What has your personal and professional experience been like over the last few months?
For most of us, that seems like a complicated question. Nevertheless, it is the one we posed to two of our outstanding Corpsmembers who came to speak at our annual Board of Directors meeting last Wednesday. As always, I was both proud of and inspired by their honesty, humor and vulnerability.
We were reminded of all the layers and complexities that the young people in our program are facing as Corpsmember Mercades shared that the money she is earning at the Corps is the only money coming into her household right now. Her mother and other family members have been unable to work, and she thanked our Corps Navigators for providing them with extra groceries and transportation assistance.
The Corps has always tried to provide that additional care to Corpsmembers when resources allowed. Today, those needs have increased, and we have been grateful for the support and assistance so many of you have stepped up to provide.
We also took a moment to celebrate, as we learned that Corpsmember Edwin was set to receive his high school diploma. As you can imagine it is a major milestone for the young people who are still on that path. Our partners at the Los Angeles Education Corps who run Saito High School have been nimble, creative and enthusiastic in keeping the momentum going. Last Friday, they hosted a drive-through graduation and 18 Corpsmembers celebrated earning their diplomas. Of course, we missed the joy and energy of the traditional in-person ceremony. However, seeing Corpsmembers continue to move forward and take hold of their futures has been and will continue to be our goal.
Edwin has decisions to make now and new goals to set. He talked about practical goals for future jobs, and eventually opened up about dream careers. These are all things that we will continue to help Edwin plan for and realize in his next phase at the Corps.
As we head into summer and the start of our new year at the Corps, I am thinking about what we can do better, what additional opportunities we can provide to Corpsmembers, the additional resources we need, and how we can better serve the community. We have exciting conservation and community projects coming online. We are exploring wonderful new partnerships. We also have big hills to climb and lots of work to do to ensure the best experience possible for young people.
I hope you can take some time to reflect on your own experience, triumphs and challenges. Stay tuned for more of the same from the front lines of the Corps.
Yours in service and gratitude,
Chief Executive Officer
LA Conservation Corps