I FOUND my power
Growing up, Kiara had a dream for her future: a husband, children, her own home, financial security, and even a Yorkie named Sweet Pea. Unfortunately, the public school system put a damper on her dream, and one of her teachers even told her, “If your parents are poor, then you’ll be poor, too.”
Still, Kiara persevered, but she struggled to find a career that fulfilled her. She tried childcare, food service, and clerical work, but none of these fields sparked her passion. But as a new mom who had recently lost her job, the pressure was on to find work that was meaningful and put food on the table. Heeding her mother’s advice that sometimes she would have to get her hands dirty, Kiara joined Civicorps as a Recycling Intern.
“Listening to my mother’s words and taking a chance on myself, I was able to turn my whole life around,” Kiara says.
Kiara performed a variety of jobs related to waste management—sorting on the recycling line, helping on the waste collection trucks—and worked her way from the bottom up. Her hard work and determination have made her succeed in a male-dominated industry. In 2018, Kiara achieved two major milestones: she became one of the Corps Network’s Corpsmembers of the Year, and she became an apprentice at Waste Management, where she is one of only five women driving trucks at the company’s Alameda County facilities.
As she skillfully navigates her 23,000 lb. recycling truck through the community, Kiara radiates success – inspiring other women to enter the male-dominated field. In two years, she will become a Teamster truck driver, earning a starting salary of $75,000 a year plus pension. She looks forward to being able to support her family and give back to the community.
“I have hopes of one day opening a community center to refocus the minds of the youth, spread love, and motivate greatness,” she shares. “As for my family and me, our dream home – the dream home that almost never was- will be paid for, as will a good education for both my children. Thanks to Civicorps I am happy to say that I will now be able to give my children the life I didn’t have growing up.”