"I liked the tour. It was a great experience especially to be the only girl on the tour."
Corpsmember Johanna Mendoza after she joined fellow corpsmembers in a tour of the Cement Masons Apprenticeship and Local Union 600 to learn about career pathways.
Celebrating a New Class of Graduates
The Corps welcomed 28 new Corpsmembers into the family this fall!  Some were recruited by staff at community centers, libraries and youth centers, while others heard about the program from partner nonprofits or friends who’ve worked with the Corps. During their four week orientation, they immersed themselves in OSHA training, first aid training and CPR training. They cleaned streets and alleys, removed tires and trash, and also worked a graveyard shift at the Rose Bowl until 3:30am! A highlight was the “Spike Retreat” in Temescal Canyon, where they stayed the night, helped with trail maintenance, learned to use chainsaws and weed eaters, cleared brush and worked together as a team.

“We really got to know each other and learned how to work with others ... we learned to work smarter,” expressed new Corpsmember Tyari Hunter. “I want to gain more experience and use the benefits the Corps has to offer for my future,” he shared.

Each quarter the Corps holds a graduation ceremony to transition new Corpsmembers out of orientation and into the Young Adult Corps. 

“What I like most about graduation is that now we get to help youth find new opportunities in their lives,” shared Carla Alas, Program Coordinator at the South LA site.   

The graduation included speeches by the new Corpsmembers and even a rap performance.

Now that they are officially “Corpsmembers," they begin a new road to build more confidence and seek out opportunities for their future. As one Corpsmember exclaimed in her graduation speech: 

“I’m not stopping, and y’all shouldn’t either!”
Dedication of John Van de Kamp Center
The LA Corps headquarters relocated from Olympic Blvd. to the beautifully renovated site at 1400 N. Spring Street this year. To celebrate the big move and renovation, supported by donors of the Cornerstone Campaign as well as contributions from Gil Cedillo, Hilda Solis and others, the LA Corps community and neighbors attended an open house and building dedication. The space was dedicated to longest-serving Founding Board member, the late John Van de Kamp.  Mr. Van de Kamp’s widow Andrea and daughter Diana Van de Kamp attended the dedication event, joined by LA Corps founder Mickey Kantor who said a few words about John and dedicated the building to his memory.

“We’re so proud to honor John Van de Kamp with our new building. It really did take a village to complete the project,” expressed CEO Wendy Butts. She added, “We’re also really pleased to have our executive team and our Northeast LA team in the same headquarters.”  

​​​​​​​Renovating the building was a major project and required the services of many community members. The renovation was designed by Renee Dake-Wilson and Dake Wilson Architects. TELACU Construction performed the construction work. The building features bright, new colors, eco-friendly interior design, as well as large, colorful portraits of Corpsmembers on each floor. Alumni Corpsmember Irvin Centeno, who used his Russell Kantor Next Steps Award to open his small business, hand painted room signage, adding a personal touch to the space makeover. 
Women in the Wilderness
Two very lucky Corpsmembers, Melissa Cabrera and Mia Rogers, recently returned from an adventurous 8-day excursion into the Sierras with the Women in the Wilderness Program, led by the California Conservation Corps and Eastern Sierra Conservation Corps.

"The experience is designed to provide access for women, and specifically women of color, to transportation, gear, leadership and more on the trip," described Agnes Vianzon, Founder and Executive Director of the Eastern Sierra CC.  "The participants all bring something to the table to share, their commitment, being on time, helping set up camp, filtering water, and even making a commitment after the week to engage their community," she added.
The project comes full-circle when participants get back together each year for a reunion and to discuss how the experience impacted them and what they are doing in the communities.

"As a first generation, woman in the US,  I wasn't given the opportunity to connect with the great outdoors—my family never had the time or money to venture out. The Women in the Wilderness trip pushed me to understand how much I am capable of. Knowing I hiked more than 30 miles in the wilderness encourages me to believe in myself and encourage others. This program uplifts young women to find themselves and understand their place in this world as an avid adventurer."
Corpsmember Alumna Paola Flores who now serves as the LA  Corps Environmental Education Coordinator.
Corpsmembers Explore Energy Pathways Thanks to Edison

Thanks to Southern California Edison for renewing their support of the LA Corps' Green Career Pathways. As the “Energy Pathway” flagship sponsor, Edison’s support will expose Corpsmembers to solar installation training and energy-related career paths.  The Edison grant will be instrumental in helping Corpsmembers develop skills needed to determine their personal career path goals and direction after the Corps.  

In celebration of the new program year, four of our newly enrolled and active AmeriCorps Education Award Program members gathered together to recite the AmeriCorps pledge to renew their commitment to national service. They also received patches and stickers to wear proudly on their uniforms as they continue to impact their communities with their conservation efforts throughout the year. Each of these corpsmembers fulfills 300 work hours in the field, in addition to supplemental training, earning an AmeriCorps scholarship for their efforts.
Our SEA Lab Celebrates 20 Years of Education
Have you been to the SEA Lab lately? Watch this virtual tour as our SEA Lab Education Coordinator Jennifer Kolbauer takes you through the space in this interview with KTLA during our SEA Lab's 20th anniversary weekend carnival celebration.
What Inspires CEO Wendy Butts?
LA Corps CEO Wendy Butts, shares her insights on what makes our Los Angeles community unique, as well as her connection to service, inspired by the PeaceCorps, in this Upswell podcast. Listen in at the 17:45 marker for Wendy's segment.
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