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White House Honors Two Conservation Corps Participants as Youth Leaders

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The White House recently selected two representatives of The Corps Network as role models for the "next generation of conservation leaders." Their stories illustrate the impact Service and Conservation Corps programs have had on our country over the past 80 years. 

Anthony "Chako" Ciocco (left) of Conservation Legacy's Southwest Conservation Corps and Jon Brito (right) of Kupu's Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps, two representatives of The Corps Network, were recently honored by the White House as "Champions of Change" for engaging the next generation of conservation leaders. Both have led conservation corps crews in completing critical habitat restoration projects, while helping Corpsmembers gain an appreciation for the lands and waters in and near their communities. Service and Conservation Corps nationwide have helped millions of young Americans gain job training, access education, and improve America's communities through service and conservation.

Jon Brito, 24, is dedicated to conserving his native Hawaii and encouraging environmental stewardship among young adults. As an AmeriCorps member with Kupu's Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps, Jon worked throughout the islands constructing trails, eradicating invasive species, and restoring ancient fishponds. Proud of his Polynesian ancestry, Jon is passionate about protecting the land and water that have been important to Hawaiian culture for many generations. As a Crewleader, Jon connected other Hawaiian youth to the environment by leading them on hikes and teaching outdoor skills. 

Jon currently studies Engineering Technology at the University of Hawaii—Maui and also interns with Kupu's vocational training program. He wants to help Hawaii reach energy independence.

"I hope to continue empowering youth to accomplish their dreams and remember the connection they have with the land," said Jon.

Anthony "Chako" Ciocco, a member of the Mvskoke tribe, leads ecological restoration projects within the Navajo Nation as a Crewleader for Southwest Conservation Corps. Under Anthony's leadership, crews of Native youth rebuild damaged ecosystems and construct trails. By assisting his crews in the completion of important conservation projects, Anthony provides crew members with a sense of accomplishment that enables them to move forward in their professional and personal lives.

Anthony believes improving quality of life in Native communities is a process that involves the land and people. Anthony co-founded a non-profit devoted to restoring traditional language and culture. He also works in restoring traditional food systems.

"I find that conservation corps work is perhaps the most radical form of supporting and empowering our young people to fulfill their own destinies," said Anthony.

A Powerful Legacy  

Jon and Anthony's accomplishments add to a proud Conservation Corps legacy. Beginning with the Great Depression era Civilian Conservation Corps, and continuing to the launch of the Obama Administration's 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Initiative, Corps nationwide have helped millions of young Americans gain job training, access education, and improve America's communities through service and conservation. In 2013 alone, Corps restored 242,618 acres of ecological habitat nationwide.

 About The Corps Network

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140319/DC86423

SOURCE The Corps Network

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