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Parks to celebrate 25th anniversary of the Seattle Conservation Corps, March 23

Seattle Parks and Recreation marks the 25th anniversary of a unique and productive Seattle Parks and Recreation program, the Seattle Conservation Corps, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23 at City Hall’s Bertha Knight Landes Room.

This program gives back to the community in two ways: it houses and trains formerly troubled people for living-wage jobs, and it provides workers for public agencies’ small projects at a reasonable cost. The Corps provides homeless adults opportunities to train and work in a structured program that provides them with job skills and carries out projects that benefit our citizens and our environment. It’s a year-round employment program with an annual budget of about $4 million.

The event will feature refreshments, photos, brief remarks by elected officials, Corps members available to share their experiences, and a slide show of Corps graduates and their projects.

Rather than relying primarily on public funding, the Corps covers 75 percent of its costs by doing work for City departments and other local agencies, and by seeking grant funding for support services, training, and educational opportunities.

In its 25 years, the Corps has served between 80 and 100 people every year to reclaim their lives after drug use and other personal setbacks. Sixty percent complete the program and leave with a permanent job, and 80 percent maintain permanent housing.

For more information and the Corps’ newsletter, please go to

Here is an excerpt from Corps member Tina’s story: “I came to the Corps because I have a history of using drugs and I knew that they would give me a chance to learn some skills I would not otherwise have learned. . . Working at the Corps has given me self esteem, something I was lacking in my life due to my drug history. You do the same thing and you will have the same results.”