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!
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!”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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!
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
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…
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.
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:
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!
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!