Civic Justice Corps Receives Overwhelming Response In Its First Month

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Governor O’Malley’s New Initiative Offers Meaningful Summer Conservation Jobs and Training for Baltimore City Youth

BALTIMORE, Md. — The Civic Justice Corps (CJC), Governor Martin O’Malley’s new initiative to provide conservation jobs and training for at-risk and court-involved Baltimore City youth, has received tremendous response from teenagers and their families. Between May 23 and 26, more than 125 young people participated in orientation sessions conducted by Maryland Park Service rangers and Maryland Department of Juvenile Services staff, with more are expected to sign contracts this week.

“The overwhelming interest expressed by students, parents and grandparents in joining our new Civic Justice Corps is heartening, and underscores the very real need for safe, meaningful service and job skill development opportunities,” said Governor O’Malley. “These crew members will have the opportunity to connect with our natural world, develop skills that will prepare them to contribute to our increasingly green economy and learn the value of public service — all while conducting important preservation and restoration projects that will benefit our parks and citizens.”

During the orientation process, students and their guardians enjoyed one-on-one time with staff, signed summer employment contracts, learned more about their CJC work, and were fitted for pants and boots. Many of the young people spoke openly about their excitement to work at Patapsco Valley and Gunpowder Falls State Parks — while parents and grandparents praised the opportunities the CJC will provide. One parent happily exclaimed that “the CJC program was all their child was talking about.”

“Maryland Park Service staff are tremendously excited about working with the young people who have joined our new Civic Justice Corps,” said 2nd Lt. Peyton Taylor, Assistant Manager of Gunpowder Falls State Park and leader of the CJC initiative. “It’s an honor to be a part of something that will personally touch and benefit so many young people who deserve an opportunity to succeed.”

In April, Governor Martin O’Malley expanded the Maryland Conservation Corps (MCC) – the state’s award winning AmeriCorps program – to include the Civic Justice Corps, a summer job opportunity for urban youth. MCC crew members and Maryland Park Service staff will supervise projects and provide mentoring for 24 CJC crews of 8 youth each in the program’s first year.

CJC crewmembers will work at Patapsco Valley and Gunpowder Falls State Parks on resource conservation, trail maintenance, tree plantings, with training focused on team building and job skills. CJC crew members will also learn about the environment though participation in outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, camping and art work. Work begins June 30 and 200 crew members are expected graduate from the Corps on August 8, 2008.

Click here for brochure on the CJC.

Building on the federal Civilian Conservation Corps established 75 years ago and the modern AmeriCorps, the Maryland Conservation Corps and the new Civic Justice Corps engages young adults in extensive natural resource management and park conservation projects. Managed by the Maryland Park Service since 1984, the MCC provides members with opportunities for skill development and personal growth through a supportive, team-based environment, emphasizing the satisfaction of completing projects that benefit Maryland’s natural resources.