PowerCorpsPHL Newsletter
April 2015

Alumni Updates

Each month, our Career Services Manager Margy Wilcox shares a series of alumni updates with the entire PowerCorpsPHL family. In recognition of the end of Cohort 3 and the beginning of Cohort 4, we'd like to share some of those updates with you! Thank you for following the journey of our members through their months of service and beyond.
  • Derrick Pough completed the Episcopal Community Services R.I.S.E. initiative programming and is now an intern. He works with students at this high school to bridge the gap between them and their next steps.
  • Chilon Carroll & Jaleel Willford are working for Bike Share Philly as Street Team Members. Chilon also works overnight at a warehouse, while Jaleel was offered a teaching assistant position!
  • Paul Johnson accepted a job offer at AKRF, where he will continue to work in Green Stormwater Infrastructure Maintenance. He joins alumnus Osman F. in this position.
  • DaQuane White was selected as the newest Ground Maintenance employee at Smith Memorial Playground. Smith Playgound staff said they were impressed by the landscaping skills and experience he developed during his time with PowerCorps.
  • Benjamin Santiago joined the team at LuisCorp performing Green Stormwater Infrastructure Maintenance. Within weeks of starting, he received a raise for his hard work.

We are so proud of all our alumni for working hard to find and attain these great opportunities. Some of our other alumni have gone on into management positions, jobs with organizations we love like Tree Keepers and the Philadelphia Water Department, and educational opportunities in a variety of fields. 


However, we are also constantly on the lookout for NEW avenues for our alumni to explore! If you or someone you know is hiring or might be able to connect our alumni to employment or education opportunities, please reach out to our Career Services Manager, Margy Wilcox, at margaretta.wilcox@phila.gov or our Workforce Partnerships Manager, Carolyn Caton, at carolyn.caton@phila.gov. You can make a huge difference in the lives of young adults here in Philadelphia!


A Warm Welcome to Cohort 4 & New Crew Leader Carlos Alvarez!

For two weeks at the end of March, we engaged the new members of Cohort 4 in their Pre-Service Orientation at the School District of Philadelphia building. Members received introductions to their teammates, crew leaders and assistant crew leaders, and the entire PowerCorpsPHL staff. They also began their training in soft skills such as professional etiquette and conflict resolution. All the new members have shown strong commitment to the program, and we are so excited to watch them grow over the next six months and beyond. Best of luck to all our new members! Show them some love on our social media profiles (links in the top right corner!).

Some of you may remember that we were recently looking for a new crew leader! We'd like to take this opportunity to formally introduce you all to Carlos Alvarez. Carlos was born and raised in El Salvador, where he lived until the age of 10. From there, he immigrated to Queens, New York, where he says he was influenced by a many different cultures. Carlos says that the people and places he's encountered have shaped him into the man he is today. We are excited to have Carlos on board and know that he is going to do a fantastic job with our newest crew!

Congratulations to Julia Hillengas & Bicell Walker: Recipients of the Mayor's Award for Distinguished National Service!

On April 7th, we had the pleasure of attending the Mayor's Day of Recognition for National Service in the Reception Room of City Hall. This annual event--planned and executed with the help of the SERVE Philadelphia VISTA Corps--is an opportunity for the Mayor to highlight the impact and achievement of distinguished national service performed by the public servants of Philadelphia. Representatives from programs such as AmeriCorps VISTA and NCCC, SeniorCorps, and Peace Corps were present to receive awards from the Mayor and enjoy a ceremony that featured local musicians and spoken word artists. 

This is a very special event for Philadelphia because of Mayor Nutter's exemplary commitment to national service programs. His creation of the Mayor's Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service and our own mayor-governor initiative demonstrates the depth and sincerity of this commitment. And, as you can imagine, we know a few people who have performed distinguished, remarkable national service.

That is why two extraordinary people affiliated with our program were selected as finalists for this year's "Mayor's Day." Pictured above are Deputy Service Officer (and manager of PowerCorpsPHL) Julia Hillengas and former crew member/assistant crew leader/and associate crew leader Bicell Walker. Julia's national service included a 2008 year of service with YouthBuild Philadelphia as well as a 2011 VISTA term with the Mayor's Office of Education. She has said that national service, "has been the cornerstone of [her] career," and this is exemplified by the enthusiasm and vigor with which she has built the PowerCorpsPHL program from the ground up. Bicell served with PowerCorps for three cohorts, working his way up through the ranks each time, and has been with the program from the very beginning. He is currently pursuing a new position using the skills he developed with PowerCorps.

We could not be prouder of Julia and Bicell, and applaud Mayor Nutter for recognizing the immeasurable contributions these two have made to the well-being and progress of Philadelphia. They both exemplify the spirit and mission of our program and represented us exceptionally. Congratulations, you two!
PHOTO CREDIT: Mitchell Leff, City of Philadelphia
Cohort 3 Graduation & Cohort 4 Induction

On Tuesday, April 14th, we held our joint Graduation and Induction ceremonies for Cohorts 3 and 4, respectively. The event was held at The View on North Broad Street, and was attended by representatives from our Recruitment Partners, friends and families of our members, and Mayor Nutter. For the first time, PowerCorps recognized "champions" of our organization who have gone above and beyond to provide our members and alumni with jobs and to spread the message of our organization. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation received the award for outstanding employer, while Kirby Gaherty of R.I.S.E. was recognized for her above-and-beyond efforts to spread the word about PowerCorps. Congratulations to both winners, and thank you for all you do!

The event was uplifting and exciting, with Mayor Nutter delivering stirring remarks about the impact of the program and of national service in general. Things also took an emotional turn when Chilon Carroll tearfully thanked her Crew Leader, Mike Herrmann, for being a wellspring of support and encouragement. 

To view photos from the event, follow this link to the Flickr page for Mitchell Leff, photographer for the City of Philadelphia. 
About PowerCorpsPHL

PowerCorpsPHL, launched in September 2013, is an AmeriCorps program designed to support Mayor Michael A. Nutter's environmental stewardship initiatives, as well as the City of Philadelphia's youth violence prevention and workforce development priorities.


Annually, PowerCorpsPHL enrolls 136 highly-at-risk 18 to 26-year-olds in a 6-month AmeriCorps program that provides participants the opportunity to develop the skills required to become environmental stewards, secure meaningful work, and become civically engaged members of society.


During their AmeriCorps terms of service, participants work with partner City departments to tackle pressing environmental challenges, including the need for improved stormwater management, increased tree coverage, and revitalized public land. Upon completion of their service terms, alumni receive intensive transition support designed to enhance their chances for success in career-track employment, post-secondary education, and/or national service.

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Hire Our Alumni!
Our talented and enthusiastic corps members have finished their service terms and are ready to help you expand your business. These alumni navigated a rigorous six months of full-time service, logging over 780 hours on professional projects with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Philadelphia Water Department. Additionally, our team members have completed 120 hours of professional development, and are now ready and eager to become productive, contributing members of our region's workforce.

If you are interested in hiring a PowerCorpsPHL alum, contact Carolyn Caton, our Workforce Partnerships Manager, at carolyn.caton@phila.gov to learn more about our employer services.

Our Partners

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We're Hiring!

PowerCorpsPHL is looking for a Crew Leader to start in March of 2015! For job details and qualifications, head over to the Careers page on our website. Applications will be reviewd on a rolling basis as there is a need to fill the position as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you!