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Meet Valerie.

When a young person joins the LA Corps, many doors are opened to new opportunities.  “When you come to the LA Corps, you’re coming into something bigger than a 9 to 5. It’s about a future, not just work, or a job,” describes Valerie S.

Valerie, a Corpsmember, has just been promoted to the Recruitment Assistant position with the LA Corps, where she will work for the coming 12 months with the Recruitment department. In this role, she will share her story and share her time with young adults ready to make a change in their lives. When talking to prospective Corpsmembers, she tells them, “Take advantage of all the certifications you can earn and take the experience seriously.” She reflects, “All those classes and trainings I took with the Corps changed me. I know so much more now and it feels good to tell others about it.”

“When I look back, I wasn’t going anywhere good,” Valerie shares. “I didn’t have any role models in my life to look up to. The Corps has been like a family to me and helped me to mature.  Now I feel like I am part of something special.”

Valerie has had a variety of experiences with the Corps, from trail maintenance, to janitorial experience, to beautifying the Angeles National Forest, to shoveling snow at the Crystal Lake Camp Grounds, to cleaning up brush after fires, to traveling across the state with the Corps, to earning 700 hours toward the AmeriCorps program, to working at the South LA Site at Saito High School.  She re-enrolled with the Corps five months ago, after leaving in 2015 when she had to face some personal challenges head-on. Before she first joined the Corps, she was 18, with only 9th grade credits on her school record. Frustrated by her setbacks, she felt uplifted when the Corps offered to help her with her education and the development of her workplace skills. “When I look back, I wasn’t going anywhere good,” Valerie shares. “I didn’t have any role models in my life to look up to. The Corps has been like a family to me and helped me to mature.  Now I feel like I am part of something special,” she continues.

“When I came back to the Corps, I was ready, I wanted more experience, something new and challenging. Now, seeing everyone here at the administrative offices makes me want to be more committed. I think to myself: ‘That’s where I want to be some day.’ It’s cool to be in this environment and I know the Corps will help me get to the next step in my life.”

Today, in addition to being the mother of a beautiful little girl, Valerie has a new set of responsibilities. In her new recruiting role, she helps prepare for each week’s recruitment orientation session for young adults interested in applying to the Corps. She’s learning database systems, Microsoft Office products, phone etiquette, project planning and more. Valerie now stands front and center, speaking to each recruitment session and sharing her experience and insights. “The Corps can be here to hold your hand and help you do what you need to do, regardless of your circumstances” she shares. “My friends got great jobs thanks to their experience at the Corps.  And, I’m thinking I’d like to go back to school and learn more. I might even make a career out of what I’m exploring now,” she adds. “I’m surprised that I took so much interest in working in an administrative setting. I’m learning something different every day, like even the way I speak on the phone and to people around me.  I feel more professional and I’m reaching out of my shell,” Valerie says.  She continues, “When I came back to the Corps, I was ready, I wanted more experience, something new and challenging. Now, seeing everyone here at the administrative offices makes me want to be more committed. I think to myself: ‘That’s where I want to be some day.’ It’s cool to be in this environment and I know the Corps will help me get to the next step in my life.”


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