College and Career Fair 2019

Every spring, Civicorps holds a College and Career Fair to inspire and inform our Corpsmembers as they consider their futures after graduation.  We held our latest College and Career Fair on Friday, April 5.  During a series of presentations, students learned about new trades and certificated programs, asked questions, and had the opportunity to network with representatives from a number of Bay Area vocational and educational organizations. Many thanks to our partners who sent representatives to Civicorps to ignite our students’ imaginations about their future:

We also had the pleasure of learning from a panel of Civicorps alumni about their career pathways after graduation. Thank you to Effrey Jamal Simms, Class of 2013, independent graphic designer; Serena Saechao, Class of 2015, City of Oakland; and Roxanna Elias, Class of 2016, medical assistant. We are lucky to have received your valuable advice.

Our students are now on Spring Break, and we’ll be excited to welcome them back after a well-deserved respite.  We also look forward to meeting our newest group of Corpsmembers at our April 16 orientation.

Filed under: Blog, News

Just Jobs for Waste Workers featuring Civicorps

If you live in California, you’re probably already used to the fact that the rest of the country follows our lead on innovations in everything from tech products to the entertainment industry to environmental policy.  We’re proud to say that Civicorps’ unique career pathway partnership with Waste Management is no different — it’s been noticed by an environmental and labor coalition in New York City and featured in their recent Just Jobs for Waste Workers report.

The Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition is dedicated to transforming New York City’s commercial trash industry to reduce waste and pollution, foster clean and healthy communities and create good jobs.  Enter Civicorps!  Former Civicorps Recycling driver Kiara Alexis, featured last year on KTVU Fox Channel 2’s “Bay Area People”, is recognized in the report as a trailblazer to emulate.  Her experience, illuminated on page 12, is lifted up as an example to cities to “prioritize hiring and job training for communities that are often excluded from good jobs.”
The entire report is aimed at recommendations for how sanitation policy in New York City, but applicable anywhere, “could make life better…while making the city safer and more sustainable.”

Congratulations to Kiara Alexis and to the two Corpsmembers featured on the front cover of the report, Jocelyn Hernandez and Jovante Jackson!  We are so proud your hard work has been recognized.

“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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#MadeinAmeriCorps

Crew 02 at Tilden Park, Snake Project, EBRP

While our Corpsmembers work in job training serving our community environmentally, they accumulate hours and money towards their AmeriCorps scholarships.

During job training, youth work on contracts for some of the largest employers in the East Bay such as Caltrans, EBMUD, East Bay Regional Parks, and more. This past year, Corpsmembers maintained over 36 miles of trails, cleared 42 miles of waterways, and reduced 438 acres of wildfire fuel load.

“East Bay Regional Parks District and Civicorps have worked together for over 30 years. Corpsmembers are focused, motivated and hardworking. It’s a pleasure working with them and we look forward to continuing this partnership as it has benefited our parks and East Bay residents.” – Brad Gallup, Captain, EBRPD Fire

Sharif pictured with Rep. Barbara Lee, MLK Day

AmeriCorps awarded $72,518 in college scholarships last year. And all Corpsmembers need to do to earn it is show up to work, commit to their service projects and volunteer with various community service actions including Martin Luther King Dr. Day of Service.

Once they are enrolled in college, they access their AmeriCorps funds. They use this money to assist them with paying for tuition, paying for books, and other academic expenses that support their future career.

“As a College Counselor, I am proud Civicorps is partnered with AmeriCorps because it gives our Corpsmembers not only the opportunity to be civic and to give back, but they are rewarded with an educational stipend to further their education.” – Deneah Murphy, College Counselor, Civicorps

Ann, Civicorps Class of 2018

Since 2012, Civicorps has built an organization-wide, college-going culture that begins the minute students walk in the door. Now, Civicorps students are testing into credit-bearing college courses, using their hard-earned AmeriCorps scholarship more effectively, and are better-equipped to persevere and succeed.

“I am currently taking classes at Merritt College in radiology. I really want to become a medical assistant and perform ultrasounds. I am grateful I have AmeriCorps to help pay for some of my costs. Even as I conclude my internship with Oakland Housing Authority, I am excited for the next steps in my education and career.” Ann Hernandez – Civicorps Class of 2018

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Backpacking to Point Reyes

Friday morning, February 22nd, Corpsmembers and staff met at Civicorps for our first annual overnight backpacking camping trip. We assigned backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, hiking boots, tents, warm layers, and evenly distributed food to pack into our 65 or 75 Liter backpacks. For most Corpsmembers and half the staff, this was their first time learning how to pack for a backpacking trip. (Thanks to Bay Area Wilderness Training for supplying all the gear!)

Our campsite, Coast Camp, was located at Point Reyes National Seashore, located in Northern California’s Marin County. Most of us hiked the 1.9 mile Fire Lane trail, while four Corpsmembers and staff hiked up to the peak of Mount Wittenberg, 6 miles to the Coast Campground. A steep and strenuous hike, Corpsmembers were not phased and took on the challenge by jogging the trail.

Upon arriving, we set up camp, assembled our tents and started on our dinner. Full of bean and corn soup, we built a campfire on the Santa Maria Beach, where we bonded over s’mores, stories, and epic endless rounds of Mafia!

“My favorite part of the trip was the bonfire and the hike, and having a raccoon steal my pants! But we found them!”Malajah, Corpsmember

 “My favorite part of the trip was hiking 6 miles, 9 by the end of the trip. I also ate vegan food!”Joshua, Corpsmember

 “Coming together as a community and having fun, playing Mafia on the beach, and having some giggles, that was fun!”Kevin, Corpsmember

The following morning, we woke up to a frost-covered campsite. Temperatures were in the 30s, but a nice hot pot of water helped warm our stomachs with coffee and tea, oatmeal, and for some, a cup of noddle soup. As the sun rose, we walked over to the beach, where many of us swam in the freezing waters of the Pacific Ocean. By noon, we were on our way back out 3 miles on the Coast Trail.

A beautiful trip, we enjoyed the sight of wildlife including an elephant seal, deer, and many wild birds. This weekend was a moment to destress, connect with nature, and allow for spiritual healing. This trip would not have been possible without Civicorps’ fierce leaders, Lauren, Civicorps’ Resource Specialist and Steven, Job Training Coordinator!

Filed under: Blog, Civicorps Events

Reconnecting Youth Campaign

Unleashing Limitless Potential

Yesterday, Civicorps Corpsmembers, alumni, staff, and community partners conducted a meeting at the Oakland offices of Congresswoman Barbara Lee. We were thrilled to help represent constituents of California’s 13th congressional district in legislative advocacy with the Reconnecting Youth Campaign. The RYC is a collaborative national campaign calling on Congress to invest in America’s future by funding 1 million pathways to education, training, national service and employment opportunities for youth ages 16-24 who are neither working nor in school.

We met with Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s District Director, Press Secretary and a Congressional Aide, and shared information about the opportunities Civicorps creates for youth. Corpsmembers and alumni shared their personal journeys of success and the benefits of programs like Civicorps.

For over 35 years, Civicorps has provided vital services to disconnected youth, by re-engaging young adults to earn their high school diploma, gain job skills, pursue college and embark on family sustaining careers.

One startling statistic we shared with the Congresswoman’s staff: in our Congressional district, 7,096 Opportunity Youth have been separated from pathways to productive adulthood. These young people seek opportunities to provide for themselves and their families, and their talents offer an untapped opportunity to contribute to our community and economy. Even more staggering to note: nationally, 4.6 million youth lack these pathways to success, and federal funding only reached about 350,000 youth in 2017-18.

Existing programs like Civicorps address the multiple barriers faced by Opportunity Youth and offer unique approaches and program models to reconnect them with education, job training skills and employment opportunities.

We’re grateful for Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s longstanding leadership on behalf of the youth of Oakland and Alameda County.  We’re delighted to be able to participate in the Reconnecting Youth Campaign, calling for increased funding for existing programs with demonstrated success.

Help spread the word, call or tweet at your Member of Congress and ask them to support funding for Opportunity Youth!

RYC_Oakland_Mont..01.9b Music/sound remix from Lowdownhaus / Thayer N. Walker on Vimeo.

The RYC interviewed our Corpsmembers for a forthcoming video about Opportunity Youth in this congressional district.  This video of alumni Samantha Vitti and Bethany Rivard (now a Civicorps staff member) is an example of more to come.

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Corpsmember of the Quarter: Francis Sanson

Francis exhibits outstanding leadership skills and demonstrates an earnest commitment to service and civic engagement. A dedicated member of the community, he volunteers with homeless shelters on the weekends and in his very first term, has already completed all community service hours required to graduate from Civicorps. Francis sets an excellent example of citizenship for Civicorps and beyond.

A quiet and hardworking, noble leader, Francis is a role model for their cohort and for the entire Civicorps community. Watch out for this young individual because they are undeniably going places!

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