WASHINGTON, D.C. – Each year, The Corps Network honors a select group of Corpsmembers from 130 Service and Conservation Corps at The Corps Network’s National Conference in Washington, D.C. This year, Trapper Creek Job Corps graduate Levi White and Weber Basin Job Corps graduate Abdusalam “Abdu” Ibrahim were two of only six young men and women honored.
Both Levi and Abdusalam exhibited outstanding leadership skills and demonstrated an earnest commitment to service and civic engagement. Their accomplishments and personal stories of resilience are an inspiration and they are role models to both their peers and adults.
At age 24, Abdusalam Ibrahim’s life experiences have made him mature beyond his years. Abdusalam is one of the “Lost Boys” from Sudan. After his village was invaded, his grandfather murdered, and the family’s livestock killed, Abdusalam, his mother and father, three sisters, and six brothers escaped to a refugee camp in N'Djamena, Chad.
Abdusalam’s family chose to remain in Africa but Abdusalam chose to immigrate to the United States, because in his words, “America is the land of opportunity. There I will no longer have to worry about war and killing, and theft.” Seeking to make his American dream come true, Abdusalam enrolled in the Weber Basin Job Corps March 20, 2018.
While enrolled at Weber Basin Job Corps, Abdusalam gravitated to and excelled at wildland firefighting. Abde was repeatedly dispatched on wildland fire assignments because the crews he served on appreciated his motivation, tireless enthusiasm, willingness to learn and work ethic. He also earned Public Lands Corps hours working as a firefighter on the Monte Cristo hazardous fuels thinning project on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Now, following his dream for a career in wildland firefighting and based upon his academic and career training success at Weber Basin Job Corps, Abdusalam is enrolled in the rigorous Schenck Job Corps Advanced Wildland Fire Management Program.
When Levi White arrived at Trapper Creek Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center he was disheveled and homeless. After surviving on the streets, he did not have a concept of what his future would look like. But, what Levi became during his stay at Trapper Creek is a perfect example of what the Job Corps program is about—opportunity.
Once at Trapper Creek, Levi took advantage of every resource available to redirect his life on a fresh, positive and productive trajectory. Levi exemplifies the foundational principals of the program: excellence, kindness, gratitude, resilience, compassion, dedication, integrity and hard work. Wanting to give back, Levi enrolled in the Grafton Job Corps’ Human Services advanced training program and plans to pursue degrees in both social work and political science. From there, Levi wants to go out and “Change the world!”
Levi White addressed The Corps Network Conference attendees Feb. 10 and Abdusalam shared his story Feb. 11. Levi and Abdusalam were formally presented with their awards at the 2019 Awards Ceremony and Breakfast Feb. 13. U.S. Senator John Tester personally presented Levi his award. U.S. Congressman Bob Bishop voiced his regrets at being unable to personally attend the ceremony but offered his congratulations to Abdusalam through a letter read at the ceremony.
The USDA Forest Service Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers helped Levi and Abdusalam, harness their enormous potential, changing their lives, the lives of their families, and, through civic engagement, their communities.
CCCs offer an integrated approach to address the nation’s conservation challenges, widen economic opportunity and promote active citizenship. Job Corps students work on the frontlines to assist the Forest Service in sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.