Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and SCMF Urban Conservation Corps, Youth Program, Announce Over $1 Million “Investing in the Coachella Valley” Grant and Expanded Services

(COACHELLA, CA) – Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and the Southern California Mountains Foundation Urban Conservation Corps (UCC) are proud to announce the $1,050,000 award of a Board of State and Community Corrections Title II Grant to expand services and employment training for young adults in the Coachella Valley.

“We are grateful to the Board of State and Community Corrections for their efforts toward supporting our young people in the Coachella Valley. With these funds, the Urban Conservation Corps can expand their mission to provide paid work training opportunities for young adults, especially for at-risk populations in the Coachella Valley,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.

“This is a great opportunity for hiring more Corpsmembers from the Coachella Valley to work on conservation projects.  In spite of the pandemic, the UCC continues to operate  and we are enforcing strict CDC guidelines, providing COVID-19 literature, face masks, and proper protective gear to ensure the health and safety our Corpsmembers,” stated Stacy Gorin, the Executive Officer of the Southern California Mountains Foundation.

The award also initiated plans to identify a permanent home for the Urban Conservation Corps in the Coachella Valley. “New funds for job training also mean we need more space for our programs in the Coachella Valley,” shared Sandy Bonilla, Founder of the Urban Conservation Corps. “We are currently renting a space in Indio but what we urgently need is a larger building and open land to build a Conservation Center for job training, environmental education, water conservation, a recreational trail and other hands on exhibits that promote a greater awareness of natural and cultural resources.”

Mayor Steven Hernandez has been meeting with Ms. Bonilla, who is heading up the UCC Expansion efforts, to discuss the possibilities of building the center in the City of Coachella.

“I believe locating the Urban Conservation Corps in the City of Coachella would be a great fit for both the UCC and the City,” stated Mayor Steven Hernandez.  “It’s ideal to locate in the Coachella Valley where you have the highest concentration of young adults and we see it as beneficial to the overall health of the City to assist these young adults in paving a path for success.”

“It’s great that the Urban Conservation Corps received this award that will not only benefit the Coachella Valley but also benefit young Coachella residents,” said Mayor Pro Tem Emmanuel Martinez.  “The additional benefit of being located in Coachella is that it will provide Coachella residents’ accessibility when often opportunities like this often occurs mid-valley where transportation can often be an issue.”