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2021 Corpsmember of the Year: Destiny Lewis, PowerCorpsPHL
Every year, at The Corps Network’s National Conference, we honor a select group of exceptional Corpsmembers from our member Service and Conservation Corps. These young adults have exceeded the expectations of their Corps by exhibiting outstanding leadership skills and demonstrating an earnest commitment to service and civic engagement. The Corpsmembers of the Year are role models; their personal stories and accomplishments are an inspiration to Corpsmembers nationwide.
“When Destiny enters a room with her smile, the whole Corps community feels its warmth. When Destiny accomplishes something, she shares the benefits with us in all the kindest, most authentic ways.”
Prior to joining PowerCorpsPHL, Destiny was a stay-at-home mother to her son and was planning her return to high school to receive her diploma. After graduating, Destiny began her job search and came across an ad on social media promoting the benefits of joining PowerCorpsPHL. Wanting to change her life for the better, Destiny applied to become a Corpsmember in 2018.
Joining the Corps at 19 years old, Destiny was initially shy and reserved in her new line of work. Within a few months, she began to embrace her experience as a Corpsmember and blossomed as an environmental activist. During her first year of service, Destiny actively participated in the first iteration of Ladies First, PowerCorpsPHL’s affinity and support group for female identity Corpsmembers. Destiny was a key component in creating the first Power Panel of accomplished women in non-traditional careers to speak and network with the women of PowerCorpsPHL.
After successfully cultivating this Power Panel, Destiny’s confidence grew, and she found her voice. Shortly after, she served as a fellow with the Clean Water Fund and the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership. In this role, Destiny and a fellow Corpsmember conducted community outreach and public education events on lead awareness, accessing nature, and the benefits of watersheds all throughout Philadelphia.
In her second year of service, Destiny was selected to serve as an Assistant Crew Leader, a position responsible for co-leading a crew of new recruits. Within her first few months in this position, Destiny’s Crew Leader left to pursue a leadership opportunity at another Corps. Challenged with the task of helping her beginner crew acclimate to the Corps experience while adjusting to new staff leadership, Destiny stepped up to pull her team together and finish their term strong.
Leading into the second half of her Assistant Crew Leader term, in the beginning of 2020, Destiny was invited to enroll in a Youth Work Apprenticeship. In this apprenticeship, Destiny attended college classes weekly and applied behavioral health concepts learned in school to help keep her crew on track.
In the early stages of the pandemic lockdown, Destiny faced the task of leading her second crew virtually in order to follow COVID-19 safety precautions. It was in this time of adversity that Destiny went above and beyond for her members. She attended every mandatory and optional remote service activity, checking in on them, reflecting with them, and offering guidance for the team to get through the pandemic together. At the end of June 2020, Destiny was offered a temporary staff position as a Site Supervisor to lead on-site services with a small crew through the new COVID-19 reality.
“During my time as a Corpsmember, I learned that I really enjoyed mentoring people and teaching them new skills,” said Destiny. “I love being a part of someone’s growth and being able to be that support for them.”
By the end of 2020, Destiny completed her apprenticeship, earning 24 college credits with straight A’s. Destiny also received her driver’s license and earned an OSHA-30 certificate. Destiny now serves in a permanent Crew Leader staff position at PowerCorpsPHL and is enrolled at Thomas Jefferson University, majoring in mental and behavioral health.
Destiny’s plan for the future is to create different ways to mentor and reach out to youth. She knows that now, more than ever, young people need guidance and hope for the future with a stable source of income.
Destiny’s “Big Idea” for the Corps Community:
“The one big idea I have for the future of the Corps movement is to encourage more mother’s and fathers to join a Corps like PowerCorpsPHL. A lot of people put off changing their life and starting their career because they have kids. That is what I thought too. But once I joined PowerCorpsPHL, I learned that you can do whatever you put your mind to, no matter the circumstances.”