“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“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.