Sebastian CastilloCastro Valley resident Sebastian Castillo is passionate about conservation. In March 2020, he was attending classes at Las Positas and Chabot Community Colleges when California mandated the shelter-in-place order. Suddenly, he found himself furloughed from his part-time job. When a colleague mentioned Civicorps, he discovered an opportunity to gain paid field experience in conservation and in the process, a leadership role.Sebastian’s interest in conservation stems from formative experiences as an Interpretive Student Aide at East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) and as a National Park Service Intern.At Civicorps, Sebastian received paid job training as a Conservation Intern while continuing to attend college, acquiring valuable experience for his resume. “I was interested in wildlife preservation and ecology, but I didn’t have any field work.” He also sought out a leadership role.In fact, his leadership qualities stood out from the beginning to his supervisors.Sebastian was promoted to Crew Leader after attending Civicorps’ semiannual Conservation Crew Leader Academy during the pandemic. He learned how to lead his peers, including Corpsmembers with more seniority.
I'eishia RobinsonI'eishia has completed many of the goals she set for herself. She earned her high school diploma from Civicorps in 2013, racking up awards from the Academy and Job Training Center along the way. She became an intern with the Oakland Housing Authority, one of Civicorps' longtime internship partners. At the age of 23, she earned her driver's license, with Civicorps staff supporting her every step of the way. Once she had her license, the Oakland Housing Authority hired her full-time as a groundskeeper, a stable job that pays a living wage and offers opportunities for advancement.At Civicorps, I'eishia found many opportunities to challenge herself as well as dedicated staff who supported her and cheered her on. In 2014, she traveled with Sr. Support Services Manager Joseph Billingsley (JAB) to Dayton, OH to present at the Kettering Foundation's Alternative Institutions Working With Young Adults Research Exchange. I'eishia and JAB joined representatives from organizations throughout the U.S. to participate in a discussion about how to help youth become empowered and engaged citizens of their communities.I'eishia may have achieved many of her goals, but she continues to dream big. Inspired by her experience at the Kettering Foundation, she now has her sights set on becoming a motivational speaker and using her powerful voice in service of youth from underserved backgrounds.
Lily NguyenLily Nguyen knew something had to change after dropping out of school and drifting from place to place. Through word of mouth, she found out about the Academy and Job Training Center at Civicorps and enrolled in 2015. Shortly after, she learned she was pregnant. That didn’t stop this West Oakland native from becoming the first child in her family to earn a high school diploma. The road ahead wasn’t easy, but support from Civicorps staff and Corpsmembers motivated Lily to finish school and learn a trade simultaneously.Lily worked up to the week before her baby was born. After graduating from Civicorps Academy, she progressed from Conservation Intern to Recycling Intern, earning her Class B license and a promotion to Recycling Driver. Upon completion of the Recycling Internship, Corpsmembers become eligible for one of the prestigious apprenticeships at Waste Management.Amid a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted women of color, Lily became one of only seven women accepted into Waste Management’s two-year union apprenticeship in Alameda County.Today, Lily looks forward to buying a house. She is motivated by a desire to make a better life for her and her son. Her new position makes these dreams possible.
Jose IriasAfter high school Jose Irias tried college, but it wasn’t the right fit. Finances were a problem and the San Leandro resident lost his confidence. A friend suggested getting a Class B Driver’s License. Jose searched for training programs and came across Civicorps, where he was accepted into Civicorps’ Teamster Truck Driver Career Pathway program.As his supervisors saw how committed Jose was, promotions followed. He earned forklift and E-waste certifications and advanced to support a route for Oakland International Airport. Within three months, Jose had his Class B Permit and in October 2020, he passed his Class B License test. He was given a Class B truck and his own recycling route.Jose attributes his success to his training at Civicorps. “Working there really brought out the leadership that I didn’t know I had.In July 2021, Jose was accepted into Waste Management’s Apprenticeship program where he is training for a permanent position.
Enoc Peraza GarciaFor Enoc Peraza Garcia, Civicorps has offered a rare chance to earn an income, gain job skills, and complete his high school diploma, all in one program. It's an opportunity he's willing to travel for.Like a growing number of students, Enoc commutes from outside Oakland, which costs precious time and money. Civicorps addresses the needs of commuting students like Enoc by providing passes for public transit, emergency funds for gas, and even a place to shower. As more and more youth face displacement, we find that transportation support is critical to helping students succeed in our program.Enoc believes the community he has found at Civicorps is well-worth the journey. He has graduated from our program and was promoted to a conservation intern position.
Youth Development Impact Data
Data from Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021)
Youth participated in our programs
AmeriCorps Education awards earned
Earned by Corpsmembers
Hours of paid conservation services
Professional certifications earned
Received support from our counseling team
Corpsmember of the Quarter
What is Corpsmember of the Quarter?
Every quarter, staff vote on a Corpsmember who demonstrates personal growth and program success to receive this noted award.
In 2020, Jonathan Lopez-Arevalos dropped out of school to support his family but was still adamant about earning his high school diploma. His sisters, who are both Civicorps alumni, told him about our paid job training program, where he could also obtain his degree. The fact that he could complete his education while working was the inspiration Johnathan needed to enroll.
As the world started to change in spring 2020, Johnathan also adjusted as he planned his future. Staff encouraged Jonathan to apply to be a crew leader in 2021 after observing his tenacious work ethic. Nervous at first, Jonathan was admitted to the Crew Leader Academy following a great reference from his Supervisor, who stated “Mr. Lopez is a self-motivated individual, who is reliable, respectable, and handles responsibilities well. He completes tasks in a timely manner, and can be counted on to work efficiently and effectively with minimal supervision”
Jonathan finished his month-long Crew Leader training in November 2021, at which point he received his blue Crew Leader hard hat. Two months after achieving this noteworthy feat, Jonathan accomplished another, earning his high school diploma at the start of January 2022! Today, Jonathan is both excited and nervous about his new role, he works hard, and continues to learn from his mistakes. He offers the following advice to incoming Corpsmembers and those who are interested in becoming crew leaders: “Try to do everything at your own pace and set your OWN expectations. [Take] one step at a time, one objective after another.” And the biggest thing Jonathan has gained from the Corps? A boost in confidence.
Congratulations to Jonathan on earning the Corpsmember of the Quarter award!
Every quarter, staff vote on a Corpsmember who demonstrates personal growth and program success to receive this prestigious award.