A Beacon of Hope

[pirenko_blockquote author=” — Susan, Civicorps Volunteer Academic Coach” margin=””]Nick is a beacon of hope to help those young people who were previously incarcerated. . . his life is a testimony to personal power. [/pirenko_blockquote]

Civicorps student Nick never expected to be a beacon of hope. A high-school dropout who lived on the streets, he briefly gained some stability living with an uncle and doing construction work. But the streets drew him back, where for a time he was king: he dealt drugs and ruled with fear and intimidation. His world crumbled when he was arrested and imprisoned for nine months. Reflecting on this time, he said, “After jail, I wanted to focus on going back to school. I got good grades in high school, but was pulled away by stuff I was doing on the streets and I was so tired of the streets.”

Now Nick is enrolled at Civicorps where our Case Counselor helped him find housing. During the day he participates in Civicorps’ Job Training Program doing environmental mitigation work throughout the East Bay. Afterwards, he arrives at school where he puts in two hours of study towards his high-school diploma. This former king of the streets has become royalty in a different way—last spring he starred as Hamlet and just this month as Romeo in Civicorps’ bi-annual Shakespeare productions.

Shakespeare / A Beacon of Hope/ Civicorps

According to volunteer Academic Coach Susan, “Nick is so positive, friendly, helpful, and wow, what a sense of humor.” Yes, the same Nick who was once a feared gang leader and ex-con is now someone who “shares his radiance with others.” Nick is on track to graduate in December 2013 and plans to attend Alameda College in January.

Nick’s story is not unusual for Civicorps. All of our students have struggled: some with homelessness, drugs and jail like Nick, and others with learning disabilities, poverty and neglect. All are here because they want to make a better life for themselves; they want to be a beacon of hope for their families and for their community. All of us at Civicorps—teachers, support staff, volunteers (like Susan) and mentors—are ready to do whatever we need to do to clear the obstacles to a better education and job prospects for our students.

As a Civicorps supporter you have a role to play too.

Without you and your financial support there is no school in the East Bay that allows young people like Nick a second chance to shine. With your year-end gift of $100, $500, or $1,000, you join us in believing in the ability of our students to brighten the world in which we all live.

Become a beacon of hope for our students by donating today.

Filed under: Student Spotlight

"I Really Want to Make It"

Sharon Altar / "I Really Want to Make It" / Civicorps“I Really Want To Make It” is part of PBS series focusing on Latino graduates, featuring Sharon, a Civicorps student. Sharon was due to graduate Civicorps in December with plans to attend college, when Civicorps  found out that she died from a heart attack on October 16, 2013.

This video is a testament to the perseverance that disconnected youth all over the country feel as they work hard to turn their lives around and to overcome the barriers that they face. Sharon’s final words in the movie talked about her future and how “I really want to make it.”

In the video, Sharon reflected on her past gang involvement as well as the strength of her family and discovering Civicorps as the path to a new future.

Remembering Sharon

All of Civicorps mourns her death  and the greatest honor we can give to Sharon is to bring her words into our hearts and our actions.

[pirenko_blockquote author=” — Sam, Civicorps student” margin=””]”Sharon was my age, trying to get to a higher place. So, I’m going to graduate for her. I’m going to go to college for her.” [/pirenko_blockquote]

Want to make a donation in Sharon’s honor?   
Donate today

Filed under: Student Spotlight

A Night to Remember

A Night to Remember

Civicorps’ Shakespeare Dinner Theater

On Friday, November 15th over 100 of Civicorps donors, volunteers, mentors, community partners, and elected officials attended our first-ever Shakespeare Dinner Theater! Guests enjoyed a riveting performance of Romeo and Juliet over a delicious Italian dinner provided by Market Hall Caterers.

After the show, two performers joined guests at each table and the room ignited in lively conversation. Guests and performers discussed the process for preparing for a role, what it means to perform Shakespeare, and how this experience impacted the students’ lives. We hope all of the guests treasure that experience as much as we do.

Thank you again to our incredible partner, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, for helping put on such an incredible performance. Civicorps loved making new friends and appreciate the funds that were raised for our life-changing programs!

See you all at our show in the spring!

Filed under: Student Spotlight

Your Donation Opens the Doors to College

Support Civicorps’ Students’ Journey to College

[pirenko_blockquote author=”— Stanley, Civicorps graduate,
now full-time student at Merritt College” margin=””]”When I got my diploma, doors opened to me. The people who had said ‘no’ before, now wanted me. That felt good, but it will feel even better when I have a college degree and more doors open.”[/pirenko_blockquote]

Graduating with a high-school diploma at age 23 is the first big step that Stanley is taking to secure a family-sustaining career as a video game illustrator. Through Civicorps, he discovered a career that fuels his passion for art that can also provide a good life for his daughter.

Stanley’s Story

Civicorps Graduate Stanley / Your Donation Opens the Doors to College

After a tumultuous childhood spent in group homes, Stanley graduated from Civicorps in June, 2012.

Determined to continue his education, and provide for his daughter, Stanley has been working with Civicorps’ College Counselor to enroll full-time at Merritt College taking the general education classes he needs to eventually transfer to Ex’pression and pursue his dream to become a video game illustrator.

“The easy stuff never really gets you anywhere, but the stuff you gotta work for, that’s what will pay off in the long run.”

With Civicorps assistance he was able to receive funds from our Post-Secondary Education Initiative grant, access college financial aid, and receive $395 to cover his enrollment fees, books, and transportation costs.

Janae’s Story

Civicorps Graduate Janae / Your Donation Opens the Doors to College

Because of family circumstances, Janae started school at a late age. She was excited to finally be in school, but was subsequently assaulted. As a result of the trauma, she dropped out, ended up on the streets, and eventually in jail. Out of jail, she vowed to never go back and enrolled at Civicorps.

Despite the odds, Janae graduated in June, 2013 and became a mother shortly after. She plans to be a positive role model for her daughter and to provide her a good life. Our College Counselor, Elaine, worked with Laney College’s Disability Students Programs and Services department to help Janae access the educational support she needs to get her cosmetology degree.

“Elaine helped me with enrollment, took me on a campus tour, and even found me a tutor. I couldn’t have done this without her.”

Thanks to our Post-Secondary Education Initiative grant, we have provided $200 in enrollment fees and books for Janae. However, in December, the Post-Secondary Education Initiative grant will end.

The loss of this funding threatens the stability of our college program.

Therefore, we are reaching out to you, our generous donor, to help us maintain this valuable and life-changing program. You have the power to give Oakland youth like Stanley and Janae the opportunity to follow their dreams and to provide a good life for their children.

Your donation can help us ensure that our college program continues.

Together, we can give our graduates the life-changing experience of college that will enable them to pursue family-sustaining careers that not only provide for their children, but also inspire them to treasure education. On behalf of Stanley, Janae, and our future graduates, we thank you.

Donate Today!

Filed under: Student Spotlight

“This is the justice work of our time”

Civicorps Academy article in EDsource / “This is the justice work of our time” Justice Work Of Our Time

Read this AMAZING article about Civicorps by EdSource!

By Kathryn Baron on EdSource on October 7, 2013

Not a single student at one of Oakland’s public high schools has to be there. They all arrive by choice – willingly, happily, sometimes desperately – at Civicorps Academy, a charter school for young adults who have aged out of traditional high school but aren’t too old to want another crack at earning a high school diploma.

“People tell me, ‘You’re getting a diploma? (You’re) 22.’ I am,” Tyneisha Crooks said she tells her incredulous inquirers. “There are people older than me getting (a diploma) and I commend them for that; that’s a big step. You got to start from the bottom to get on top and that’s what I’m doing.”

Read the entire inspiring article here.

About EdSource

EdSource works to engage Californians on key education challenges with the goal of enhancing learning success. It does so in three ways: providing timely, useful information to policymakers; advancing awareness among the larger public on complex education issues; and highlighting effective models and strategies intended to improve student outcomes.

Civicorps is thankful to Kathryn Baron at EdSource for attending our Leadership Summit and for publishing this thoughtful article.

Filed under: Student Spotlight

"What made your life different?"

Loni Hancock with Civicorps students / "What Made Your Life Different?"“What Made Your Life Different?”

Watch this powerful video of Senator Loni Hancock talking with Civicorps students at our Leadership Summit about how they started on a positive path.

Filed under: Student Spotlight