On November 8th, a massive wildfire tore through the California mountain communities north of Sacramento. This fire being the deadliest since 1918, destroyed 95% of the city of Paradise and severely effected neighboring towns Concow and Magalia. The fire covered 153,336 acres of land, destroyed 18,804 buildings and home and caused 86 civilian fatalities. After 17 days, the fire was contained on November 25, 2018. The San Francisco Conservation Corps was invited to provide relief assistance by our sister Corp, San Jose Conservation Corps. Together we worked to provide relief to suffering animals of Paradise fires, assist them in getting vital care, and provide care for Paradise residents by sorting and distributing food and clothing. SFCC is very thankful for the opportunity to work hand and hand with the San Jose Conservation Corps, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Military to bring light to humanity through service.
This week SFCC Corpsmembers and staff welcomed two guest speakers to present various programs and employment opportunities to our young adults. On Wednesday, December 4, we welcomed Rima Vora with SF Made to discuss current employment or training opportunities in the Manufacturing Industry. SF Made’s mission is to build and support a vibrant manufacturing sector in San Francisco, that sustains companies producing locally-made products, encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and creates employment opportunities for a diverse local workforce. SFMade helps sustain and create job opportunities for the City’s low-income communities and individuals with less typical education, experience, or skills.
On Thursday, December 5, we explored the field of Human Services with guest speakers from Urban Services YMCA. Corpsmembers learned about their Empower to Employment (E2E) program. “E2E’s mission is to create viable pathways to sustainable employment for transitional age you between the ages of 18-24. E2E provides six weeks of paid, comprehensive professional development training as well as continuous support throughout the program and upon completing six weeks of training, they will receive a $400 stipend.
Thank you to all who participated in connecting our young adults with viable pathways forward, team work makes the dream work! We are better together.
On November 29, SFCC staff and a group of corpsmembers attended the infamous Alcatraz Island, a designated National Historic Landmark for its significant contribution to the nation’s history. We learned about key individuals as we toured the facility, one of which was an African American man by the name of Robert Lipscomb. The Alcatraz website provides a look into Robert’s past, describing his upbringing as, “turbulent,” and having included, “a period when he was institutionalized by his mother at the age of 9 after being declared psychotic”. We learned that he started committing crimes at an early age and was imprisoned at 18 for auto theft, which led to his incarceration at the State Reformatory in Ionia, Michigan. He was later transferred to Alcatraz Island due to his efforts to resist segregationist practices within the prison system. He was considered to be a real “threat” and “danger” to the prison system and American status quo.
Historically, Alcatraz has been associated with death, horror and inhumane conditions. While all ring true, there is a bit of hope illustrated in a new art exhibition coined: Future IDs. Socially engage artist, Gregory Sale states, “Future IDs is a multi-year, social art project about individual stories of transformation and how those stories collectively can help reframe the narrative of re-entry. It comprises art/future planning workshops, exhibitions and public programs across California, building towards an arts-based public service campaign. The central idea is for returning citizens to create new identification cards for future selves — perhaps for a dream job, a role in society, or a continuing role with family, such as father or mother.”
Our corpsmemebers appreciated the opportunity to re frame their narrative as many have been involved in the justice system. We returned to the City with an increase of history, appreciation of life and hope for the future!
Historically, obtaining a driver's license has been seen as a key component to independence! To provide this opportunity to our young adults, we offered driver's ed through the whole month of November which included having thought provoking discussion on the significance of a driver's license, studying the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handbook and reviewing: Driving Responsibilities, Signs, Signals, and Road Markings, Licensing, Registration and CA Vehicle Code, Vehicle Systems, Rules of the Road and Safe Driving Practices, Accidents, Causes and Prevention, Sharing the Road, and Alcohol and Drugs. Corpsmembers also used additional resources such as videos and practice packets to prepare for their upcoming driver's license tests! We are proud to report that two of our corpsmembers, Martin and Pasha, successfully acquired their permit and are now safely navigating the streets of San Francisco. Congratulations!
During our intercession this year, SFCC wanted to provide an avenue of creative relief and creative expression for our corpsmembers and did so with the introduction of our Arts & Drama Academy! Understanding that individuals gravitate towards different modes of creativity, we offered several areas of creativity during the first week, including: 1) Claywork: Getting your Hands Dirty, 2) Painting: In touch with your creative side, 3) Improv/Acting: Drama 101 and Spoken Word: The Power of Language.
In week 2 we held a series of workshops where corpsmembers joined in a Movement in Motion workshop with our Directory of Career and Community Development, Tom Holcomb. Here we encouraged a reconnection with the body, mind and soul to release expressive energy. Additionally we held a workshop on Making Videos where corpsmembers got into groups, went off in various locations with props and filmed a video on their experience with the San Francisco Conservation Corps.
To conclude our Intercession Workshop Series we hosted a talent show where corpsmembers participated by sharing their art work, doing stand up comedy, rapping, doing spoken word and many others!
During the month of October our Career Development Director and Career Pathways Coach facilitated weekly workshops to assess and increase financial literacy! Corpsmembers learned about the Importance of Financial Planning, Making Sound Financial Decisions, Preparing Monthly Budgets, Understanding the Time Value of Money, Assessing Your Savings and Investment Goals, Understanding Consumer Rights and Building Good Credit!
Cohort 18 participants presented on some powerful topics during this last month which included Gender Inequality in Employment and the Pay Gap, The American Disability Act and Racism, Prejudice and Inclusion in the Workplace!
Corpsmembers formed three groups, researched the histories of each topic, the current status and learned about the significance of understanding each and knowing your rights and responsibilities as an employee.
After researching their topics, each presented to the cohort and staff where they provided a thorough overview of their subject and even fielded questions from SFCC staff!
On Friday, October 12, 2018 SFCC, John Muir Charter School and Success Center SF celebrated the graduating class of 2018! A huge thank you to all that attended the graduation celebration. We were thrilled that so many of our staff, board of directors, partnership members and community members were able to be with our graduates on their special day!
Our educational curriculum highlights comprehensive skills development by linking academics to the service work our CMs participate in. This strategy develops and reinforces the basic skills necessary for both academic and professional success. Instructional strategies emphasize the practical application of learning using both work and academic subject matter. Our educational program guides participants to become life-long learners interested in pursuing further education and advanced training, and to continue to develop themselves academically over their lifetime.
If you are interested in earning your high school diploma or high school credits, please visit us: we are located at the San Francisco Conservation Corps headquarters at 205 13th Street, Ste. 2001, San Francisco, CA 94103.
SFCC Corpmembers worked at Candlestick Point State Park during the month of September on a series of urban green activities including habitat restoration & stewardship, consisting of: site preparation, installation of locally adapted native plants; and the emplacement of mulches and erosion mitigation features! And on Thursday, September 20th, SFCC corpmembers and staff attended the Ribbon and Cutting Dedication ceremony! It was an amazing celebration. The community can now enjoy access to six campsites, trail enhancements, and native plantings.
Thank you Literacy Environmental Justice for our continued partnership in establishing and preserving clean, green, healing spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area! SFCC staff and corpsmembers are grateful to have worked on this project and contributed to the restoration of Candlestick Point Park. The ceremony was both informative and incredibly healing as we took time to appreciate the need for the preservation of natural spaces and the power of community. A heart felt thank you and from the San Francisco Conservation Corps!
On Wednesday, September 19th, SFCC corpmembers (CMS) and staff attended a Digital Equity Workshop hosted by the San Francisco Office of Digital Equity as part of a citywide effort to develop a strategic plan to close the digital divide. The city wide effort aims to ensure all residents have the tools and ability to particpate in digital society and has dedicated resources to helping residents overcome digital barriers and to improving community standards of living. CMS and staff broke out into three groups and began to discuss what the City should do to meet their technology needs.
Four large posters boards quickly increased with powerful insight as facilitators took notes and CMS excitedly shared their experiences with WiFi service, surfing the internet, mobile use and technological education. Facilitators informed us that nearly 100,000 residents lack Internet access at home, which CMS, confirmed as they shared stories of going to the public library or local shops to access the Internet. Corpsmembers really enjoyed sharing their perspective and are grateful to have been invited to the table to have the discussion and their voices heard by the City of San Francisco!