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.

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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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Welcoming our new Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Civicorps is thrilled to announce the appointment of our next Executive Director, Tessa Nicholas, effective Friday, March 1, 2019.

With nearly 25 years committed to youth and community development, Tessa has spent her career in alternative education and nonprofit program management.

Through her work with organizations such as the Student Conservation Association, Girl Guides of Jamaica and oneLondon Ltd, she has witnessed the beauty of young people seizing the chance to engage with their learning and to be inspired to reach for their dreams.  Tessa continues to listen, learn, and seek new ways to best address the inequity of opportunity impacting young adults in under resourced communities.

A Coro Youth Development Fellow and a Return Peace Corps Volunteer, Tessa brings an academic understanding and real-world experience of how systemic racism impacts people and their ability to live their best life.  By continuing to create and support relevant education and training programs, Tessa believes we can make a difference in the lives of young people and their families while also addressing our biased systems. 

Tessa is a veteran Civicorps staff member with a lengthy history of service to the organization, and is deeply familiar with every facet of our work.  Most recently, Tessa served as Civicorps’ Deputy Director.  In this role, she gained broad exposure to all aspects of operations at Civicorps.  During her 18 year tenure at Civicorps, she variously worked directly with our Job Training, Academy and Recycling Departments, giving her deep and granular knowledge of how we function across every department.  As such, Tessa enjoys broad support from staff throughout the organization.  Tessa holds a BA in Social Science from Chapman University, and an MA in International Service from Roehampton University of London.

Civicorps is proud of our successful history of assisting young adults, particularly youth of color, transform their lives through education and job training.  As Tessa herself reflects, “while at Civicorps I have learned that we all deserve a safe space to learn, grow, and connect with others who believe in the power of our dreams.” 

The Board of Directors is committed to excellence and intends to amplify our successes as we enter this new phase of institutional leadership and vision with Tessa at the helm. Tessa’s capacity, commitment and positive energy speaks for itself. We are confident that she is an excellent match for this position and will be a strong asset to Civicorps in this role.

We invite you to actively participate in realizing the potential of every young adult who steps through our doors, and we look forward to your continued partnership. Please join us in warmly welcoming Tessa Nicholas as Civicorps’ new Executive Director.

Nita Kirby,

President, Civicorps Board of Directors

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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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Civicorps Alum, Tyneisha Crooks in the East Bay Times

Share the Spirit: Woman who got help at Civicorps to turn her life around now wants to help others

By Thomas Peele | Bay Area News Group
December 15, 2018

OAKLAND — Tyneisha Crooks’ late father didn’t want his children “stuck on stupid,” she said. It was his way of telling her and her 10 siblings that to get anywhere in life they needed an education.

“Education was a big thing to him. You have to get a high school diploma to support yourself,” was part of his mantra, she said. “Without it you can’t do anything.”

Crooks admits it took her awhile to heed his wisdom. At Antioch High School her senior year, “I wasn’t feeling it. I would leave for school and not even go to school almost every day.”

Read More…

Filed under: Alumni News, News