I am stepping up! There's no stopping me.
In 2018, East Oakland resident Martha Alva Velásquez was looking for work to support her parents while searching for a way to obtain her high school diploma. A referral to Civicorps’ “earn-while-you-learn” program was a perfect match, enabling her to complete her studies while working as a Conservation Intern. Despite finding herself in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic, she graduated in June 2020 – a great achievement by any standard. But that was just the beginning of Martha’s Civicorps journey.
By 2019, Martha had successfully completed Civicorps’ highly competitive Conservation Crew Leader Academy. Graduates become Conservation Crew Leaders who assist Conservation Supervisors with the supervision and training of Corpsmember Crews through the execution of projects in the field. After advancing to Crew Leader and having earned her high school diploma, Martha enrolled in her first college course in Park Management at West Valley College in the spring of 2021. She plans to take another course this fall at Laney College. Studying to become a Park Ranger while gaining field experience at Civicorps has given Martha, who at one time struggled to find the right way to build her future, a new game plan.
Now assisting with training and supervision of Corpsmember Crews, she loves helping people learn new skills. As she puts it quite simply, “it feels amazing.”