Phil Mitchell

Phil Mitchell

I Am Driven

Sitting atop one of the East Bay Parks’ many rolling hills during his work breaks, Phil would often look out over the horizon and reflect on how far he had come in such a short span of time.

Like so many young men in Oakland, Phil grew up without an exact roadmap for how he would achieve his dream: to buy a home and to provide for his family. He didn’t know how to get there, so he experimented with methods that ended up costing him his freedom.

“I realized that my actions were taking me further away from my dreams rather than bringing me closer to them,” Phil said. He was determined not to make the same mistakes again and when a friend told him that he could get a second chance at Civicorps, he called to enroll.

Phil saw Civicorps as the perfect launch pad to get him moving toward his dreams. “I was surrounded by a lot of people with the same goals I had. People at Civicorps were in the process of finding themselves and trying to make positive changes in their lives.”

During his time at Civicorps, Phil stacked up as many tool certifications and credentials as possible. Before he knew it, he was a Crew Leader. Later on, he obtained his Class B driver’s license and became a truck driver for Civicorps Recycling. Because of his leadership skills, he was promoted to a Supervisor for Civicorps’ Job Training Center. With each promotion, he was already looking two steps ahead to determine how he could continue to grow.

Following Civicorps, Phil landed a job with the Oakland Public Works Agency as a Heavy Equipment Operator. He is a first responder in the event of mudslides, and he is part of a team that works their way around Oakland, paving potholes and assisting with homeless encampment cleanup.

“It feels like I’m doing a service for the community by cleaning up the debris and repaving streets around Oakland. I used to play on these streets as a kid and the work I do now feels like something positive I’m giving back to the community,” says Phil.

In 2017, Phil signed the papers on his new home, making his longtime dream a reality.

“I remember that Civicorps had us do a 5-year plan in class and buying a home was a big one on my list. It took a little bit more than 5 years, but hey, I made it to see that dream finally come true!”