Driving Towards a Dream - KTVU

Former Civicorps Recycling driver, Kiara Alexis, is featured in KTVU Fox Channel 2’s segment “Bay Area People.” Our Executive Director Alan Lessik, and Recycling Manager Hector Abarca, are also featured and talk about the this exciting career pathway.

“The best part of my job is that a lot of women come up to me and feel inspired that I am a truck driver.” – Kiara Alexis, Teamster Apprentice at Waste Management

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"One Step Closer" by Norma

When I walk through the halls of Civicorps…

I take a moment…

and breathe.

I’ve made it!

My journey has brought me to a safe place. Two years ago I walked across the border, crossed the desert alone unaware of where I would end up. Today, I have persevered. Civicorps has become my second home.

When your family is three thousand miles away, it can be scary. In Guatemala, I had my parents guiding me. And now, my Civicorps teachers, counselors and peers have created a place of sanctuary. At Civicorps I am inspired to work hard and not give up. I have a support network that allows me to try new things. Most recently I played Hermia in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – something completely out of my comfort zone. I didn’t have my family present on opening night, but I had my Civicorps family.

“I have found a happy ending at Civicorps,
but in reality, it is just the beginning.”

Every moment I am at Civicorps, I know I am one step closer to earning my high school diploma. A dream come true.

If I was able to travel across countries and walk through the desert alone, I know I am capable of walking across the graduation stage with my high school diploma in my hand.  But this time, I will not be alone, because I will have my Civicorps family walking alongside me.*

Cuando camino por los pasillos de Civicorps…

tomo un momento…

y respiro.

                                                             ¡Lo hice!

Mi camino me ha llevado a un lugar seguro. Hace dos años crucé la frontera y camine el desierto, sola, sin saber dónde terminaría. Hoy, he perseverado. Civicorps se ha convertido en un segundo hogar.

Cuando tu familia está a tres mil millas de distancia, puede ser aterrador. En Guatemala, tuve a mis padres guiándome. Y ahora, mis maestros, consejeros y compañeros de clase han creado un lugar de santuario. En Civicorps estoy inspirada para trabajar duro y no rendirme. Tengo una red de apoyo que me permite probar cosas nuevas. Recientemente actué el papel de Hermia en “Sueño de Una Noche de Verano” una obra de William Shakespeare, algo completamente diferente a lo que estoy acostumbrada. No tenía a mi familia presente en la noche de estreno, pero sí la presencia de mi familia de Civicorps.

“He encontrado un final feliz en Civicorps, 
pero en realidad, es sólo el comienzo.”

Cada momento que estoy en Civicorps, sé que estoy un paso más cerca de obtener mi diploma. Un sueño hecho realidad.

He tomado un largo camino para llegar aquí, y sé que lograré caminar sobre el escenario de graduación con mi diploma en la mano. Pero esta vez, no estaré sola, porque tendré a mi familia de Civicorps caminando a mi lado.

*This interview with Norma was conducted all in Spanish.
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Civicorps Receives Community Partnership Award

On Thursday, April 19th, Civicorps was presented with Mutual of America’s Community Partnership Merit Finalist Award. This prestigious national  award recognized Civicorps’ Teamster Union Apprenticeship Career Pathway Program in partnership with Waste Management that provides a pathway to lucrative union careers in truck transportation.

The award luncheon was held at the Oakland Marriott City Center Skyline Room where 100 guests enjoyed the sweeping views of Oakland during the awards ceremony. Theodore Herman, Vice Chairman of Mutual of America Foundation and Abbas Moloo, Regional Vice President of Mutual of America made opening remarks. Then, Thomas Gilliam, Chairman and CEO of Mutual of America presented certificates to organizations who helped create this career pathway:

Phil Dillard, Board President; Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney; Alan Lessik, Executive Direcotor; Minna Tao, Recology Golden Gate

Mayor Libby Schaaf, gave a powerful speech on unity and perseverance, recognizing the strengths of the partnership. Then, the Mutual of America Foundation presented Civicorps with a $25,000 check. An unexpected surprise!

Mayor Libby Schaaf

To honor those key individuals who helped create this partnership, one-of-a-kind commemorative coins were presented to Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney, Waste

Management’s Jacob Buckley, Teamster Local 70’s Felix Martinez, and Recology Golden Gate’s Minna Tao.

The ceremony was filled with inspiring speeches that demonstrated the strong relationships Oakland has forged to create career pathways for Oakland young adults. Thanks to Mutual of America Foundation and all our partners for a joyous celebration!

Check out photos from the event: FB Album.

Listen to Civicorps on KCBS radio talking about our pioneering partnership.

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