Finalists: 2023 Corpsmembers of the Year
Learn about the nominees for the 2023 Corpsmember of the Year Award! We are inspired by all our remarkable finalists and their outstanding achievements and service to local communities.
The Corpsmember of the Year Award recognizes young adults who have demonstrated leadership abilities, gone above and beyond, and leveraged their service experience. Learn more about Awards here. The winners will be recognized at The Corps Network’s 2023 National Conference, March 7 – 9. Stories are arranged in alphabetical order by Corps name.
American Conservation Experience
“Precious Vicente is absolutely a positive influence and role model in her community.”
Before joining American Conservation Experience (ACE), Precious Vicenete had spent the past few years working as a barback and a Fedex employee. She was seeking a new opportunity when she came across ACE and decided to join their Traditional Trades Advancement Program.
While at ACE, Precious was able to connect with her ancestry and work to help preserve the Gila River Indian Communities culture, traditions, and historic sites. She was able to use her experiences to inspire and recruit Indian Youth Service Corps members from her community. Precious leads by example in her community, she says, “When kids come to tour our site, I hope they can see a representation of themselves working in the Corps or Park Service.”
Precious was able to network during her TTAP term and secured another internship with Conservation Legacy. From there she was hired by the National Park Service where she works as a Park Ranger full-time at the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. She says that she serves as a cultural resource for the staff and public. Precious would like to return to school to study field archaeology. She believes that, “through the Corps, Indigenous youth are able to find their own self-identity by preserving their own sacred sites and learning to be stewards of the land.”
Sara Del Mar Velez
“No one person has been more committed to the success of BoriCorps than second-term AmeriCorps member, Sara Del Mar Velez.”
Sara has impressed BoriCorps staff with her commitment to not only her own success, but the success of her fellow Corpsmembers and BoriCorps as a whole. She is known for her work ethic and stable presence and is seen as a mentor to younger members. Staff note that, “BoriCorps’ collective accomplishments would not have come to fruition without her presence.” Before joining BoriCorps, Sara was working in customer service. She says of her Corps experience, “The organization has become a part of me. I’ve done everything I can just to see a better future for it.” During her term she organized over 30 volunteer work days with potential project partners for herself and her fellow Corpsmembers.
Sara is currently serving her second term as an AmeriCorps member with BoriCorps, and has advanced to a Crew Leader position. She is starting a Bachelors of Science degree in Industrial engineering and has hopes of becoming a wildland firefighter in the future. Sara believes that BoriCorps helps inspire Corpsmembers like herself to, “believe that anything we want to do is attainable.”
“Claire is truly a team player, and her bright, quiet strength and perseverance has been consistent and inspiring through the season for everyone who works with her. Claire has been a consistent positive presence throughout a challenging season.”
Claire joined the Ohio Conservation Corps as her university lies between two parks the Corps had previously restored. She has a passion for nature and being physically active outdoors. Not wanting a desk job and already spending much of her time at the parks, she pursued a position with Metroparks on a trail crew. She helped in an ambitious project to restore two miles of trail in a Cleveland Metroparks restoration that has already seen thousands of visitors in its first few weeks reopened. Her work serves a community of almost 20 million park visitors. Her dedication never falters and she is able to lean into trail work and learn about it while also motivating her fellow crew members to approach projects constructively and keep their spirits up. Though the job is physically demanding, she feels a sense of accomplishment building beautiful parks for others to find leisure and peace.
Claire is in her final year studying Sustainability and Business Administration and hopes to find a job within the environmental protection industry upon graduating. She plans to research new sustainability initiatives that she can get involved with in her city. She believes her generation can grow through a Corps experience and make a difference in environmental protection.
Conservation Legacy – Stewards
“Zerxes’ positive attitude and enthusiasm has been so infectious and makes Joshua Tree National Park a better place!”
As a Night Skies Assistant at Joshua National Tree Park, Zerxes was tasked to develop one light pollution-based interpretive program and deliver it to the public once a week. However, Zerxes exceeded expectations and went on to develop three interpretive programs on night skies and presented their programs three times a week. Zerxes connected and engaged with a diverse range of visitor populations at Joshua Tree National Park during their presentations and “inspired people of all backgrounds to embrace science, astronomy, and conservation of natural resources.” A UCLA graduate who majored in Astrophysics, Zerxes has been described as a “sponge,” as they often took advantage of numerous educational opportunities and resources at the park. In addition to teaching park rangers about astronomy, they also developed a guide to assist new rangers interested in offering astronomy programs to the public.
To say that Zerxes is liked by staff at Joshua Tree National Park would be an understatement, as “Zerxes is one of the only interns in numerous years that have caused park management to consider how [to] rearrange [the] budget and keep them on permanently.” Zerxes has continuously strengthened relationships with the park’s partners including the Sky’s the Limit Observatory and also represented Joshua Tree National Park in public events as an “amazing ambassador within the community.” Zerxes is currently still “loving every single minute of” their Stewards Individual Placements position with Conservation Legacy and hopes to attend graduate school in the future.
Conservation Legacy – Stewards
Christopher “CJ” Franco
“CJ is such a joy to work with! He exudes aloha and brings it to work with him every day! We all hope he can become a more permanent fixture here at Haleakala National Park!”
CJ worked in different national parks in various food and beverage positions and volunteered with the National Park Service before joining Conservation Legacy. He wanted to learn to become a steward and follow his dream of handing off beautiful scenery to the next generations. He has served terms with Conservation Corps North Carolina (CCNC), as a crew leader with Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC), and is now serving his third term as a Indian Youth Service Corps Traditional Trades Intern with Haleakala National Park under trail maintenance for historic preservation. In order to access the worksites. which are located inside a crater, CJ and his crew must hike 10-18 miles one way, leading a team of donkeys to transport their supplies. He completed his A100 flight class and became certified to be a flight crew member to assist with the heli-ops, also transporting project materials. In addition to the outstanding work he is doing in the field, CJ has played an integral part in two rescue operations involving visitors to the park, receiving a letter of commendation from the park for his efforts.
CJ has also demonstrated a keen interest in showing his appreciation for the native flora and fauna through artwork during his down time in the backcountry. After his term, CJ will continue to work with the park and solidify his career in the National Park Service. He plans on pursuing his education at a university and hopes to learn enough to pursue his interest in becoming an EMT-certified ranger. Haleakala National Park has also expressed that they hope to bring him on as a full-time staff member upon the completion of his current internship. CJ wants to continue being a steward of the land and make progress in his practice of the arts.
Conservation Legacy – Stewards
“After three years of service with Conservation Corps New Mexico(CCNM), Nina will be greatly missed. She has made a big impact for CCNM within the Las Cruces community and we would not be where we are as an organization without her hard work and dedication.”
Prior to joining Conservation Corps New Mexico (CCNM), Nina supported her family by working as a litigation/legal secretary in Los Angeles for 20 years. Taking some years out of the workforce and wanting to help and serve others, AmeriCorps helped her to find a job. She has loved the experience; the opportunity to work for something bigger than herself was transformative. She has successfully served three terms through the Stewards Individual Placement Program in Las Cruces. During her terms, she successfully secured multiple grants that CCNM will use towards implementing youth-focused programming in the Las Cruces area. She has worked to re-engage a handful of vital organizational partnerships, building a total of five during this service term and helping expand CCNM’s footprint in the region. She also found time to work with the local community, engaging with over 100 community members through tabling events and other public outreach.
Nina’s service illustrates the gold standard in what it means to live up to the AmeriCorps pledge to “Get Things Done.” She received the President’s Call to Service Award, which is the highest level of award given to U.S. citizens for community service. The New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute, a partner organization of Stewards, in hearing of Nina’s reputation has created a project and position for her to continue civically engaged work from the comfort of her home in Las Cruces following her third term in 2023.
Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa
“Mary specifically embodies respect, service, and community.”
Mary Metchneck is known for truly valuing serving her community. Before she joined Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa (CCMI), Mary did a service term with Kupu in Hawaii. Throughout her three terms with CCMI, Mary served on an emergency deployment to Missouri for COVID-19 vaccinations and in 2022 as a Field Specialist. She completed over 300 hours of disaster response work, became certified in wilderness first aid, wildland firefighting, racial equity and much more. She also helped to install a rain garden and has participated in civic engagement and outreach opportunities. Today, Mary is a Program Coordinator at CCMI for their Increasing Diversity in Environmental Careers program.
Mary wants to help open up the natural resource field for BIPOC and underrepresented individuals. Throughout her service terms, Mary’s commitment to her community was shown through her belief that people can improve the environment and make the outdoors accessible for all. Her supervisors say that she “welcomes everyone, regardless of background or differences, and inspires everyone around her.” Mary hopes to use her AmeriCorps education award to pursue a masters degree in Marine Conservation.
Conservation Corps North Bay
Omar Bueno Arroyo
“Omar is truly an exemplary role model to his fellow Corpsmembers”
Since joining Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB) in 2019, Omar Bueno Arroyo has truly taken advantage of all that the Corps experience can offer and has been able to earn his high school diploma in addition to numerous certifications. He has demonstrated personal growth throughout his service, learning to manage his time and put the crew’s needs first. This has gained him a reputation as a leader and team player who takes pride in seeing his crew succeed. He enjoys helping others learn and is known for welcoming and encouraging new Corpsmembers.
Omar’s biggest challenge throughout his Corps experience was in earning his high school diploma. The task became so challenging that he briefly left the Corps when learning became virtual. However, Omar persevered and walked the stage in front of his family, son, and fellow Corpsmembers in September 2022. Omar says, “I continue to work at CCNB because I like to help the community by providing support for environmental issues.” In the future Omar plans to pursue a career as a firefighter or EMT.
AmeriCorps Member – Education Award Program
“Kassie is someone we see having a significant influence on her community and the world. She is unique and knowledgeable, with the drive to continue making an impact for years to come. We are so excited to see her journey unfold!”
After Kassie graduated college with a degree in International Business and a minor in Environmental Studies she was considering pursuing a career in environmental litigation and worked as a paralegal. She came to realize her skills and passions were more oriented towards hands-on environmental work and she wanted to find a more fulfilling career. She spent two seasons on The Student Conservation Association’s all-women’s restoration crew before becoming an Education Program Coordinator for GEM Environmental. She took over their Yavapai Exceptional Industries program, which oversaw up to 20 participants. YETI is a local non-profit that provides adults with disabilities a chance to participate in different learning experiences. She continued a relationship with the Community Nature Center in a significant way by helping lead 2nd-grade outdoor learning events, which involved trail walks and lesson planning. She also was involved in the UNC’s Nature Ninos, a monthly event for families at a different park each month. One of her unique projects was creating a Leave No Trace (LNT) project, which was the first of its kind to cater to younger children. The Leave No Trace booklet was referenced in her Nature Ninos walks as a series and encouraged the LNT lessons to be used in a fun and creative way for children to hold interest.
Upon finishing her term, Kassie took a position as an Interpretative Park Guide at Indiana Dunes National Park and was promoted to Education Program Guide at The Morton Arboretum. She hopes to continue working in the environmental field and will be using her education award to pursue a Masters of Science in Conservation Education through Mississippi State University.
“Cassandra has been a positive influence by setting the example for professionalism, participation, and engagement. Cassandra has been consistent throughout the program year by having wonderful attendance, being reliable, and always wearing appropriate personal protective equipment(PPE).”
Cassandra spent six years as a middle school teacher, serving two of those years in the AmeriCorps Teach for America program on the south side of Chicago. She wanted to spend more time out in nature and felt she was losing the passion for teaching when she joined Greencorps Chicago. Not only did she meet all base level milestones set for Corpsmembers, but she gained additional certifications becoming an Illinois state certified pesticide applicator and Chainsaw Feller 1. She utilized an opportunity to present at the Corps’ annual end-of-year Conservation Corps conference hosted by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. This opportunity made her more recognizable to the many conservation organizations that attended the event. She goes the extra mile by being inquisitive, asking engaging questions, and leveraging her position with Greencorps to improve the opportunities she can receive.
Cassandra has been volunteering with Openlands, a partner agency, in the TreeKeepers Program. This program trains individuals to become tree ambassadors that care for the urban forest in Chicagoland. With this certification program, Cassandra plans to partner with the school where she used to teach to create a tree keeper program for their students. She hopes to also partner with the Chicago Park District as a long-term tree ambassador. She will continue working towards bringing safe, accessible green spaces to the south side of Chicago and be a conduit for elementary and middle school-age children to immerse themselves in nature.
Heart of Oregon Corps
“Jill has had a positive influence on her Corps and peers by being a stand-up leader, crew member and educator. Jill genuinely cares about the well-being of all of those around her. Jill would always lead by example and strive to be the best every day.”
Jillian joined Heart of Oregon Corps after finishing high school. She enjoys being outdoors and working with her hands. She completed the basic certifications of First Aid/CPR, S-212, and Heart of Oregon Corps Saw Training, and participated in all of the skills clinics that were provided during her term. She even began teaching skills and would often step in to instruct her peers alongside trainers and year-long AmeriCorps members. She served well over her required service hours by the end of her term. She always does more than is expected and is always asking how other Corpsmembers are doing if they seem down or are experiencing issues outside of AmeriCorps. She has even shown up on days she wasn’t scheduled just to connect with past Corpsmembers or help a crew get ahead on a project. She also attended three spike camping trips, more than any other Corpsmember, during which she was an integral part in treating 700 acres.
Jillian is currently using her education award in her first year at Smith College, studying Geosciences. After graduating from college, she hopes to work for the U.S. Forest Service or the National Park Service, continuing to better natural spaces. Jill has done amazing things for the Heart of Oregon Corps, the local community, and herself. She is a devoted, kind and hard-working AmeriCorps member.
“Matt has taken full advantage of his Kupu term despite the challenges of the pandemic and continues to lead with humility.”
Matt began working with Kupu at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in 2021. While there, he assisted on the Endangered Endemic Trees of Kauai project and decided to continue through a second term to see the project to completion. Through this experience Matt was able to gain a deeper knowledge of Hawai’i’s rare and endemic plants, all while serving as a leader in creating community among his fellow Kupu Corpsmembers. Matt believes, “this work has given him a full-circle perspective of the work involved in saving rare plant species, from their collection to their outplanting.” Matt received the “Hana” (work, duty, task, service) award last year for being kind, humble, contributing to the overall success of plant conservation work, and understanding the bigger picture of what the Corps is working toward.
Matt is currently continuing his education as a first-generation college student at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, studying botany. He plans to continue working in conservation in the future and says he may even pursue a PhD. Matt believes, “when people share the kind of work that they’re working and participating in, this motivates others to want to get involved and make a difference as well.”
LA Conservation Corps
“Kevin has been a positive influence on the Corps by being a helpful member to his supervisors and by being a Corpsmember driver.”
Kevin joined the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC) looking for an opportunity to use his driver’s license. Being a Corpsmember driver is an important position with a lot of responsibility. His position entails moving project equipment, gear, and Corpsmembers across the city from site to site. Kevin has been awarded by his Corps as Corpsmember of the month and is now being nominated for Corpsmember of the Year for his work ethic and sense of responsibility. While serving with LACC, Kevin has grown as an individual. He has a “can-do” attitude, follows the Corps rules and regulations, and serves as a role model to his fellow Corpsmembers. In addition to driving, Kevin has helped with tree maintenance, planting, and street cleaning services.
Kevin believes that his Corps experience has helped him to become stronger and more careful and helped him to become a better leader and work with a team. In the future he would like to pursue a leadership position working at a hotel or as a staff maintenance worker for LACC. Kevin believes that Corps programs can help their community by planting more trees to provide cleaner air.
New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg
“Her smile is infectious and her energy is boundless – she is fierce!”
Throughout Sanaya’s term with New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg (NJYC) she was known as a leader and trail blazer. After personal hardships, Sanaya connected with Corps work, finding peace and healing in nature. Her hard work and determination helped her not only to succeed in the Corps but to earn her high school diploma and go to college. Sanaya says that her Corps experience empowered her to become more confident, conquer her fears, and become a stronger leader. She believes that her Corps experience helped her to develop into the person who she is today. Corps staff says that Sanya is the, “role model we direct our current Corpsmembers to as a success story – a primer on how success is done.”
NJYC helped Sanaya to learn the importance of community, and the impact of her actions and that the world needs more patience, kindness, and understanding. She says that the Corps, “Brought out a side of her that wanted to help and care for others because of the way they constantly treated her, always letting her know that it was okay to be confused, scared, or even in pain.” Sanaya is currently pursuing a degree in Business Management at Bloomsburg University and hopes to one day own a sports and athletics store.
Reading Climate Corps
AmeriCorps Member – Education Award Program/Opportunity Youth Service Initiative
“Aisha is always willing to help her peers.”
Aisha has been helping her community through Corps service while “maintaining a reserved but positive attitude.” Keeping her friends and family in mind, she was motivated to join the Reading Climate Corps to improve her local community. She promotes “a good atmosphere among those who run into her” and is always willing to assist her peers.
In addition to helping maintain the environment through Corps service during the day, Aisha has been working night shifts at a grocery store. Yet she still finds the energy to offer civic service in her spare time. Aisha continues to expand on her leadership skills while working alongside her service team, and she has consistently shown the initiative and focus required to perform necessary tasks.
Rockland County Youth Bureau
AmeriCorps Member – Education Award Program
“Charity has a gift of bringing people together, and her connection to the Haverstraw community engaged the children we work with. Working with her was an enriching experience for every Corpsmember and student.”
Described as “driven, scientifically curious, and results-oriented, it’s no surprise that Charity has faced numerous professional, personal, and environmental accomplishments while working with the Rockland County Youth Bureau and the Rockland Conservation & Service Corps. Eager to help the neighborhood she was raised in, she conducted important community fieldwork and citizen science within the Village of Haverstraw while also being a critical part of Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University’s Next Generation of Hudson River Educators. One of her supervisors stated that “Charity really helped to define the role of building connections between the local community and their environment. Her passion for introducing her community to the Hudson was unstoppable.” A key member of NextGen for two summers, Charity maintained close connections with 19 high school students while they participated in the eight-week program. Additionally, she educated 1,440 people with Hudson River Activities while co-facilitating Science Saturdays on the Piermont Pier.
Charity’s passion for environmentalism and outreach led her to speak at conferences, on webinars, and environmental events. An aspiring writer and journalist, she was also featured in the Lamont Newsletter and asked to author an article for The Conservationist this year. What makes Charity so effective in her work in environmental education and outreach is her “ability to render scientific concepts into engaging and fun community events.”
San Jose Conservation Corps
AmeriCorps Member – Education Award Program
“Rosalina has been the example of a Corpsmember success story since the beginning.”
Despite facing adversity, Rosalina is constantly uplifting her San Jose Conservation Corps community with her can-do attitude and perseverance. While taking care of two daughters as a single mother, she has helped improve her community’s green spaces by working on various vegetation management projects this past year. She has been described as “a staple and influence for other women in the organization by leading by example.” Not only did she encourage her team with endless support and lead the way for various community improvement projects, but she was also able to earn her driver’s license and become a U.S. citizen, all while raising two daughters.
Rosalina is still serving as a Corpsmember while also working as a translator at a law office. She is currently working to become a certified translator. Due to her work with SJCC, Rosalina was connected to various new experiences and skills that have given her the confidence to accomplish her goals. “I’m really thankful that I joined the Corps because I got the help that I needed in order to get my citizenship, driver’s license, OSHA-10, CPR, and chainsaw certifications. These will all help me in my future job opportunities.” With her newfound skills and experiences, Rosalina plans to apply for permanent jobs involving city or park maintenance. She also has aspirations of becoming a medical assistant.
“Every so often, I’ll reflect on how I’ve changed since working with SEEDS, and every single time I notice something new.”
Starting college in 2020 was not an easy experience. Marlo finished her freshman year feeling a desire to take action and get out in the world to explore her interests. After joining the SEEDS team as an EcoCorps Assistant Crew Leader in 2021, Marlo’s hands-on skills, environmental knowledge, and leadership qualities led her to become a Crew Leader for the 2022 spring-summer season. According to supervisors, Marlo “shared enthusiasm for the work on the toughest of days and communicated well with all of our site partners and the general public” while supporting incoming Corpmembers and collaborating with her fellow Crew Leaders. She was even described by SEEDS’ Program Director as “an exemplary mentor to other EcoCorps staff, members and leaders, alike.”
Marlo, who is a first generation college student, is studying astrobiology at Rice University. She has even had the opportunity to serve as a research assistant on the Mars Rover project. Marlo is currently studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, learning about polar biology. She will continue her studies and research in ecology and begin her senior thesis when she returns to the United States. She is passionate about conservation and largely credits her experiences at SEEDS for increasing her self-confidence.
Urban Corps of San Diego County
“Hamed is behind every Corpsmember incentive activity, supporting and encouraging Corpsmembers to take advantage of every experience offered to them.”
Shortly after Hamed left Afghanistan and came to the United States in December 2021, he was connected with Urban Corps of San Diego County (UCSD) through the International Rescue Committee. Hamed soon enrolled in UCSD along with three of his siblings and dozens of other new Afghani refugees. Since then, he has been taking advantage of numerous Corps opportunities. After Hamed became one of the first members in his Afghani community cohort to earn a driver’s license through the Corps, he began helping others to do the same by driving fellow Corpsmember to the DMV to take their driving test. Previously named Corpsmember of the Month, it’s often joked that Hamed is an Urban Corps spokesperson since “he wants to share his experience with others, supporting their time at Urban Corps, and helping them feel comfortable on this journey.” In addition to working in the e-waste department, he works as a translator and interpreter to any new Corpsmembers who speak Dari and Pashto. He is also learning Spanish so he can communicate with some of his peers at the Corps in their native language. Hamed was recently nominated to become a Crew Leader.
Hamed is still enrolled as a Corpsmemer and is working alongside UCSD to prepare for his future goals. After showing interest in becoming a pilot, the Corps helped set up a sit-down interview with an Air Force pilot so that he can learn more about the career route. Looked up to as a leader within the Corpsmember community, Hamed is constantly helping others like him to follow in his footsteps. Hamed is thankful for his Corps experience – as he says, “the Corps has given me the encouragement and support to be who I always wanted to be and get out of my comfort zone.”
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps
“Sophie lived on site and fostered a deep sense of community within our campus cohort, living the Corps experience each day.”
It didn’t take long for Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) to recognize Sophie’s unrelenting positivity and compassion for others. Not only did Sophie help lead VYCC’s women’s affinity crew for their youth members, but she also proudly represented AmeriCorps members in Vermont by speaking publicly about her AmeriCorps and VYCC experiences at an AmeriCorps State and National Symposium. Even though only project leads typically deliver the “Health Care Share” food boxes VYCC grows and prepares for hospitals in the surrounding area, Sophie went on deliveries to connect with recipients even after her crew left. “Something remarkable about Sophie is her ability to connect and find common ground with anyone. Several times throughout the season we saw her meet people’s skepticism with openness and unwavering positive regard. It made her a highly effective leader both in creating a fulfilling experience for members and in getting projects done.”
Sophie is now a field instructor with Trails Carolina. In her new role, she will lead disengaged young adults on wilderness therapy excursions which include various recreational activities like backpacking, equine therapy, and yoga classes. Eager to help others, Sophie continues to give back to those in need and hopes to continue her career in outdoor education.
X-Cel Conservation Corps
“Cory established himself, not only as driven, disciplined, and dedicated, but he demonstrated that he wanted fellow Corpsmembers to succeed.”
A major part of X-Cel Conservation Corps is preparing Corpsmembers to obtain a license that’s required to obtain an entry-level wastewater service operator position in treatment plants. This process involves taking a class similar to a college-level course. Not only did Cory consistently score higher on his weekly exams and final test than any other previous Corpmembers who participated in the course, but he was also dedicated to motivating and supporting his classmates. “Before weekly tests, without being asked, Cory would go around to fellow Corpsmembers to review questions or practice solving math questions to make sure they were ready to pass the test.” Even though it had never been done before, Cory’s cohort requested to be prepared for a higher-level license immediately after graduation. Largely due to Cory’s leadership, almost everyone in his cohort earned their Grade 5 license which can add around $9 to the hourly pay rate they would have received with a lower-level license.
As a result of his hard work and dedication, Cory now has the highest level of wastewater operator license that he can obtain in Massachusetts without having work experience in a wastewater treatment plant. Additionally, Cory was hired as a part-time instructor for the Corps’ wastewater operator license preparation classes, and he recently completed a second-round interview for a full-time wastewater operator position in his hometown. Motivated by his enjoyment in helping Corpsmembers prepare for their wastewater operator license exams, Cory is now determined to find a full-time wastewater operator job that doesn’t conflict with his instructor responsibilities at X-Cel Conservation Corps.
“YouthWork was honored to host Megan as a member and offer more avenues for achievement during this impressive and non-traditional journey she’s embarked on.”
Megan Smith joined YouthWork during a pivotal time of personal achievement in her life. After being taken out of school at the age of 6, Megan decided to go back to high school as a freshman at the age of 17; she has been working hard to achieve her high school diploma. During her on-going education, Megan discovered YouthWork. Megan believes that YouthWork helped her to develop leadership skills, adaptability, and new knowledge of animals and agriculture. Her supervisors say that she embodied YouthWork’s core values by, “exploring careers, creating new connections, developing social and manual skills, and passionately giving back to her community.”
Through YouthWork’s GoatWork partnership with City Girls Farm, Megan discovered a passion for working with animals and was offered a position at the farm. Her experience has also motivated her to pursue a degree in biology, and she is currently dual enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College. Megan believes that the Corps model is a great way to address environmental issues as a community. She says, “the Corps model allows us to provide immediate, active, and ongoing relief to our planet, while developing us into leaders equipped to diminish its underlying stressors.”