Meet Jamal, he's currently attending COCC to pursue a career in wildlife and forestry.
He joined up with HOC after he found out about the programs through a friend of his mother. Joining up with the High Desert Conservation Corps, he realized that the work he was doing wasn’t just a way to make money and learn a few useful tricks, but he saw it as an opportunity to better himself and his community. Jamal immediately took an interest in nature and wildlife, finding his time at HOC not only informative but also fun. Talking to Jamal made it clear that the job wasn’t the only thing that made him stay, he became fast friends with the other Youth and made lifelong relationships.
After he successfully completed his term of service, Jamal was able to use his AmeriCorps Segal Education Award to pursue his education in natural resources at COCC.
Jamal's story is a good example of how helping your community enriches yourself, the countless hours and work he has put into the program has paid off.
Makayla joined Heart of Oregon YouthBuild after falling behind on credits during the beginning of the pandemic. Full virtual learning was hard for her as it was not engaging. This caused her attendance to continue to slip until she no longer showed up for her virtual classes. She was on the verge of not graduating.
She joined YouthBuild with the hope of learning job skills, construction skills, and to finish credits to earn her High School diploma. Makayla not only earned her GED, but also her diploma from Sisters High School in June 2021.
Makayla was selected in September to receive a full scholarship to pursue COCC’s 11-week Community Health Worker Training. She first because interested in the training after career speaker, Tanya Nason visited the program. She hopes to use her future OHA-approved certificate to support work in early childhood education.
The Stewardship crew is Ben's first job, and as a young adult who experiences Autism, he faced several barriers as he joined the workforce. With hard work and perseverance, he has grown personally and professionally throughout the year. Ben starts each day with a positive attitude and is always ready to strike up a friendly conversation. He sets a great example to his fellow crew members by showing up prepared and ready for work!
Meet Brandon, one of our AmeriCorps member on our Prineville crew. Brandon started his Heart of Oregon journey with our COYCC summer program, working with the Forest Service and other young adults his age. After completing the 8-week program, he said “I realized this was the type of work I wanted to get into. I really enjoy this work, it doesn’t feel like work to me.”
Since then, Brandon joined our Prineville AmeriCorps crew as a Corpsmember 1. He successfully completed his term of service, and has already signed up for another one!
“This is a really good middle ground kind of job. There is a lot of teaching and learning which is what’s cool about this program. You get to learn and work, while most other jobs are just work. It’s a good place to get experience.”
His next term of service begins January 2022, with plans to continue learning new job skills and seeing new places around Central Oregon. In the future, Brandon’s goals are to become a Wildland Firefighter with the United States Forest Service.
Thyreicia was chosen as a finalist for The Corps Network’s Corpsmember of the Year award! Learn more about Thyreicia.
In 2018, Thyreicia was chosen as a finalist for The Corps Network’s national ‘Corpsmember of the Year’ award. She has served more than 2,100 hours improving public lands since 2016, while earning over $5,000 for college through her AmeriCorps service. She accomplished all of this while representing her Tribe as Miss Warm Springs 2018, attending community college part-time, and navigating long commutes to do it all. After taking a USAjobs.gov workshop with Heart of Oregon, she is currently seeking seasonal employment with the US Forest Service, and has a long-term goal of becoming a pilot to fight wildfire from the sky. Thyreicia joined the HOC Board of Directors in 2020.
Seeking her diploma and a fresh start, Dahlana joined the YouthBuild program. A few months in she learned she was pregnant, and persevered through the program up until her baby was born. Not letting anything stand in her way, she brought her son to finish the last of her credits at Roots, an independent education program, and received her diploma. Dahlana currently is a stay at home mom and is in the process of being a primary caretaker for more of her family.
As a hands-on learner, Corey struggled in a high school setting. He found a good fit at YouthBuild: learning construction, job skills, and earning academic credits. Since completing the program, and receiving his diploma and GED he is now working with Vista Plumbing. He is the 3rd term of 8 terms with JATC Plumbing Apprenticeship and has had multiple pay bumps as he’s earned certifications and trainings.
Justina first joined the Heart of Oregon Thrift Store program in 2016. While training at the Thrift Store, she was able to earn her high school diploma. Over the next five years, Justina went on to join and thrive in four other Heart of Oregon programs. Justina exemplifies a successful Heart of Oregon young person: resilient, positive, and community-oriented. She was awarded the annual HOC Summit Award in 2018 in recognition of her leadership and service to her community. In 2021, Justina was selected as a PGE Project ZERO Intern, working with The Environmental Center.
"Heart of Oregon pretty much became my family. When I started here I didn't talk for the first four months, unless spoken to. Now I've become a leader and a role model and aspire to be a crew leader here. HOC inspired me and gave me work ethic." Following a stint as a Heavy Equipment Operator Apprentice at Knife River, Kenny is now a Crew Leader at Heart of Oregon!
Sara works as a cashier in the Student-To-Work Thrift Store Program, and has participated in Camp LEAD and COYCC. She is a high school senior, and is on track to graduate in 2021. Thrift store Program Manager Linda Graham shares, “Sara always does a great job and customers love her”. Sara graduated last May amid the COVID quarantine. She has since gotten a job at a restaurant and is working until she is able to go into Job Corps to get her Administrative Assistant Certificates. "She has grown so much with her confidence and self-esteem! She was able to apply, interview, and land the summer job all on her own! I am so proud of her!"