California Today: California’s Own Peace Corps

The California brand doesn’t emphasize connectivity. Single-family homes, single-occupancy cars – we’re supposed to be all rugged individuals in the Golden State.

But in my experience – even in this polarizing, hurtful, socially distanced time – a huge amount of effort and outreach and shared financing to be together continues here. . Clean up the beach. Food bank. Bathroom for birds caught in oil spill, myopia glasses for nearsighted students. Enlarged Choir. I will never forget, decades ago, stepping outside after my first major earthquake to hear a chorus of Southern California neighbors calling each other in dark courtyards, “How are you doing? ? Is everyone okay? ”

Over the past two weeks, a series of initiatives to facilitate that kind of interaction have been launched from California Volunteers, a public service commission that, before the administration of Governor-General director Gavin Newsom, mainly just managed funding by the state’s federal AmeriCorps. Tens of thousands of young Californians will participate.

Last week, the committee announced a Californians for all college legions, a kind of state GI Bill for volunteer work, provides a $10,000 tuition grant to approximately 6,500 college students working part-time on climate change, food insecurity, and other issues. tutoring program. On Thursday, it revealed a Youth employment team in more than a dozen California cities to recruit tens of thousands of underserved youth in community service.

During a press conference, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the youth employment program will include nearly 350 full-time and summer jobs in her city; Mayor Jerry Dyer said Fresno will focus on recruiting young people at risk; Mayor Robert Garcia has promised “hundreds of hundreds” of climate initiative gigs in Long Beach; and Mayor Eric Garcetti said he would use the money to do about 20,000 community service jobs for young Angelenos.

The Youth Employment Foundation is being paid with $185 million in federal stimulus; College Corps, begins this fall at 45 public and private university institutionswill be funded by a combination of $146 million between state appropriations and federal stimulus and AmeriCorps dollars.

Oversaw both will be the state director of services and California Volunteers team leader Josh Fryday, whom I connected with this week. Here’s our conversation, edited for length and clarity:

California volunteers are suddenly everywhere. What happened?

AmeriCorps is a federal program, and when I arrived, all of our funds were federal funds. But Governor Newsom has made a significant investment using state funds to expand the number of AmeriCorps positions and expand volunteer opportunities in California. For example, California increased the education award for AmeriCorps service from $6,000 to $10,000 in scholarships per year of service. And state money built our infrastructure for volunteering programs.

What kind of program?

The state has made substantial investments through the commission in keep the food bank running in California during the pandemic. We operate California Climate Action Corpsin which we sponsored 132 full-time positions for young people to work fire prevention and urban greening and other climate projects. And we came up with a Neighbor to Neighbor Initiative with Nextdoor as a partner to create a network for neighbors to check in on each other during natural disasters and public safety blackouts.

So what will Youth Job Corps add?

This is a new partnership between California Volunteers and local government. The first phase will be $150 million in the state’s 13 largest cities, with funding determined by population and will be flexible: Some will work summer jobs, some will work full-time , but they will be meaningful work in the community. such as Covid-19 recovery and climate action. We are really targeting low-income, unemployed, justice-related young people who are in youth transition – underserved populations. The second phase will put $35 million into smaller cities and towns.

And College Corps?

If, while in school, you commit to a year of service, in return you will receive a $10,000 scholarship, job training, and of course job skills and professional networking. Many students will also receive academic credit. We are also proud to offer this opportunity to Dreamers who have previously been excluded from national service programs. $10,000 is not arbitrary. That’s the amount that Pell Grant recipients typically have to put out on their own in a financial aid package. So it’s a comprehensive program to train civic leaders while helping them pay for college. It’s different from AmeriCorps because it’s a full-time job, usually for people who haven’t graduated from college. This is for students who are still in school.

Can these programs last if they use federal stimulus money?

We think this is important to reduce student debt and to nurture a generation of Californians who understand the concept of service. If these programs are successful, we hope to return to the Legislature for additional funding. We’re looking to develop this in California and make it a model for the country.

That’s certainly a lot of civic action.

To give you a sense of scale, College Corps alone will have 6,500 young people participating. That’s the size of the whole Organize peace.

Today’s travel tip from Barbara Moran:

“We recently rented a farmhouse in Mendocino, a few miles inland but still less than 10 minutes from town – far enough away to avoid the summer fog while we enjoy our deck and yard. We used that vantage point to explore north and south along the coast, and spent a day visiting the wonderful wineries along Highway 128.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We will share more in upcoming versions of the newsletter.

Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Championship, honey. Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific on Fox.

We are adding California soundtracka list of songs about or related to the Golden State.

If you have suggestions, please email me at with the name of the song and a few sentences about why you think it should be cut.

Almost half a century later The first victim was found lying at the water’s edge off Ocean Beach in San Francisco, police announced on Thursday that they are doubling their reward to $200,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of “Doodler,” a notorious serial killer who terrorized the city’s gay community in the 1970s.

The impulse? New attention to the unsolved mystery, partly created by a eight-part podcast and seven parts collection of stories in The San Francisco Chronicle, which it said “gained international attention and produced dozens of promising pieces of advice.”

Thanks for reading. We will be back on Monday. Enjoy your weekend.

P.S. here Small crossword todayand a clue: “The big brother of blues”, according to BB King (4 letters).

Soumya Karlamangla, Jonah Candelario and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can contact the team at

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Fry Electronics Team

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