Diana Salazar

Dianna Salazar

CCLB Scholarship Recipient, 2013 High School Graduate and Corpsmember Alumni

“Living with the choices I made in high school has made my time as a young adult more difficult.  Working in a job without having an education has been one of those challenges.  I felt left behind because all of my friends are already in their second year of college.”  Dianna realized that all the lost time and potential opportunities that she missed wasn’t just a disappointment she brought upon herself but also to her family.  “My experience at the Conservation Corps of Long Beach has been phenomenal.  I am proud of achieving the job training skills I have learned by being out in the field, receiving a better education, and knowing the importance of how grateful I should be for being given a second chance to better my life by obtaining my high school diploma.”  Dianna is currently attending Long Beach City College.  Her primary focus is to complete her general education classes.  Her field interests are psychology, culinary arts, criminology, and music.  “The CCLB Scholarship has helped me with my school expenses and by providing the essential supplies required for my courses.  I would like to thank the CCLB staff and donors for their time and for this great opportunity to continue on with my education.”

Jessica Montiel

 Jessica Montiel

CCLB Scholarship Recipient, 2013 High School Graduate and Corpsmember Alumni

Jessica knew that her parents worked hard and did the best that they could to support her and her older brother, but they just weren’t around as much as she expected them to be nor had the time to be involved in their education.  Jessica was failing most of her high school classes and when she was dropped from the basketball team she felt she didn’t have the motivation to even try and keep her grades up anymore.  “I felt like my life was over. I felt alone, no one encouraged me nor guided me.  I felt like I can do whatever I wanted and no one would even care!”  In her junior year of high school, Jessica was informed that she would not graduate from high school. She found herself forced to enroll in home studies, jumped from school to school trying to earn whatever credits she could until a family member finally stepped in and told her about how the CCLB could help her develop basic work skills while earning her diploma.  “Before the corps, I had the mindset that I was born for failure, that I wasn’t someone who would ever become successful in life, and that I’m just a dropout and an embarrassment to my family.”  In the fall of 2013, Jessica obtained her H.S. Diploma from John Muir Charter School.  She also learned the value of saving money and the meaning of leadership.  Jessica is currently enrolled in the Animal Care 1 (internship) program at Long Beach School for Adults.  “One of my biggest dreams is to open up my own dog rescue and grooming business.  Some of my academic goals are to earn my business degree, obtain my certificate as a Veterinary Assistant, and possibly earn a certificate as a dog groomer!  I thank the donors of the CCLB Scholarship fund for helping me take another step closer to reaching my potential!

Mariana Cadena

 Mariana Cadena

CCLB Scholarship Recipient,2014 High School Graduate and Corpsmember Alumni

Mariana Cadena was born and raised in east side Long Beach. As she was growing up she felt that her parents weren’t around much. They were always busy working to feed her and her siblings; however, looking back now, Mariana feels that she was the one who was busy being selfish.  She did not care what the reasons were for the choices she made much less think clearly of the situation that she and her family were in.  She dropped out of her traditional high school because she was unable to stay focused on her studies, passing her CAHSEE, and missing credits needed to graduate.  Mariana joined the CCLB and while being in the corps, “I gained team work experience, I learned how to become a responsible person, and I now understand the value of recycling.  At the end of the work day, it felt good to see all that was accomplished.  CCLB has given me the push that in needed in my life and for that, I am very grateful.”  Mariana is a current 2014 Graduate of the John Muir Charter School.  She is currently enrolled in Animal Care 1 (Internship) at  Long Beach School for Adults.  “Helping animals has always been one thing that I have always wanted to do.  If awarded a CCLB Scholarship, it would allow me further opportunities to continue with my education.”  Mariana’s current academic goal is to obtain her Certificates of Completion by finishing the remaining three internship courses for Animal Care.  Her immediate career goal is to become a Veterinary Technician.  “I would like to thank CCLB and the CCLB scholarship donors.”

Shavonda Overby

 Shavonda Overby

CCLB Scholarship Recipient, 2013 High School Graduate and Corpsmember Alumni

“The Conservation Corps of Long Beach is a great program for people lost in the world, with no high school diploma or a job. Its designed to change peoples lives academically and financially. I would describe the corps like a home away from home and the staff is more like family.  They have been there for me and many others; giving us the extra push we need by helping us get over any hurdles or obstacles that we may face.”  Before joining the corps, Shavonda was trying to raise her three year old son while dealing with the disappointment of several dead end jobs.  When she reached her breaking point she finally decided to join the corps to finish what she started.  “I knew joining the corps would help give me a fresh start for a new beginning. I became a better woman and a better mother. It was easy reaching one of my many goals because of all the support from the CCLB staff and my family.”  In the Fall of 2013, Shavonda obtained her High School Diploma from John Muir Charter and was awarded a CCLB Scholarship.  Its always been a passion of Shavonda to help people since she was a little girl.  She believes what better way to do that than to focus on becoming a nurse.  “I’m planning to attend Long Beach City College to take the courses I need to become a Registered Nurse.  My scholarship will help pay for my tuition, books, uniforms, and supplies.  My biggest goal for in is to become the best Registered Nurse that I can be and help people the way the corps has helped me.”

Sheldon Cotton

 Sheldon Cotton

CCLB Scholarship Recipient, 2013 High School Graduate and Corpsmember Alumni

“Some would say life is like a roller coaster and I would agree”.  All of Sheldon’s ups and downs he claims have made him the person he is today. From the highs of playing varsity basketball as a freshman in high school, to the lows and the rough times of watching his mother struggle every day, working long hours day and night just to provide and make sure that he and his siblings were well taken care of.  Having a role model like his mother made a huge difference in his life. “She’s my heart and I thank her for pushing and supporting me through the good and the bad times.”  In September 2013, Sheldon obtained his high school diploma in front of his family and friends.  He also completed CCLB’s One Year Work Readiness Program.  “Being here at the corps was a humbling experience and it taught me a great deal about myself.”  Sheldon learned time management, flexibility, team work, but most importantly, the corps “taught me how to dream again because I never imagined the chance to apply for a scholarship.” Since his time at the corps, Sheldon obtained his CA Drivers License and bought his first car.  He also received his guard card and firearm permit for the security company he works for which has allowed him to help support his family and himself. If awarded a CCLB Scholarship, Sheldon plans on obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and becoming a middle school physical education teacher because of his love for sports and helping the youth in his community. “Going back to school and furthering my education has always been a goal of mine. I want to be great in life and reach my full potential. This scholarship would be a huge step in the right direction and will help me immensely.”

Steven Hurt

 Steven Hurt

CCLB Scholarship Recipient, 2011 HS Graduate and Corpsmember Alumni

Life prior to the corps was a mixture of confusion and tribulation for Steven. He grew up in a low income family with no positive male role models. His father was addicted to drugs before he was born leaving his mother, grandmother, and his aunt to raise him. Steven was never really a bad kid in school, but he had a severe learning disability when it came to math. He passed all of his other classes while playing football for four years, but because he was unable to pass the math portion of the CAHSEE, he wasn’t allowed to graduate. “This put me into a deep depression. I became more anti social and lost connection to reality. My god mother told me about the corps. The corps helped me tremendously. I regained my lost confidence. The corps also gave me my first real time job experience which will last me a lifetime. I also learned how to respect authority and complete deadlines by a certain time frame. I even developed a personal strength I thought I never had. The most important thing I got from the corps was my diploma. It was one of the greatest days of my life.”  Steven is currently attending Long Beach City College and plans on receiving his Bachelors in Criminal Justice. Along with his goal to become a crime scene investigator, he also has an interest in creative writing.  He is hopeful to one day work for Microsoft game studios by helping to create storylines for some of the biggest games of the future. “Its amazing how math was my weakness but now it may be vital for my dream job. I would like to thank all of our wonderful donors for actually caring for people like us. Giving us a chance to better our lives and creating the resources for us to develop into prominent leaders of the future.  I thank you all for your commitment and your display of excellence!”