Hawaii Five 0 Star Meets Kupu's Urban Corps


Yesterday Hawaii Five-0 shot on location just outside Kupu's training facility in Kewalo Basin Park. Daniel Dae Kim, one of the show's stars, took time to take a photo with the Urban Corps. On the show, Kim plays a police officer tasked by Hawaii's Governor to a special crime investigation team. While Dae Kim has appeared in numerous movies and television programs, he currently is most well known as "Jin," one of the most beloved characters on the recently completed science fiction series Lost.

The Kewalo Basin Park area is being transformed by Kupu's new Urban Corps. Recently it was known as a space known for rubbishness, drugs, and abandonment. Now it has been changed into to an amazing park and facility worthy of being showcased by a hit national television show.

Urban Corps has installed slate and granite in the bathrooms of the facility, landscaped the surrounding park, and will be constructing an imu pit (Hawaiian underground earth oven).

While these early achievements have been great, what's more amazing is that the young men in Urban Corps are transforming into individuals who take responsibility for the world around them, growing personally while giving back to their community.

To learn more about Kupu, the Urban Corps, and the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps, please visit Kupu's website.

The Corps Network and Planters Unveil New Park in New Orleans' Central City Neighborhood


Corpsmembers from Limitless Vistas, Inc. help plant the new park.

NEW ORLEANS—Today The Corps Network, the voice of the nation’s Service and Conservation Corps, and Planters, America’s leading snack nut brand, unveil the first of four planned urban parks known as Planters Groves. The Corps Network’s local members, Limitless Vistas, Inc. and Louisiana Green Corps/Arc of Greater New Orleans worked with Planters and many other community partners to transform land into the peanut-shaped park. It was designed by renowned landscape architect Ken Smith. Located at 2047 Felicity Street in New Orleans’ historic Central City neighborhood, the unique public green space will open today at Noon CST. The opening will start with a traditional New Orleans’ second line, led by Mr. Peanut and his new biodiesel Planters Nutmobile.

Sally Prouty, President and CEO at The Corps Network, said that “The Corps Network thanks Planters, our Corps & Corpmembers, community partners, volunteers and the incredible people of Central City for helping us make this a reality.”

Over 150 local Corpsmembers and young community volunteers have been engaged in the creation of the park. So far they have helped to paint prominent park features, clean and sort bricks for pathways, and help plant many of the park’s diverse species. Limitless Vistas and the Louisiana Green Corps will lead the ongoing maintenance, programming, and seasonal planting of the park with additional community partners including New Orleans Neighborhood Development Collaborative, Central City Partnership and Faubourg Lafayette Neighborhood Association, BFA Environmental, Old City Building Center, and FutureProof.

“We’re proud to have worked with the wonderful people of Central City to plant some good in New Orleans,” said Jason Levine, senior director of marketing at Planters.  “These parks were inspired by the community of growers who have been our namesake - planters.”

Locally-sourced reclaimed materials have been used in the construction of the park. For example, reclaimed windows from homes destroyed in Hurricane Katrina form the park’s peanut-shaped window surround and have been painted in 5 colors that reflect the neighborhood’s character. 

Plants that are part of the local ecology have also been used in the park’s design. Sixteen native bald cypress trees will help give the park a pleasant atmosphere that reflect the South’s distinctive and storied wetland forests, while flowers like Swamp Lilies and White Prairie Clovers will add charm and diversity to the understory.

Additional eco-friendly features include a rain garden, a community gathering spot made with recycled pavement called the “Legume Plaza,” and Adirondack style chairs made from recycled materials. A solar lighting system and rainwater collection tank will be added as the park’s final touches are completed. Planters has also added playful touches to the park’s design, including a special Mr. Peanut bench.

“We were excited to play a part in creating this Planters Grove,” said Patrick Barnes, founder of Limitless Vistas, Inc. “This natural park will not only be a place for the community to enjoy shared experiences, but will also serve as a teaching tool about the environment and local agriculture.”

In 2011, additional Planters Groves will be created in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and New York City.

To follow The Corps Network’s partnership with Planters and get updates on our work, you can “Like” The Corps Network on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCorpsNetwork and “Like” Mr. Peanut on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mrpeanut.

To learn more about Corps in your state and ways to volunteer, visit www.corpsnetwork.org.     

About The Corps Network: Established in 1985, The Corps Network is the voice of the nation's 158 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in 48 states and the District of Columbia, The Corps Network enrolls more than 33,000 young men and women annually in service in addition to mobilizing approximately 227,000 community volunteers each year. For more information contact James Jones at jjones@corpsnetwork.org or visit www.corpsnetwork.org

About Limitless Vistas, Inc.: Limitless Vistas, Inc. (LVI) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established in Louisiana, post Katrina.  It has as its vision to train and educate inner city youth to become stewards of their environment and to introduce real entry level career opportunities for these youth in environmental science and engineering. For more information, contact Matilda Tennessee at matennessee1@bellsouth.net or visit www.limitlessvistas.org 

About Louisiana Green Corps: The mission of the Louisiana Green Corps (LA Green Corps) is to provide green job skills training to unemployed, under-employed, court involved or otherwise disadvantaged residents through the completion of impactful environmental restoration and conservation projects. For more information, contact Vance Levesque at arccontroller@bellsouth.net or visit www.lagreencorps.org

Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center Thriving, Plans to Double Enrollment


Oconaluftee Jobs Corps Fall graduates. Photo by Holly Krake.


This article was written by Scott McKie and originally published in the Cherokee One Feather.  Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is a member of The Corps Network.

Three years after the Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center (OJCCC) almost had its doors closed for good, the Center is thriving. “It is ranked 36th out of 122 Job Corps Centers nationwide,” Danny Muse, OJCCC academic manager, told the members of the Job Corps Community Relations Council at a meeting held at the Center on Thursday, Dec. 2.

Muse, an employee at OJCCC since 1976, said they also rank 7th in literacy, 3rd in numeracy and 3rd in graduate placement. Since June, 18 students have received their GED.

“This is a stepping stone for them,” said Muse, “and we’re working very diligently to help them get there.”

The Community Relations Council was formed in June as a way to garner community and regional support for the students and their needs. Information from the Council states the ideals of the group includes: creation of sustainable vision and goals, development and strengthening of partnerships, address local needs while fostering employment and lifelong skills in students and designing a culture of commitment and stewardship.

Holly Krake, OJCCC business community liaison, related that there are currently 68 students enrolled at the Center and they performed a total of 13,270 work-based learning hours this year. “Based on common wages, that would total over $240,000 of labor hours that students have put into the community.”

She said OJCCC students have volunteered at numerous area businesses, organizations and events including: Far West Special Olympics hosted in Cherokee, EBCI Dora Reed Childcare Center, “Meet Me in the Smokie” Open Charity Golf event, EBCI Fisheries and Wildlife, Cherokee Indian Hospital, Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, and more.

OJCCC has plans to expand in 2011 by doubling their enrollment and adding four next programs, sponsored by the Home Builder’s Institute, including: Carpentry, Electrical, Facilities Maintenance, and HVAC.

Krake said the volunteer and career opportunities all help tremendously with the development of students. “All of those are reasons that students get vested into the program and dedicate themselves to finish.”

For information on the Community Relations Council or to find out how your business or organization can partner with OJCCC, contact Holly Krake 497-8062.

California Conservation Corps Kicks Off EnergySmart Jobs Program in Grocery Stores


Republished from the California Conservation Corps' Newsletter. The CCC is a member of The Corps Network.

Using a Sacramento supermarket as a backdrop, representatives from the Energy Commission and PECI joined California Conservation Corps Director David Muraki (pictured above) and Sacramento corpsmembers in the official launch of the EnergySmart Jobs program. 

Sixty-one corpsmembers are being trained as surveyors to help grocery businesses large and small find energy-saving opportunities, particularly in refrigeration units. The store owner can then work with a contractor as far as implementation of energy-saving measures.

Unique for the corpsmembers are the use of iPhones to enter and transmit data from the grocery stores.


Sacramento corpsmember Caitlin Howard checks data entered into her iPhone.

One focus of the program is converting lighting in grocery refrigeration cases to energy-efficient LED lighting. LED lights emit significantly less heat so the compressors don't have to compensate to keep the cases cold. The work could be done by contractors after the initial energy survey, with businesses provided financial incentives to cover a portion of the cost.

The CCC has about 40 corpsmembers participating in the program right now, from Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, Inland Empire and San Diego. There are also eight corpsmembers from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Alternates will be trained to backfill the crews as the current corpsmembers will have opportunities for job placement with the contractors.

The corpsmembers will travel throughout the region to visit stores. It takes 45 minutes to an hour per survey; some 20,000 businesses will be visited during the program's 14 months.

Conservation Supervisor Scott Linton is serving as project manager for the program. He says all the stakeholders are pleased with efforts to date and that CCC corpsmembers and staff have done an outstanding job.

"I'm incredibly impressed by the technological savvy of our corpsmembers and staff who are implementing the program in such a short amount of time, " Scott says. "They're raring to go and working faster than we can supply them with assignments."

EnergySmart Jobs is an initiative of the California Energy Commission, administered by PECI and financed through federal stimulus funds (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).


Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia Executive Director Robert Martin Honored as Volunteer of the Year


Pictured (left) Linda Pannell, WVEA representative and Robert Martin (right), recipient of the Effie Mayhan Brown Award. Pannell also nominated Martin for this prestigious award.

From the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia

Beckley, WV – Robert A. Martin, Executive Director of the non-profit Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia (CCCWV), received the prestigious Effie Mayhan Brown Award at the West Virginia Education Association’s 31st Annual Human Relations Luncheon. The award, presented on April 30, 2010, recognized Martin as an individual who exemplifies the goals and charges of the WVEA Minority Affairs Committee resulting in positive community growth and contributions. Educator Linda Pannell, who teaches at Lester Elementary, nominated Martin for this Volunteer of the Year award due to his unwavering commitment and time devoted to area youth.

For the past several winter ski seasons, Martin has provided ski clothing, equipment, rentals, lift tickets, and lessons for over 20 area youth from Raleigh & Fayette Counties at no cost to the children, ranging from as young as age 5 up to 16. He also made sure that each had transportation to and from Winterplace once a week for approximately 8 weeks during the winter ski season. Linda Pannell also assists Martin by chaperoning the children and helping to coordinate their trips to Winterplace each week. Many of the youth are from Pannell’s church and she has seen the smiles and positive impact that the skiing has had in their lives. “The children are our future leaders of tomorrow--they deserve opportunities and a chance to experience and be exposed to all that our area has to offer”, says Pannell. Robert Martin has taken such a huge interest in these kids and has made them feel like they can conquer and do anything. He does not ask nor expect anything in return – except to make sure the kids have a great time which is why I nominated him”.

Along with Pannell and her husband, Martin’s staff volunteers once a week after work with the children either helping them to ski, or simply assisting with supervision and all of the intangibles it takes to get the children ready for the slopes. None of the youth had ever skied before until Martin extended this opportunity. By the end of the ski season, everyone is skiing on their own and the grand finale is a weekend trip to Snowshoe. The interest and inquiries have increased to where Martin is currently seeking funds and ramping up volunteer recruitment efforts so that he can serve more youth and turn no one away. Plans for a trip out west are also being considered. “We want to expose the children to the best and make sure their experience is both memorable and everlasting. It is also a boost to their self esteem; it mentally and physically challenges you. Plus, it opens their eyes to so much more than just skiing”, says Martin.

Martin has served as the Executive Director of the CCCWV for the past 17 years. Robert is responsible for starting The First Tee of Beckley in 2005, which received its statewide charter in 2009 as The First Tee of West Virginia. TFTWV is a youth-development program that utilizes the game of golf to bring fundamental life skills, core values, and educational experiences to underprivileged youth that might not typically be exposed to the game. Programming seamlessly integrates life skills and nine core values: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, and Judgment. Many of the same philosophies and core values of The First Tee are being integrated with the skiing program.

Martin, a veteran of the United States Army, has studied at Howard University, Grambling State University and West Virginia University College of Law. He holds a degree in Political Science and English and was selected as one of the "100 Most Outstanding Young Men in America" in 1983. Currently, Robert serves as both member and Board of Director for The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce and Beckley Rotary Club and is Chairman of the Board for The First Tee of West Virginia. Robert is also Chairman of the Beckley Intermodal Gateway (BIG) Steering Committee; and is a member of the Washington, DC-based Intelligent Transportation Systems of America (ITSA); and serves on the West Virginia Citizen Corps Council. Robert also volunteers as a ski instructor for the Challenged Athletes of West Virginia (CAWV), an adaptive sports program for disabled athletes located at Snowshoe.


Today’s CCCWV are inheritors of the legacy of FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps; its mission is to conduct projects and programs which strengthen and revitalize our communities; provide self-esteem, educational enhancements and employment opportunities through meaningful work experiences for both youth and adults; and, to conserve, develop, and enhance our state’s natural resources. For more information about the CCCWV, call 304-254-9196 or visit www.cccwv.com.

About WVEA

The West Virginia Education Association, headquartered in Charleston, WV is the state’s largest teachers’ organization. WVEA has been making a difference for over 150 years, providing support for educators and advancing public education in the state. For more information about WVEA, call 1-800-642-8261 or visit 


The Corps Network and Planters to Collaborate


The Corps Network, the voice of the nation’s Service and Conservation Corps, andPlanters, America’s leading snack nut brand, are coming together to transform neglected land into natural spaces, in select communities across America. Ken Smith, the renowned landscape architect, is being tapped to design the spaces – with a whimsical touch befitting of the brand and its iconic character, Mr. Peanut.

Starting in 2011, The Corps Network and its member Corps will help Planters bring its “Naturally Remarkable” campaign to life by encouraging Americans to get their hands dirty, reconnect with the earth and experience real growth in their community. 

Increasingly, companies are working with nonprofits to address a variety of issues facing our communities. The Corps Network hopes their work with Planters will become a model for what can be accomplished when the private and public sector join together.

“We are very excited about working with Planters,” said Sally Prouty, President & CEO. “Our rich histories and commitment to sustainability brought us together, and it’s our mutual desire to make a difference in our communities that drives us forward.”

This is the first national public/private collaboration of this type for The Corps Network. “We are very committed to the work we and our member Corps do. Our first major collaboration of this scale had to celebrate conservation and service,” said Sally Prouty. “ Planters’ commitment to sustainability and its desire to bring people together in service fit with what The Corps Network is about.”

“We want to celebrate where we came from. Planters are the original entrepreneurs – scrappy and down to earth,” said Jason Levine, Senior Marketing Director at Planters. “We’re excited to work with The Corps Network, its member Corps and local community volunteers to create spaces where people can reconnect with the land, plant memories and grow a community.”

About The Corps Network: Established in 1985, The Corps Network is the voice of the nation's 143 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in 47 states and the District of Columbia, The Corps Network enrolls more than 30,000 young men and women in service in addition to mobilizing approximately 227,000 community volunteers annually. For more information contact James Jones at jjones@corpsnetwork.org or visit www.corpsnetwork.org.

About Planters & Sustainability: Planters, America’s leading snack nut brand, has a long history of pioneering industry firsts and this inventiveness is delivered through a diverse portfolio of nutritious and delicious snacks.Planters is working with the National Peanut Board to recognize peanut farmers who are implementing sustainability practices and making positive social changes in their local communities. Planters is a founding member of the African Cashew Initiative, which aims to increase the cashew-related income of 150,000 cashew farmers over the next four years. Planters has also conserved 5.6 million pounds in packaging and shipping materials and its Suffolk, VA roasting facility has achieved a “zero waste to landfill” goal.

How a Corpsmember Used his Stipend to Start a Successful Nonprofit in India that Upcycles Waste


This year C. Srinivasan was the recipient of Earthcorps' Annual Alumni Award. Steve Dubiel, Executive Director of EarthCorps, recently took time to write us and explain Srinvasan's inspirational story. Based in Seattle, Washington, Earthcorps enrolls participants in a year long program. Approximately half of its participants  are AmeriCorps members and the other half are from other countries. In total, Earthcorps has alumni in 74 countries. 

In 1997 we had the pleasure of welcoming C. Srinivasan to EarthCorps. He’s from India. While at EarthCorps, Srinivasan saved the majority of his stipend to launch a non-profit, Exnora-Green Cross Vellore (soon to be renamed Indian Green Service).

The driving goal for all of Exnora-Green Cross Vellore's work is to “bring about socio-economic changes through employment generation based on environmental conservation.” Programs seek to utilize three abundant resources: sunlight, people power, and garbage. Srinivasan told me that “EarthCorps helped me to understand that the goal is not to isolate people from nature, but to help both coexist sustainably.” He further added that, “my real success in India is because of the field work I did with EarthCorps in Seattle.” Srinivasan provides a model for all of us to help educate people and “help them see the legacy (good or bad) that they will leave their children.”

Srinivasan’s organization has launched several initiatives, including a Zero Waste Management project. Using India’s people power, Srinivasan has developed an innovative model for transforming waste management. Instead of collecting and dumping garbage at great cost, Exnora-Green Cross Vellore has created a system that generates modest profit from waste collection by "upcycling," or transforming nearly all waste into marketable goods. Waste is collected twice each day and sorted into approximately 200 categories. Each component is then developed into a marketable good that is sold to support the overall program. There are only about 10 items that can’t be recycled, including items like chewing gum, Styrofoam, broken ceramic, and aluminum candy wrappers.

Srinivasan and his team are constantly working to reduce the number of non-recyclables and have reached out to 1,000 companies (India, US, and beyond) working with them to redesign packaging and products to move closer to the goal of zero waste. This model program has the attention of the Indian government who has tapped Srinivasan and set the goal to replicate the program in 500,000 communities across India over the coming 3-5 years. Needless to say, this is an incredible success.

Srinivasan’s story provides a great example of how corps programs inspire young people to change the world and give them tools to succeed.

The Corps Network Participates Public Lands Summit


Photo of Glacier National Park 
via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

The Corps Network, along with member organizations Student Conservation Association, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Conservation Corps North Bay, Montana Conservation Corps, American Youth Works, and Southwest Conservation Corps, participated in a national summit with the Public Lands Service Coalition concerning the implementation of a 21st Century Conservation Corps. 

President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar have pushed to include more youth in plans for our nation’s public lands, and this summit was a discussion between youth corps from across the country and the land management agencies that oversee the public lands. Agency staff from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and the Corporation for National and Community Service met with corps staff to plan how best to get our nation’s youth into the outdoors. 

For more information on the PLCS or the meeting, please contact
 Mary Ellen Ardouny at The Corps Network. 

Vice President Joe Biden Visits Coconino Rural Environment Corps at Grand Canyon


This article was originally published in the Coconino Rural Environment Corps’ Newsletter.

Recently Vice President Joe Biden visited Grand Canyon National Park as part of a tour designed to highlight the effectiveness of projects within the National Park system funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Vice President spoke at Hopi Point on the Canyon’s South Rim to a small crowd of elected officials, Park Service staff and CREC’s eight-person summer Grand Canyon crew. Mr. Biden referred to Grand Canyon as “a cathedral” and spoke about how the Recovery Act not only helped to create jobs in the Park and to address backlogged maintenance needs, but also represented an investment in our nation’s sacred places for the benefit of future generations. He described the task as one of maintaining access while minimizing impacts saying that the goal is to ensure that all people can experience parks while leaving behind an ever smaller footprint.

After the speech, Mr. Biden took time to recognize the CREC crew for their hard work in rebuilding the South Kaibab Trail – a Recovery funded project. The Vice President described AmeriCorps as “one of the best things President Clinton ever did,” and recognized the crew’s dedication by saying, “Your generation is volunteering in greater numbers than at any point in American History!”


Wearing a CREC hat and looking much like a Corpsmember himself, Mr. Biden then took individual pictures with each member of the crew as well as a group photo. For the crew, the Vice President’s visit was a monumental way to end the summer season. His visit occurred on the very last day of the crew’s three month hitch at Grand Canyon.

San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps Staff Recognized as Hero


San Gabriel Valley (CA) Conservation Corps Supervisors manage work crews beautifying Whittier Narrows or reinforcing isolated hillsides prone to flash floods in the San Gabriel Mountains. They also receive training in First Aid and CPR. Andrew Martinez put his training to good use this past spring and assisted a jogger who was in distress near their work area. Martinez, who is CPR certified, was able to help the man start breathing again and was recognized for his heroics by Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina at the Board of Supervisors meeting this month. Read more in the Whittier Daily News.