Jasmin Angeles Zuniga is an alumna Corpsmember who joined the Corps in 2014. Often the only woman in a crew of men, she earned the respect of her peers through hard work and determination. A stellar Corpsmember, she delivered speeches at Corps events, traveled to the state and national Capitols with the Corps, and was selected as a 2016 Corpsmember of the Year by the national Corps Network.
The Corps came into Jasmin’s life at the right time, as she was leaving the foster care system. Once she was able to return home to her mother, she joined the Corps to be able to support herself financially. As a Corpsmember, she specialized in technical construction and was elevated to drive pick-up trucks and dump trucks for her team. She was also certified to operate power tools and heavy machinery. Jasmin received an AmeriCorps Education Award and attended East Los Angeles Community College and LA Trade Tech to study Wildlife Biology.
Today, Jasmin works at the Koreatown Youth & Community Center, a key Corps partner, as an Environmental Specialist. She works with court-referred residents who need to fulfill their community service hours. She appreciates that the people she works with often learn from the experiences she leads them in, cleaning up trash in the community. She described, “Some of them, it sticks with them. They get something from it and learn. Some actually start recycling afterward at home.” She continued, “We’re here to take care of nature. People ask me: ‘What’s the point? Why restore the environment?’ I tell them it’s a job we’re given to help take care of our world—it’s a responsibility we all have.”
Jasmin credits the Corps for helping to propel her career toward her passion for the environment. She says, “The Corps really helped me build up my leadership abilities. Looking back, it impacted me in so many ways. And it has helped so many young people. Who knows what their situation would have been without the Corps. It helps people financially, emotionally, physically. It’s a real support.”