On Sunday, October 16, 2011, two Civicorps Academy students (“Corpsmembers” Dana Byrd and Brihana Hanible), Rebecca Grove (Development Director), and myself (Rachel Friedman, Civicorps Academy Instructional Lead), presented at UC Berkeley’s 3rd Annual Leadership and Social Justice Conference on campus.

The workshop was attended by university students from UC Berkeley, St. Mary’s College of California, Santa Clara University, Sonoma State University, the University of San Francisco, and Stanford University.

Corpsmembers Dana Byrd and Brihana Hanible with Instructional Lead Rachel Friedman

After keynote speakers Brahm Ahmadi of People’s Grocery and Oakland Mayor and former Berkeley Civil Rights activist Jean Quan, conference participants broke into workshop sessions. Civicorps Schools’ workshop helped students brainstorm ways to “move from passion to action,” the conference’s theme, by exploring the issue of access to a quality education through an urban youth development program exemplar. The framework for the discussion was the April 22, 2009 Congressional Research Service paper, “Disconnected Youth: A Look at 16-24 Year Olds Who Are Not Working or In School” (Adrienne Fernandes & Thomas Gabe, 7-5700 www.crs.gov R40535). The Civicorps Academy students discussed the school’s academic and work program and, in particular, discussed ways for those interested in educational equity to get involved. Suggested courses of action included direct services such as tutoring, mentoring, and fund-raising, as well as ideas and opportunities for action research.

Workshop participants were actively involved in the case study analysis of four typical scenarios of how young people can become “disconnected.” This activity invited participants to see the world through the lens of those who are working to re-enter the academic arena. By setting short and long-term goals and identifying the barriers to success, participants could more fully appreciate the path of a Corpsmember. Ultimately, those who attended the workshop were challenged to identify where they could direct their passion, energy, and talents in order to level the playing field for all those seeking a quality education. This was a powerful experience for the Civicorps, Corpsmembers, and staff who facilitated the discussion, as well as for the college students.

Civicorps workshop

Learn more about the Civicorps Schools.