Civicorps’ love of the outdoors with children and to establish connections with parents in authentic ways.

“It reminded me of why I love working for Civicorps and provided an opportunity for me to get to know some of our amazing Corpsmembers and their families.” – Brian Hickey, CFO at Civicorps

We were grateful to have had 9 Corpsmembers families present, as well as 6 staff families. In total, 25 children had a fun-time camping. Thanks to Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) for providing all the camping gear. Enjoy pictures from the camping trip below!

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