From Eco-Friendly to Eco-Advocate

Jazmine earned her high school diploma and graduated in 2019 from Civicorps Academy.

When Jazmine contemplated her future after high school, she initially had hopes of becoming a social worker or a nurse. But thanks to career counseling and the Conservation Career Pathways program at Civicorps, she landed a paid internship with the City of Oakland as she completed her diploma. During her time as a Recycling Hotline Intern for the city, Jazmine’s focus turned towards environmentalism.

Now, Jazmine is an unabashed “eco-friendly tree hugger.”

“You can call me that,” she says. “It’s all I think about, especially when the pandemic hit. When people got skeptical and scared and wanted individually wrapped to-go food with plastic, it generated more plastic.”

As she learned more about the recycling process, Jazmine inched closer to the environmental division of the city. Jazmine transitioned from the Recycling Hotline to the Stewardship team, which focuses on beautifying Oakland. This work included replanting projects, advocating against illegal dumping, and managing “Adopt-A-Park” or “Adopt-A-Drain” programs. Through municipal programs, Jazmine was able to witness the breadth of green practices a city can do.

“When I was given the opportunity to work for the city, I didn’t think anything more about recycling. Eventually, it was a big eye opener for me. [The environment] is a big issue that needs to be talked about and dealt with.”

Jazmine first developed the confidence to pursue a professional path at Civicorps.

Seeing an ad on social media, Jazmine applied to Civicorps for a high school diploma. Soon, she found the organization had many free resources to develop her resume.

“Building your resume is the biggest one that we don’t think about while studying in school or working. You get opportunities for a CPR certification or using Microsoft Excel, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but actually looks good on your resume.

At Civicorps, I learned to take on any opportunities they throw at you, especially if it can help you in the long run. You can apply it to build your resume.”

And build she did. Jazmine recognized she did not have the strongest public speaking skills; she was shy.

“[I used to not] want to get help or ask for help but I learned from [Civicorps] not to be scared or to accept help when offered. It’s normal to seek help.”

Through her weekly classes, group projects and taking a public speaking workshop, Jazmine was exposed to public speaking opportunities. Jazmine found coaching, guidance, and repetition helped her to speak confidently.

She dazzled volunteers at Civicorps’ Mock Interview Panel workshop as she described her responsibilities as an intern for the Recycling Hotline. “I would hire her!” more than one volunteer commented.

Reflects Jazmine, “[Civicorps] is super encouraging. During my time there, no one was ever rejected or neglected. No one was pushed to the side. Civicorps is a family and it still feels like a family if I walk through the doors.”

Jazmine at center with the rest of her graduating class.

This determination and commitment to excellence are what Jazmine brings in her position at the City of Oakland. And, an open-mindedness to learn brought her a new passion: environmentalism.

Jazmine explains how she’ll show her bestie videos of caught fish being processed and treated poorly.

“Animals provide much more for us than we to them. I get emotional about it. I wasn’t into it before but now it’s been a huge eye opener. Anytime I can educate someone about it, I’m happy to. We just need to educate our people to understand its importance.”

We’re thrilled that Jazmine not only gained a deeper understanding of issues surrounding the environment, but that she’s also found a well-paid internship that has opened a new world of professional opportunities.

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