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!

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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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Civicorps Ski Trip 2019

What do you get when you have a detective, an angel, 3 mafiosos, and a cabin full of Corpsmembers? Mafia! This party game of deception, intuition and storytelling was so much fun during this year’s Civicorps weekend ski trip.

This past weekend Corpsmembers partook in Civicorps’ annual ski trip. Six Corpsmembers, 4 staff including Civicorps’ Jesuit Volunteers, and 7 Environmental Traveling Companions Guides and volunteers shared a cabin in Arnold, CA, and cross country skied at Big Trees State Park. It was the first time Corpsmembers experienced the snow.

“My favorite part of the weekend was seeing snow. I’ve only seen snow on TV. I’ve also never skied and falling was my favorite part. Everyone kept a smile on their face as they tried their best. Thank you to the ETC staff and volunteers for making this possible.” – CP, Corpsmember

The weekend forecasted a winter storm, however the excitement of being in the outdoors did not prevent our Corpsmembers from staying indoors. We suited up in our ski gear and went out in the cold to experience something new.

“I’m really impressed with everyone’s attitude. This was a huge storm. Nine out of 10 groups ETC hosts would have stayed away. But everyone’s attitude was great, and we made it a great weekend with 3 feet of snow. My favorite moment was when we reached the split (halfway to our destination), and everyone wanted to keep going.” – Jake, ETC Winter Program Leader

“The ski lesson on the parking lot was my favorite moment. It was so hard, folks were crisscrossing their skis and falling. But people were smiling. Even when Jake kept recommending to take off the skis, [Corpsmembers] were determined to stay on them and learn.” – Naseem, ETC Winter Program Volunteer

After a long day of skiing, we returned to the cabin where we made dinner and engaged in fun activities like Mancala and Apples to Apples. One of the most popular games that everyone liked was Mafia. Folks were passionate and really got to share in their story telling abilities.

“My favorite moment of the weekend was meeting everyone and playing Mafia. That’s the best game I’ve ever played.” – Rakeem, Corpsmember

When Sunday morning came, we were snowed in and the power went out due to a falling tree on the highway. During that time, Corpsmembers went sledding, while staff and volunteers shoveled snow. We finally made it out and arrived safely back to Oakland. This weekend would not have been possible without the support of ETC’s volunteers and guides. We thank them for welcoming us to their cabin and making it a home for us. It’s always a pleasure bringing our Corpsmember out of the town and into the outdoors.

See more photos on our Facebook Page!

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Corpsmember of the Quarter: Aaron Chanthavong

 

Mr. Chanthavong has done an excellent job at using his resources at Civicorps to help launch him into his career path. He is currently an intern at Tech Exchange where he leads the sales of refurbished computers; and he has taken it upon himself to guide, train and make new interns feel welcomed. He is a successful full time college student at Merritt College, earning A’s and B’s. He hopes to graduate with honors as he earns a degree in Computer Science.

Civicorps is delighted to recognize Aaron Chanthavong as Corpsmember of the Quarter for Summer 2018.

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Season of Giving with the Warriors

Five Civicorps families were selected for a holiday shopping spree courtesy of the Warriors, Lucky and 18 Reasons’ Shop and Learn. Corpsmembers were part of an instructional store tour and participated in a friendly interactive shopping challenge in which the families were tasked with buying ingredients for a nutritious meal under $20. Each family was paired with a Warrior’s figure including #2 Jordan Bell, #21 Jonas Jerebko, Assistant Coach Bruce Fraser, and American former professional basketball players Ruthie Bolton and Adonal Foyle.

“It meant a lot to my family, not just because we are a Warriors fan, but because we were able to learn and work together. To complete the challenge, we were creative. Instead of making regular lumpias, we made naked lumpias that did not require a wrapper and used brown rice instead for the side.

“We are really thankful that the Warriors are doing this for the community. And grateful to have had Jordan Bell shop with us!”

-Francis, Civicorps Corpsmember

After completing the challenge, each family went home with a bag filled with cookware, and a Lucky’s gift card to help support their family holiday feast.

Civicorps is so grateful for the generosity of the Warriors to make our student’s holiday extra bright this year!

Check out more photos on our Facebook Page!

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