Naji Naji Lockett is using his Conservation Internship at Civicorps to encourage and develop his peers.

Build your resume

After high school, West Oakland resident Naji Lockett was looking for a job. A friend told him about Civicorps, “a place where you could build your resume, build your character and professionalism, and build skills that would take you somewhere,” and he decided to apply.

Naji was initially impatient with Civicorps’ job training program, and he struggled to take it seriously. He reflects, “I came in with an attitude. I had to really change how I saw things.” But once he grew committed to his training, his job became more than a paycheck. Naji impressed supervisors as he obtained tool certifications and accumulated AmeriCorps Education Awards. He was promoted into leadership roles, progressing from Crew Leader I to Crew leader II.

His former supervisor Danny remarked, “I continued to be impressed by the commitment Naji had to his own growth and development, from struggling at first to buy into Civicorps, to fully owning his role as a leader among Corpsmembers and staff. What's more impressive, though, is that Naji was able to mature and grow into this leadership role in the midst of the pandemic. When everything in the East Bay shut down, Naji came to work, stepped up, and used this unprecedented time as an opportunity to get better.”

Leading by example, Naji has the distinction of being the first Corpsmember to complete Civicorps’ Conservation Intern Investment Program, a comprehensive series of certifications and milestones that form the basis for a Career Readiness Transcript for each Corpsmember.

Build your network, Build your future—and the future of others

Naji wanted to become a Crew Leader so that he could train his peers and help them advance into leadership roles. His philosophy is straightforward: “we are all out there as a team, so it would be better if everyone knows the skills I know. This place has given a lot back to me. And I try to do the same for others, especially ones who come like me. There are skills and resources here that can put you in a better position.”

When asked how he felt about the promotion to Crew Leader II, Naji reflected, “I am not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t know how to drive the crew van with the Porta Potty and I didn’t like telling people what to do. I had to adjust and get used to it because it was a part of my job.”

Today, Naji wants to change the perspective of Corpsmembers who see the Corps as “just a job,” as he once did. He hopes that they will understand that the skills and resources available at Civicorps can change their future. His advice is “you have to be willing to learn. Come every day and make sure you have the right mindset.”

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When you ask Naji what the most rewarding thing has been for him at Civicorps, he circles back to Corpsmembers. “Just giving back. Giving the skills back from my experience here and letting people know, ‘I just want you to work hard.’”

Building an equitable conservation movement to lead California’s climate action requires leaders who are committed to making a significant difference in their community. Naji Lockett is a leader we need to succeed in this work.

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Click here to return to the Civicorps 2021 Annual Report