"One Step Closer" by Norma

When I walk through the halls of Civicorps…

I take a moment…

and breathe.

I’ve made it!

My journey has brought me to a safe place. Two years ago I walked across the border, crossed the desert alone unaware of where I would end up. Today, I have persevered. Civicorps has become my second home.

When your family is three thousand miles away, it can be scary. In Guatemala, I had my parents guiding me. And now, my Civicorps teachers, counselors and peers have created a place of sanctuary. At Civicorps I am inspired to work hard and not give up. I have a support network that allows me to try new things. Most recently I played Hermia in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – something completely out of my comfort zone. I didn’t have my family present on opening night, but I had my Civicorps family.

“I have found a happy ending at Civicorps,
but in reality, it is just the beginning.”

Every moment I am at Civicorps, I know I am one step closer to earning my high school diploma. A dream come true.

If I was able to travel across countries and walk through the desert alone, I know I am capable of walking across the graduation stage with my high school diploma in my hand.  But this time, I will not be alone, because I will have my Civicorps family walking alongside me.*

Cuando camino por los pasillos de Civicorps…

tomo un momento…

y respiro.

                                                             ¡Lo hice!

Mi camino me ha llevado a un lugar seguro. Hace dos años crucé la frontera y camine el desierto, sola, sin saber dónde terminaría. Hoy, he perseverado. Civicorps se ha convertido en un segundo hogar.

Cuando tu familia está a tres mil millas de distancia, puede ser aterrador. En Guatemala, tuve a mis padres guiándome. Y ahora, mis maestros, consejeros y compañeros de clase han creado un lugar de santuario. En Civicorps estoy inspirada para trabajar duro y no rendirme. Tengo una red de apoyo que me permite probar cosas nuevas. Recientemente actué el papel de Hermia en “Sueño de Una Noche de Verano” una obra de William Shakespeare, algo completamente diferente a lo que estoy acostumbrada. No tenía a mi familia presente en la noche de estreno, pero sí la presencia de mi familia de Civicorps.

“He encontrado un final feliz en Civicorps, 
pero en realidad, es sólo el comienzo.”

Cada momento que estoy en Civicorps, sé que estoy un paso más cerca de obtener mi diploma. Un sueño hecho realidad.

He tomado un largo camino para llegar aquí, y sé que lograré caminar sobre el escenario de graduación con mi diploma en la mano. Pero esta vez, no estaré sola, porque tendré a mi familia de Civicorps caminando a mi lado.

*This interview with Norma was conducted all in Spanish.
Filed under: Blog, Student SpotlightTagged with: , , ,

Civicorps Receives Community Partnership Award

On Thursday, April 19th, Civicorps was presented with Mutual of America’s Community Partnership Merit Finalist Award. This prestigious national  award recognized Civicorps’ Teamster Union Apprenticeship Career Pathway Program in partnership with Waste Management that provides a pathway to lucrative union careers in truck transportation.

The award luncheon was held at the Oakland Marriott City Center Skyline Room where 100 guests enjoyed the sweeping views of Oakland during the awards ceremony. Theodore Herman, Vice Chairman of Mutual of America Foundation and Abbas Moloo, Regional Vice President of Mutual of America made opening remarks. Then, Thomas Gilliam, Chairman and CEO of Mutual of America presented certificates to organizations who helped create this career pathway:

Phil Dillard, Board President; Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney; Alan Lessik, Executive Direcotor; Minna Tao, Recology Golden Gate

Mayor Libby Schaaf, gave a powerful speech on unity and perseverance, recognizing the strengths of the partnership. Then, the Mutual of America Foundation presented Civicorps with a $25,000 check. An unexpected surprise!

Mayor Libby Schaaf

To honor those key individuals who helped create this partnership, one-of-a-kind commemorative coins were presented to Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney, Waste

Management’s Jacob Buckley, Teamster Local 70’s Felix Martinez, and Recology Golden Gate’s Minna Tao.

The ceremony was filled with inspiring speeches that demonstrated the strong relationships Oakland has forged to create career pathways for Oakland young adults. Thanks to Mutual of America Foundation and all our partners for a joyous celebration!

Check out photos from the event: FB Album.

Listen to Civicorps on KCBS radio talking about our pioneering partnership.

Filed under: Blog, Civicorps Events, NewsTagged with: , , , , , ,

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: , , ,

Pathways to Union Careers

Civicorps is excited to share the news that our career pathways to union employment are growing by leaps and bounds!

In 2015, Civicorps created 6 apprenticeships/internships in partnership with Waste Management that can lead to lucrative jobs with the Teamster Local 70 and the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers unions. Our Waste Management truck-driving apprentices earn over $20/hour, and after two years, they are eligible for union jobs earning $70,000/year while working towards a pension.

“I now have a career I can be proud of.”Pathways to Union Careers / Civicorps
– Wulliam Montolla, Waste Management Apprentice

This innovative partnership inspired us to create more pathways to union employment that help youth go from high-school dropout to union employee in as little as two years. Not only does this move the needle on employment, but also increases employment for good jobs that create life-long prosperity.

This year we expanded our partnerships to include Schnitzer Steel, which prepares youth to enter the International Union of Operating Engineers. They first hired two Civicorps graduates and were so impressed with them that they hired two more. One of the hires, Kevin, started in February, and in May, was hired as a full-time union employee.

Pathways to Union Careers / Civicorps

“Civicorps has been my foundation. Without that, I never
would have been able to advance this far.”
– Kevin Saefong, Schnitzer Steel union employee

Waste Management has been so impressed with our intern, Candace, that they are requesting 10 additional interns. In addition, the City of Oakland Public Works just requested 6 graduates to apply. Our Career Counselors are working hard to place youth in these lucrative positions!Pathways to Union Careers / Civicorps

Civicorps has created a strong reputation for producing skilled employees and providing the support both the interns and businesses need to help youth advance in their positions. This, combined with our relationships with three unions, is helping opportunity youth enter one of 36 positions (and counting!) that lead to family-sustaining careers.

Thank you for your support to help create these pathways!

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