September 2018
Welcome 2018-19 Cohort!
On September 5th, CivicSpark's newest cohort of Fellows came together for a four day-long Orientation in Downtown Sacramento. This year's cohort will consist of 90 Fellows with 50 Climate Fellows, 20 Water Fellows, and 20 Opportunity Access Fellows, our newest track. Throughout the week, Fellows in attendance had the opportunity to hear from statewide experts on climate change, water policies and resources, affordable housing, environmental justice, and a range of sector-focused topics. Regional Coordinators and CivicSpark staff also led a variety of professional development trainings. CivicSpark alumni also participated in a Q&A panel for this year's Fellows.
Orientation concluded with an Open Mic Night, Ice Cream Social, and Downtown Sacramento Photo Scavenger Hunt. We hope our Fellows feel motivated and ready to serve their communities!
Join CivicSpark's 2018-19 Cohort!
We still have a few Fellow spots remaining for El Centro, San Joaquin Valley, and Sacramento/Sierra Regions! CivicSpark Fellows have the opportunity to implement targeted projects in support of local government agencies, and develop technical skills while creating a meaningful and lasting impact in California's communities. Applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis pending project availability.
Help Us Spread the Word!

Please share the CivicSpark opportunity with anyone potentially interested in becoming a Fellow. They can learn more via our website in the link below.
Regional Spotlights
Electric Vehicles in Sacramento
Beginning his career in public service with the City of Sacramento 's Department of Public Works , Jerel Francisco is excited beginning his service year with CivicSpark. Originally from New York, Jerel is helping the City of Sacramento get ready for 400 new electric vehicles from Electrify America . As the cars will be roaming the streets of Sacramento they will need a place to park, and that's where Jerel comes in. He will be providing the city with support in finding parking policy and charging solutions for the 400 electric vehicles which will roll out early 2019.
Comprehensive Green Strategies in Contra Costa County
As the summer season comes to an end, 2018-2019 Climate Fellow Maya Foo (Siu Sahn) begins her service year in Contra Costa County , working with the Contra Costa County’s Department of Conservation and Development, Health Services, and Public Works. She will help develop the County’s weatherization, energy efficiency, and health services into a marketable Green and Healthy Homes-like program for homeowners, renters, and public staff to use and distribute. This comprehensive package will offer free energy efficiency home improvements and health services to the county’s low-income populations in order to reduce resident's climate-induced illnesses, poor indoor air quality, number of hospital visits, and energy costs. Siu Sahn will also create training materials for agency staff to use and will provide heat adaptation solutions to hard-to-reach communities, such as communities of color. As an environmental justice supporter and Bay Area native, Siu Sahn is excited to see Contra Costa County continue to embed itself in its community and thrive!
Climate Adaptation in Los Angeles
April Crain is a Climate Fellow serving at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) in Los Angeles. She is working with their Sustainability Department to help develop a Regional Climate Adaptation Framework and an interactive web tool that can help cities in Southern California assess their sustainability progress. April was born in Melbourne, Australia and before moving to Los Angeles to serve in CivicSpark, she also lived in Madrid, Mallorca, Austin, and Washington DC. She has seen some great examples of adaptation practices, sustainable infrastructure, and community engagement and she is excited to use some of the lessons she has learned to help planning efforts in the Southern California region. She is especially looking forward to helping SCAG promote their Active Transport initiatives at events around the region. She will be out engaging community members at Santa Monica’s upcoming Open Streets event on the 7th of October. 
Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month : " After attending Orientation, what is one thing you are looking forward to as a CivicSpark Fellow? "
Jo-Anne Burgess | Central Inland Region
" While I'm really looking forward to learning more about urban and rural community development, I'm also excited to be helping understand the needs of under-served communities. Everyone should have access to the same resources so that we all have the same chances at success, whatever that may be. We live in a world now where it is almost a necessity to have access to the internet for a wide variety of reasons, not just social media and email, and I'm eager to help those voices from under-served communities be heard. "

Jo-Anne Burgess is originally from Jamaica. She lived in Florida for 11 years before coming to California. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Science but didn't know what she wanted to do with that until she discovered the field of urban planning and transportation. Jo-Anne joined CivicSpark to gain experience serving a community while doing some hands-on learning about those fields.
Ayelet Zamek | Central Coast Region
"Orientation left me feeling very energized about my projects and excited to explore California for the first time. I am looking forward to so many things, but one thing I am particularly excited about is the Anniversary of the Water Resources Division, where I am serving as a Water Fellow. As part of our anniversary celebrations, the whole Water Resources team and I will be touring different sites, reflecting on the past year, and setting goals for the next one. I cannot think of a better way to help kick-start my service year!"

Ayelet Zamek will be serving as a Water Fellow with the County of San Luis Obispo Public Works. Ayelet grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Hong Kong, but now calls Michigan her “adopted home state.” While attending Michigan State University, she became very interested in water policy and later served as an intern in the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. She aspires to help reshape the public and governmental discourse on water to be more holistic by addressing the multiple aspects of water, from water scarcity and water quality to water access and environmental justice. Serving in CivicSpark will allow her to follow her passion for water policy, learn about Western water issues, and help disadvantaged communities.
Upcoming Events
Disasters and Energy Resilience: Keeping The Lights On In Our Darkest Hour
October 25-26, 2018 | Santa Rosa, CA

The Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition (LGSEC) is hosting a one-day informational forum in Santa Rosa on Thursday, October 25th focused on Disasters and Energy Resilience to address these very issues.

Local government and utility experts will discuss the state of emergency-preparedness and disaster response communications, planning and response experiences. Participants will leave with an energy resilience communication, planning and action roadmap to help their organization or community engage, prepare and respond in the event of a natural disaster.

The adventure continues on Friday, October 26th at the Santa Rosa Junior College where sustainability staff will provide an exclusive preview SRJC’s microgrid! Register here .

*For CivicSpark Fellows interested in being volunteer notetakers, please contact Grace Kaufman at
CivicSpark is a Governor's Initiative AmeriCorps program implemented by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Each year, 90 Fellows are placed across California in regional hubs to implement targeted projects that build capacity for local government agencies to better address community resilience issues such as climate change, water resource management, and access to opportunities.

Learn more about CivicSpark at .