Students find a home at Civicorps

Civicorps student John Laws III (center), with staff members Rodney Dunn and Tessa Nicholas, says he’s finally found the school that’s right for him. Students find a home at Civicorps.Students Find a Home at Civicorps

“A young person who’s dropped out of school or wound up in jail doesn’t have to give up.

There’s hope yet, thanks to a cool place called Civicorps, headquartered in a former industrial building near Jack London Square.”

Check out this awesome article about Civicorps in the San Leandro Times!

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Step Into Your Power

On February 19th, Civicorps hosted a Step Into Your Power Youth Summit where 42 students from Civicorps, Treasure Island Job Corps, MetWest High School, and College of Alameda came together to brainstorm solutions to community issues and then presented their ideas to a panel of community leaders.

After a moving keynote speech by Kamau Walton, Critical Resistance and Black Lives Matter East Bay, and a leadership panel by our Student Action Team, students broke into small-group work sessions where they brainstormed ideas that would have a positive social impact on their community. These sessions were lead by Student Action Team members, Civicorps staff, and activists from Young Invincibles.

Summit attendees brainstorming solutions to community issues / Step Into Your Power /Civicorps

Five campaigns were created and presented to a panel of community leaders:

1) #NoBeds media campaign highlight the scarcity of beds and the complexity of the public housing system
2) Urban Rejuvenation about how to rehabilitate urban blight
3) LGBTQ community meeting
4) Police Brutality Hurts community event with a community altar to honor the dead
5) Ban the Box organized walk out

Panel of Community Leaders:

Lieutenant Leronne Armstrong from the Oakland Police Department
Isabel Cortes from Senator Loni Hancock’s office
Mark Salinas from the National Equity Project
Rodney Brooks from Supervisor Keith Carson’s office
Diego Santiago from Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s office

Youth Summit panel of key leaders / Summit attendees brainstorming solutions to community issues / Step Into Your Power /Civicorps

Our panel of key leaders shared personal stories and advice for students about how to step into their power.

“If you are waiting around for someone else to solve problems, the answer is probably in you” – Mark Salinas

“Align yourself with people who believe in your potential.”
– Isabel Cortes

After listening to the powerful presentations, our Student Action Team chose two projects to put into action: the LGBTQ community meeting and #NoBeds: a media campaign about how to create adequate, accessible, affordable housing, especially for felons. Stay tuned for news as these projects get put into action!

The theme of the this summit was: Step Into Your Power — Transform Your Community and 100% of attendees said that they now feel inspired to make change in their community.

“We all have something inside of us that can useful to the world.”

“Today I learned specific steps that I can take to start civil action.”

“We need to put words into action. If you want to make a change in your community, you have to start with yourself.”

“We are the future.”

…and the future looks bright.

Student Action Team / Youth Summit panel of key leaders / Summit attendees brainstorming solutions to community issues / Step Into Your Power /Civicorps

Check out more pictures from this amazing day of empowered social change.

Donate today to support powerful leadership opportunities at Civicorps!

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Harris featured in SF Chronicle!

Harris, Corpsmember of the YearWe are thrilled to share with you the inspiring story of Harris Cox, 2015 Corpsmember of the Year, who is featured in today’s San Francisco Chronicle.

After being badly burned at age six, he spent the next six years in a coma. When he awoke, his only family member, his grandmother, slipped into a coma and died.

For many years, he was angry and alone, lashing out at a world that didn’t care for him — until he came to Civicorps and found his family.

Read Harris’ incredible story of “reaching and flying for hope” in today’s San Francisco Chronicle article.

Afterwards, we encourage you to watch Harris’ emotional and moving Corpsmember of the Year speech. Every year The Corps Network choose five outstanding youth across the nation for this prestigious award. Civicorps is proud to have him honored.

As a supporter of Civicorps, you are part of this man’s incredible journey and we thank you for supporting our work to help youth like him heal from past traumas and connect to their inner greatness.

Thank you for your belief in Harris and your belief in Civicorps.

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Discussing race + power; re-writing Shakespeare.

Re-writing Shakespeare

Last night Civicorps hosted a powerful discussion on race and power, which provided information on the adaption of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice that will be set in modern Oakland and will explore the issue of police violence.

Led by San Francisco Shakespeare Festival instructors, a panel of local politicians answered tough questions and then listened to students share their thoughts around the four themes of the play: justice, revenge, mercy and forgiveness.

Our panelists included:

  • Brigitte Cook, West Oakland Community Liaison to Councilmember Lynette McElhaney
  • Rodney Brooks, Chief of Staff for County Supervisor Keith Carson
  • Sargent Holly Joshi, Chief of Staff for Oakland Police Department

The result was a powerful, insightful conversation.

Student reflections:

“A thing that stood out for me was that a lot of the things that the panelists said about themselves – I could relate to.”

“The the themes of the play: mercy, revenge, forgiveness, and justice — I go through each one every day on the streets.”

“I liked when one of the panelists said ‘We all have a voice, so we all have power.’ It made me see that we do have power.”

Discussing race + power; re-writing Shakespeare / Civicorps

Now our students will work with a playwright to re-write the play and perform it on March 26th.

We hope to see you then for this incredible performance!


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Together, we made Oakland look good!

Thank you donors! Together, we made Oakland look good! / CivicorpsWe are so grateful for the generous donors who made gifts to support Civicorps. Together, we made Oakland look good!

Over the holidays we raised $54,476 dollars. With your support, Civicorps will serve over 100 young adults and provide:

1,600 hours of education, tailored to students’ individual needs,

1,200 hours of paid job training on real-world work contracts, and

600 hours of trauma-informed case counseling.

This in-depth, individualized support helped 43 students graduate with a high-school diploma in 2014 — we can’t wait to see how many students cross the stage in their cap and gown in 2015!

Because we provide graduates one year of college and career support, 82% of our graduates are still enrolled in college and/or employed one year post-graduation.

Thank you for being a part of this success!

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