Voices of Civicorps
Quotes from our 40th Anniversary Oral History Project
- Steven Addison, former corpsmember and current Civicorps Conservation Program ManagerDo you remember the first time you were in a redwood forest? An old growth redwood forest - it’s like being a cathedral, right? Taking the corpsmembers on outdoor adventures, working out in nature where there’s no cell phone service - you get a chance to think. It’s a tool for self-realization. We’re calling this workforce development, but we know there’s a lot more to it than that. Conservation work gives corpsmembers a sense of value, gives meaning to what they’re doing.
- Jake Buckley, Waste Management, Commercial Route Manager for Oakland, Emeryville and AlbanyI'm very thankful to get employees from Civicorps. And the reason why is because they already come in with a sense of culture and work ethic, ready every day for long hours and hard work. Ready to make earnest pay. Because of the culture that Civicorps provides, they're willing to do the hard work right off the bat…. When we get employees from Civicorps, they have a one-up on some of the regular applicants that we get. They're already trained on the equipment. They already have their license. These are some of the things that waste management doesn't have to invest in. You know, short answer: normally when we get applicants, it's a building process, but when we get from Civicorps, they jump straight in. No toes in the water – they jump straight in.
- Bob de Paul, former supervisor, Civicorps/East Bay Conservation CorpsI want people to know that these corpsmembers, these young people, are learning and working hard, and these young people are somebody. They are the future. They live in a system that has failed a lot of them, but Civicorps is not giving them a handout. Civicorps is actually making them work hard. It’s a place for these young people to come and be whatever they are. They put on the uniform, and they have this enriching experience of service. I want people to know the young people are powerful, and they’re awesome. And if we just give them a chance to shine, they will shine.
- Brian Hickey, COO and CFO, CivicorpsCivicorps is an entity of people who care. For many of our corpsmembers – and staff – this is their first experience of being of service, being part of something bigger than themselves, being a boon to their community. It's not just about them, and that kind of lifts them into a whole other way of seeing the world.
- Nita Kirby, Board ChairThere are many pictures showing Civicorps graduations of corpsmembers with their families. So it’s just not the corpsmember who graduated. It’s the family — they graduated with that corpsmember. It’s just not the corpsmember and the opportunity the corpsmember has been given. Whether it’s a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, aunt, an uncle… through that experience, through their journey, they’re getting the skills necessary and all the things they need when you have the parents or the family around them, not only is that individual successful, that entire family is now successful. That is just priceless.
- Nancy Skinner, CA State SenatorCivicorps just offers so much promise to our young people who might be at risk, and to young people that were in the justice system or are system-impacted. We don't need any kids to be in that system. We need to have positive alternatives for them where they can see a future for themselves. I'm glad Civicorps has lasted for 40 years, and I hope it grows further and enjoys great success as we go forward.
- Eduardo Chaidez, National Park Ranger and Civicorps gradCivicorps has given me so much. Talking about history, talking about nature, talking about conservation, wearing a uniform with a little badge – I definitely wouldn't be here without Civicorps.
- Carl Menconi, former Work Program Coordinator, Civicorps/East Bay Conservation CorpsCivicorps is the perfect setting for a kid who can’t get a job because he or she doesn’t have experience and can’t get experience because they don’t have a job -- the corps seems to fill both those niches. Working here gives them actual hands-on work skills, but I think more important, teaches them how to work, how to be part of a team, how to follow instructions, how to show up on time, how not to get sidetracked by conflict. All the stuff you need to be successful in the world of work and also experience the satisfaction of working.... This experience motivates them to participate in the world of work and have a much greater chance of success.
- Amy Slater, Board Member, CivicorpsCorpsmembers are clearly doing great work. I live near some trails, and I see them out there once or twice a year clearing the trails. That's really nice to see. They're doing something that's useful and valuable, while getting access to skills and being in a different environment – this combination is very, very valuable.
- Peter Slote, Recycling Program Manager, City of OaklandEmploying Civicorps interns and having them incorporated into our staff has really enriched me and my staff…. Some of the young people we’ve employed here or have contracted with Civicorps to work for us here have brought a high level of skills to the table from day one, while others were able to build skills while we train them and guide them. They’ve been able to return a really high level of investment of our time and efforts. Providing that guidance and oversight to these young people, these aspiring professionals, is excellent leadership training for my staff... and it really enriches our work environment.