Recycling Driver Kiara Selected as Corpsmember of the Year

Every year, The Corps Network chooses 6 youth from 130 Service and Conservation Corps across the country for the national Corpsmember of the Year award. Civicorps’ star Recycling Driver, Kiara, was chosen as a Corpsmember of the Year for her exemplary success at Civicorps Recycling and for being a role model to other women as she advances to her Waste Management union apprenticeship in 2018. Congrats Kiara!

Click below to read more about Kiara!

Filed under: News, Student Spotlight

Civicorps student, alumna, and crew supervisor share their stories with East Bay Times

Civicorps was recently selected as a recipient for an annual holiday grant called Share the Spirit, which is sponsored by the Bay Area News Group and benefits needy residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties by funding nonprofit holiday and outreach programs. As part of the grant, three current and former Civicorps corpsmembers were interviewed by the East Bay Times and shared their stories of strength and finding community at Civicorps.

Read the full story by clicking below!

Filed under: Alumni News, News, Student SpotlightTagged with: , , ,

Four Soon-to-be-Grads Share Stories of Their Success

Michael

“At Civicorps I found the stability I craved – plus a place where I could show off my talents and excel.”

When I first came to Civicorps and went through orientation, we did an activity where we had to talk about our feelings in front of everybody. I was so used to shutting my emotions off that I couldn’t handle it, so I said I wasn’t going to do it and walked out.

Later on I realized I might not have this opportunity again, so I came back the next day and asked for another chance. When they let me back into the program, I decided I was going to do things right this time around.

Growing up, I had a lot of instability in my life. I was just a kid, but I had to move from one relative’s house to another because I had nowhere to stay long-term. That sort of life makes you grow up real fast.

At Civicorps I finally found the stability I craved – plus a place where I could show off my talents and excel. I went from not feeling motivated to wake up early, to having perfect attendance, making Honor Society multiple terms, and being awarded Corpsmember of the Quarter.

When I cross that stage it’s going to feel great to finally hold my diploma, but I know I’m not finished yet. I’m going to college to study business and psychology. The future used to seem uncertain, but at Civicorps I found a sense of myself that I can take with me everywhere.


Xenia

“I can’t wait to walk the stage, receive my diploma and show my daughter, Gabriella, that there are no limits to what she can achieve once she sets her mind to it.”

My parents separated when I was younger and our family split apart. I remember spending a lot of time on my own growing up – feeling like if nobody else cared about whether I was in school, why should I?

I didn’t have the support of a family to keep me grounded when I was younger, but when my daughter came along, all of that changed. Suddenly I had a family – and a reason to go back to school. It was then that I decided that I would do whatever it takes to be the best mother and role model for her.

Being a part of the Civicorps family has been by far one of the best experiences of my life. Even though it’s not a typical high school, it gave me a glimpse of the high school experience that I missed out on. Plus the added benefits receiving counseling from the support staff and sharing classes with other moms who were also trying to make a change for their kids.

I’m proud to say that in the spring I will be a college student, and once I’m finished, a Registered Nurse. I can’t wait to walk the stage, receive my diploma and show my daughter, Gabriella, that there are no limits to what she can achieve once she sets her mind to it.


Aaron

“Civicorps promised the opportunity to find a career path while I was in school – and it lived up to that promise. Now I know I want to pursue a career in IT and computer engineering.”

My mom and her sisters immigrated by boat from Laos to the United States. I’m the first generation in my family to be born here. Although I have six other siblings, I’m the oldest boy, and my mom expected me to set an example for my siblings.

Growing up in Oakland it was a challenge to stay out of trouble. When everyone you know is living the street life, you begin to think that’s the only way to make a living. Seeing someone close to me go to prison and another person die as a result of that life, I decided to make a change.

Civicorps promised the opportunity to find a career path while I was in school – and it lived up to that promise. Now I know I want to pursue a career in IT and computer engineering. After I graduate, I plan on enrolling in a Hack the Hood program to learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and after that, college!

Out of seven kids, I will be the third person in the family to finish high school and the first boy to cross that graduation stage. My mom is a single parent and sacrificed so much for us. Now I feel like I can give something back to her by graduating and being successful in my career.


Mianonnie 

“Going through what I’ve been through and then completing this program has shown me how resilient I am.”

Growing up I lost a lot of people close to me due to violence. I don’t think there was a year that went by that I didn’t lose somebody. It made the thought of going to school seem pointless, so I just stopped going.

When I had my two baby boys, I suddenly had a renewed motivation to finish school. Once they were old enough to be in school during the day, I was determined to get my diploma so that I could provide a good life for them.

Everyone comes to Civicorps with their own challenges and I had mine, but the support at Civicorps is huge. The counseling I received from staff and teachers helped me get to where I wanted to be. Coming to Civicorps and completing this program after everything I’ve been through has shown me how resilient I am.

This experience inspired me to think about how I can help others in similar situations. After graduation, I want to take psychology classes at Merritt College and become a therapist. Everything I needed in my youth and everything I got at Civicorps – I want to be that resource for others.

Join us to cheer on all of our graduates as they cross the stage to receive their diplomas! 

Filed under: News, Student Spotlight

Corpsmember of the Quarter: Kiara Alexis

Every quarter, staff vote on a Corpsmember who demonstrates personal growth and program success to receive this prestigious award. For Summer Quarter (July, August, September), we honor Kiara Alexis.

At Civicorps Recycling, Kiara is a positive force – always teaching and mentoring her peers. In December, she will start a prestigious apprenticeship with Waste Management. She is excited to be a role model to other women who are interested in entering this male-dominated field.

Congratulations Kiara!

Filed under: Student Spotlight

Corpsmember of the Quarter: Faby Gonzalez

What is Corpsmember of the Quarter? Every quarter, staff vote on a Corpsmember who demonstrates personal growth and program success to receive this prestigious award. Spring Quarter (April, May, June), we honor Faby Gonzalez.

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Faby Gonzalez is a great mediator. Her approach to handling difficult situations reflects a natural leadership among her peers. She negotiates differences in opinions and personalities among other Corpsmembers that help avoid unexpected conflicts on the job. Whenever at work, crews tend to run smoothly because she cares.

Congratulations Faby!

Filed under: Student Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight: "I'm more than just a category" by Mike Gomez

mike1All my life people have tried to categorize me. In elementary school I was put in the category of having a learning disability and people began expecting less of me. I dropped out of high school because I was tired of feeling like I wasn’t good enough.

Roaming the streets, I found temporary comfort in gang life. When I got in trouble, I realized I was just putting myself in another category that I didn’t want to be in. Friends of mine died in the street life and I gradually started yearning for something more.

I went back to my childhood church, hoping I might find some kind of purpose there. My pastor saw the potential in me to be a leader, and he helped me to see that I was more than the categories I had been placed in. I could learn when I was passionate about the subject. He told me to get a book about leadership so that I could help lead a seminar. Before long, I was going back to Barnes & Noble to read nearly all the books in the self-development section.

I read books by Dale Carnegie, Richard Covey – books on psychology and autobiographies of people I admired. It finally struck me – there’s nothing wrong with me or my ability to learn.

During my time at Civicorps, I was determined to show everyone that I could take the same classes as everyomike-gomezne else – and pass! I finished the program in 8 months – the fastest possible amount of time anyone can move through the program.

In college now, I have a 3.6 GPA – As and Bs! My time at Civicorps helped me see that I am a scholar. I want to study Administration of Justice at CSU East Bay so that I can enter a career that will allow me to serve my East Oakland community. Simultaneously, I have been and will continue to be a leader through my work with youth in my church.

I want to let other youth with similar beginnings to know that they are so much more than the categories others have tried to place them in.

Filed under: Student Spotlight