LA Conservation Corps

The LA Conservation Corps' primary mission is to provide at-risk young adults and school-aged youth with opportunities for success through job skills training, education and work experience with an emphasis on conservation and service projects that benefit the community.
Nov 8, 2013

Giving Thanks from the East LA Garden!

Chris, Cody & Francis send a message with veggies!
Chris, Cody & Francis send a message with veggies!

As the holiday season quickly approaches, we would like to take this opportunity to THANK YOU – our wonderful supporters – for making the East LA Learning Garden a reality!

Over two years ago, Alex Lopez, the Director of our East LA Center, dreamed of creating a place where our corpsmembers could apply their construction, irrigation and landscaping skills to create a community space that would promote healthier lifestyles and offer fresh produce at affordable prices in an underserved urban neighborhood.

With your help, we now have a vibrant urban farm that brings the neighborhood together for weekly harvests, engages local residents in deciding what crops to plant and provides on-going learning opportunities for our young people.  Corpsmembers have installed a rainwater capture system, built a composting center and learned about seasonal crop rotations.

“We are very grateful to all our supporters and partners who believed in our project and took action to help us make our plans and dreams come true,” said Alex.

In partnership with the LA Community Garden Council, the East LA Learning Garden has also provided donations of fresh produce to the Downtown Women’s Center, which provides 3 meals each day for their drop-in center guests.  In the future, the Garden will sell some of its produce to local restaurants that specialize in “farm to fork” offerings to help pay for its operations, but donations to local food banks will continue to serve the community as well.

We invite you to come and join us for a Sunday Market Day (9am – 1pm) and to share this project with your friends!  More photos can be found on our Facebook page (facebook.com/lacorps).

From all of us at the LA Conservation Corps, thank you for making a difference!

Downtown Women
Downtown Women's Center appreciates fresh produce
Staff member Carlos gets his son to help out!
Staff member Carlos gets his son to help out!
Community residents take trees to plant at home!
Community residents take trees to plant at home!
Outdoor meeting space is used for community events
Outdoor meeting space is used for community events

Links:

Oct 14, 2013

East LA Learning Garden Changes Lives

Corpsmembers harvest vegetables for the community
Corpsmembers harvest vegetables for the community

Fall has officially begun at the East LA Learning Garden and thanks to your support, new winter crops were planted last weekend during a community work day.  Volunteers including nearby residents, local students and LA Community Garden Council volunteers gathered to plant kale, arugula, radishes, green onions, spinach, potatoes, beets, cabbage, carrots and cilantro.

In preparation for the event, corpsmembers practiced their presentation skills by spending several weeks canvassing the neighborhood, asking local community members what vegetables they would like to have planted at the garden.  77% of those surveyed expressed interest in attending gardening and cooking classes.  Every Sunday, neighbors are invited to attend Market Day, where they can help harvest the crops and take home some of the produce at a nominal cost.  The remaining vegetables are donated to the Downtown Women’s Center, which provides vital services and three nutritious meals each day for over 150 homeless women who utilize its Day Center.  Your contribution is making a real impact every day!

Corpsmember Steve Bernal has been working in the garden since we broke ground in 2011.  He helped terrace the hillside, build the garden beds and install the irrigation system.  He has taken advantage of every opportunity that is offered, completing the Master Gardener workshops and participating in nutritional cooking classes.  He helps coordinate Sunday Market Day – even bringing his mother (pictured below) – and works on the crew that is building Little Green Fingers children’s gardens throughout Los Angeles County (see the video link below).  Steve has decided to become a chef and in addition to working for the LA Corps, he has two other jobs (one in a restaurant in Santa Monica) while also attending LA Trade Technical College’s culinary program.

Thank you for making these opportunities possible for Steve and all the deserving corpsmembers at our East LA Center!

If you would like to make another contribution to the East LA Learning Garden, please consider donating on Wedndesday, October 23rd - Global Giving's Bonus Day!  Donations will be match 30% (until funds run out) and a $1,000 award will be given to the project that has the most contributions on that day.  We would be very grateful if you could share this Bonus Day information with your social networks.

We welcome you to visit the East LA Learning Garden!  Please contact me at vgoto@lacorps.org or come by on Market Day, which takes place on Sundays from 9am to 1pm.  Don’t forget to bring your basket or reusable bag to take home some veggies!

Thank you again for all your support! 

Steve and his mom at Market Day with a neighbor
Steve and his mom at Market Day with a neighbor
Steve seems hesitant about the kale but liked it!
Steve seems hesitant about the kale but liked it!
Steve
Steve's crew completes gardening training
Sunday Market banner in Spanish
Sunday Market banner in Spanish
Sunday Market banner translation in English
Sunday Market banner translation in English

Links:

Sep 30, 2013

Preparing Young Adults for Fellowship Opportunities

Shawntrice is a Pathways Fellow (center)
Shawntrice is a Pathways Fellow (center)

Your generous support for this project funds the LA Conservation Corps transition program. After participating in our training program for more than a year, corps members are motivated to enroll in college, participate in an internship/fellowship or gain employment in their field of interest. Transition can be a difficult journey filled with doubt, fear, and excitement about available opportunities and upcoming change. Due to funding constraints, our program could no longer provide stipends to corpsmembers, creating an economic hardship for participants. Your generous support alleviates this problem by providing much needed financial support.

Shawntrice Leichhardt-Young is a former corpsmember whom greatly benefited from the services provided by the transition program. While in the LA Corps, Shawntrice served as a Clean and Green member for two summers, and as a Front Desk Attendant for two years. During a recent visit by Microsoft representatives, she was selected to participate in a photo shoot that featured corps members. Shawntrice is well known for her warm smile, amazing customer service skills and efficiency in a fast paced office environment. When Shawntrice learned about her upcoming transition from the LA Corps, she was nervous about her future prospects. Shawntrice supports herself financially, attends college, and works full-time. Shawntrice is studying to become a Social Worker. It was vital to find a job that worked with her college schedule.

A few weeks before transitioning from the LA Corps, the Transition Department received news of the Pathways Fellowship. With the support of Transition staff, Shawtrice applied for the fellowship and was selected to participate in a three month, paid fellowship. The Pathways Fellowship provides professional mentorship, leadership training, and field experience in a non-profit focused on social service. She is very excited to participate in a fellowship designed to support her college and career goals.

We welcome your continued support as we develop internship and fellowship opportunities for transitioning corps members! Interested in hosting a corps member intern in your company or organization? Please contact our Vocational Training and Transition Services Coordinator, Roxana Aguilar, with internship and fellowship leads raguilar@lacorps.org or 213-840-1079. Thank you for your generous contribution!

Shawntrice and Stephanie at Microsoft Photo Shoot
Shawntrice and Stephanie at Microsoft Photo Shoot
LA Conservation Corps East LA Gardens
LA Conservation Corps East LA Gardens

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