LA Conservation Corps
Paul Harris Fast5 Site Visits
On March 9th, PP's Don Crocker, Alan Bernstein and Dave Meshulan joined Lance Miller, Brad Turner, Elizabeth Skarzat and Margaret Karran at Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Wendy Butts, CEO, and Ericka Blodgett, Development Director, hosted the group at their Saito High School site.
Los Angeles Conservation Corps provides under-prepared youth with education and work. Giving corps members the opportunity to gain invaluable paid work experience while working towards their diploma at the on-site Saito High School. The work experience focuses on Green Jobs. 75% of the graduates are placed in quality jobs, with 83% remaining at the job after 3 months. Green Career Pathways include land management, zero waste, construction, manufacturing, energy and independent study. The work programs include trails and habitat restoration, recycling, E-Waste, landscape construction, community garden construction, graffiti abatement and many others.
Elizabeth Skarzat shared a moving story of her Grandfather and how a similar program provided him with a job and training that took him and his family out of poverty and on to a successful career. The Corps partners with City Plants, so Ms. Skarzat has a great deal of knowledge about the organization.
LA Conservation Corps needs funds to provide support services to the youth, since each Corpsmember receives intensive case management support and life skills advisement to ensure their success. Case workers provide crisis intervention and referrals for housing, mental health, healthcare, legal issues and child care in order to address barriers that may impede their development.
The visiting Rotarians were most impressed with the Corps’s focus on education, green job training and their willingness to do whatever it takes to remove the barriers the youth in their care are facing from homelessness, to childcare, to getting them a driver’s license.
By Margaret Karren