Chevron Richmond Today - Volume 2 Issue 4 - Q4 2010

Chevron Richmond Today - Volume 2 Issue 4 - Q4 2010

Chevron Richmond Today

The Official News Magazine of Chevron Richmond

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1234 Street Address

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Tel 123 456 7890

Fax 123 456 7890

Volume 2 Issue 4 | Q4 2010


Nonprofits Are

Changing Lives

Chevron’s Fuel Your School

Program and the Chevron

Classroom Challenge

Drive Student Success

Getting on the Right Track,

One ‘Stride’ at a Time

A Message From the Manager of Chevron’s Richmond Refinery

Mike Coyle

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since we launched Chevron Richmond

Today, our quarterly newsletter for residents, businesses and other organizations

in Richmond and Contra Costa County. Our goals for this publication remain the

same: to provide insights into our local operations; to discuss important issues

affecting the community; and to highlight activities that we and community

members together are taking to help improve the quality of life here in Richmond.

We’re calling this year-end issue, “Richmond Nonprofits Are Changing Lives,”

because we want to focus on the efforts of several local organizations whose

outreach programs have literally changed the course of people’s lives. We

want to share stories about people who have been able to overcome seemingly

insurmountable obstacles, thanks to help that they received from our many

outstanding community partners. You’ll meet:

• David Benjamin, a formerly unemployed high school dropout who now has a

promising future in technology, thanks to the computer training he is receiving

from The Stride Center.

• Catherine Vanier, a teacher at Lovonya DeJean Middle School, whose winning

submission to Chevron’s Fuel Your School Classroom Challenge program

earned her school a $25,000 grant to further projects geared toward science,

technology, engineering and math.

• The family of Jonathan and Tracey James, who were able to turn their lives

around with help from the Bay Area Rescue Mission and programs it supports

like the Back to School Block Party.

• Two Richmond families whose young children experienced happier holidays last year thanks to the annual

Richmond/El Cerrito Fire Department Toy Program.

• Stacey Reynolds, a current Richmond refinery plant operator who – 14 years ago – was seeking out a living in a homeless

shelter with her two young children until she connected with the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Regional

Occupational Program.

As we approach the new year, it is my sincere hope that all of our friends, neighbors and the entire Richmond community

enjoy a prosperous 2011. Please accept our best wishes for a happy holiday season.

© 2010 Chevron U.S.A. Inc. All rights reserved. Chevron and the Chevron Hallmark are registered trademarks of Chevron Intellectual Property LLC. All other

trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

2 | Chevron Richmond Today

Refinery Manager Mike Coyle pitches in to support the

Bay Area Rescue Mission Back to School Block Party.

On the cover: Students at Nystrom Elementary School, Richmond, learning to count with materials donated through is an

online charity that supports teachers across the United States. Through the Fuel Your School promotion, in September 2010, Chevron donated $1 (up to $1 million)

to for every fill-up of 8 gallons or more at Chevron stations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to help support public education in nearby

communities. To date in 2010 has raised $20 million. By working with, Chevron can support learning experiences designed

to help today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders.

Getting on the Right Track, One ‘Stride’ at a Time

Not long ago, David Benjamin stood

at a crossroads. An unemployed

high school dropout, David was

living with his grandparents, caring

for his sick grandfather while his

grandmother worked. “I wasn’t doing

too much with my life and was in

and out of trouble,” he explained.

By chance, David met Kim MacDonald,

a neighborhood change agent with

the City of Richmond Office of

Neighborhood Safety (ONS), while

on her rounds in central Richmond.

As they got to know each other, Kim

described ONS outreach services for

some of the city’s most vulnerable

populations – especially those being

impacted by gang violence.

David told her about his interest in

computers. “I’ve always been amazed

what you can do with computers,” he

said. “So I thought if it’s something

I enjoy so much doing for free,

imagine how I’d feel getting paid.”

On David’s behalf, Kim contacted

The Stride Center, a San Pablobased

nonprofit organization that

provides comprehensive career

development programs in the

technology field, and helped him

fill out an enrollment application.

“Stride assessed David’s skills and,

long story short, he was granted a

full scholarship under their Chevronfunded

Progress Richmond program,”

she explained. “Today David is thriving

in school and at the top of his class.”

The Stride Center provides job skills

training, credentialing programs,

career coaching, on-the-job work

experience and job-placement

assistance for people seeking careers

in the technology field. Since 1999,

more than 1,600 students have enrolled

in Stride programs at its six Bay Area

locations. Of students who complete

their coursework, more than 70 percent

have gone on to find entry-level

positions earning $18 to $25 an hour.

Last year, Chevron awarded Stride

a $211,000 grant to create Progress

Richmond, a specially designed

job-training program for Stride’s

Richmond/San Pablo campus.

“Through Progress Richmond, we

collaborate with many local outreach

organizations like ONS, tapping into

their support services and expertise

at reaching hard-to-serve residents

like David who we might not otherwise

encounter,” said Stride Center

Executive Director Barrie Hathaway.

Progress Richmond Program

Coordinator Miguelle Lee added, “By

aligning services with the infrastructure

expertise of our partners, together we

can provide a more holistic approach to

client support. And, thanks to Chevron’s

grant, we’ve been able to offer free

scholarships to students like David who

couldn’t otherwise afford the training.”

David completed Stride’s basic computer

literacy course and will soon complete

its six-month A+ certification program.

“At that point, I’ll begin working on my

Microsoft Certified Desktop Support

Technician credential and start my job

search,” he explained. “I’ll be qualified

for entry-level jobs like working on a

help desk, desktop support, computer

technician and software installation.”

For David, the key to success is

keeping busy to stay out of trouble.

“Right now, my life is basically going to

school, taking care of my grandfather

and coaching a little league team,” he

said. “When there’s time, I also volunteer

with ReliaTech, Stride’s technology

consulting, installation and maintenance

business. And I’m also planning to

get my GED diploma – I understand

ONS has a program that can help.”

To learn more about The Stride Center, visit or call (510) 234-1300.

Chevron Richmond Today | 3

Chevron’s Fuel Your School Program and the

Chevron Classroom Challenge Drive Student Success

Science teacher Catherine Vanier

sorely needed petri dishes, agar and

microscopes – the basic supplies to

grow and observe bacteria and to

teach cellular biology fundamentals

to her seventh grade life sciences

students. But like most Bay Area

public schools, Richmond’s Lovonya

DeJean Middle School, where Catherine

teaches, struggles to operate under

a severely reduced budget.

“Due to staffing cutbacks, I recently

gained 25 students, so my classes

now average 37 students,” explained

Catherine. “They’ve been sharing

only five microscopes – with one

nearly broken – so students barely

got a chance to use the equipment.

It’s very difficult for them to truly

grasp the concept that they are

made of cells unless they can see

cells under a microscope.”

But teachers are nothing if not

resourceful. Like thousands of

teachers throughout the U.S.,

Catherine submitted an application

to, a nonprofit

organization that matches individual

donors with teachers’ requests

for funding on everything from

pencils to planetariums.

Catherine helped her school hit

the jackpot because, in addition to

4 | Chevron Richmond Today support, her

submission garnered a $25,000

Chevron Classroom Challenge grant.

For Catherine, the windfall is a

vindication. “Last year, one of my

students spent days working on a

science project that involved studying

bacteria samples she gathered around

the school,” explained Catherine. “We

didn’t have sufficient petri dishes;

so, improvising, we tried growing the

bacteria in tennis ball can lids covered

with plastic wrap. Nothing grew, so the

only conclusion she was able to draw

in her project write-up was that old

agar is dead and doesn’t grow bacteria

because they have nothing to live off.”

The student didn’t make it far in

the school’s science fair because

she was unable to gather sufficient

numerical data. “You can imagine her

disappointment after all that hard

work,” added Catherine. “I didn’t want

the lack of basic lab materials to stand

in the way of any more students. That’s

why I want to tell Chevron and everyone

who contributed to our project

online that each of you has made a

significant difference in the education

of our students for years to come.”

Mike Coyle, General Manager of

Chevron’s Richmond Refinery, said “We

were thrilled for Catherine’s victory and

the community’s overwhelming response

to the Fuel Your School campaign and our

Chevron Classroom Challenge. Through

these programs, we were able to donate

over $1 million to help public schools in

both Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

We are committed to supporting and

improving our local communities. The

innovation that drives our business

depends on education, especially

education focused in the areas of science,

technology, engineering and math. We

are ecstatic to help provide students

with the resources and tools they need to

become future leaders and innovators.”

Funds for were

generated in September when drivers

purchased fuel at participating Chevron

stations in Alameda and Contra Costa

counties. With each purchase of eight

gallons or more, Chevron donated $1 to in support of local

schools. In the Chevron Classroom

Challenge, 10 grants of $25,000 each

were awarded to Bay Area schools

and their teachers for especially

creative and enlightening project

proposals related specifically to science,

technology, engineering and math.

To learn more about Fuel Your School/

Chevron Classroom Challenge and to

see how much money was raised for

school programs in your community,


Back to School Party Rocks the Block

Volunteerism is alive and well in the East Bay, where volunteer opportunities and events abound. For example, each fall East

Bay chapters of United Way and the Volunteer Center present the Week of Caring, which connects thousands of volunteers

from Bay Area businesses with projects organized by local nonprofit organizations to benefit those in need.

File = 25% of actual size, final size is 40ft.w x 4 ft.h

5 | Chevron Richmond Today


One of this year’s highlights was the

fourth annual Back to School Block

Party on Sept. 16. The event, hosted

by the Bay Area Rescue Mission

and sponsored by Chevron, drew

more than 670 inner-city children

and their families to Richmond’s

Nevin Park, where more than 70

Chevron employees and their families

volunteered for fun activities that


• Providing free backpacks with school


• Running carnival attractions, bounce

houses and other kid-friendly games

• Providing free lunch, root beer floats

and other treats

• Reading the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh, the

Places You’ll Go!

Jonathan and Tracey James attended

the block party with their seven

children. They heard about the event

through the Bay Area Rescue Mission,

where they lived earlier this year.

“The James family originally lived in the

Bay Area but had moved to Arizona to

care for Tracey’s ill mother,” explained

the Rev. John Anderson, executive

director of the Bay Area Rescue

Mission “When she recovered last year,

they moved back. But unfortunately,

Jonathan, a computer software

specialist, had difficulty finding a job.

Having run through their savings and

facing homelessness, they contacted

the Rescue Mission, and fortunately we

had room.”

Over the next few months, the James

family received many services from the

Rescue Mission including temporary

housing, food, clothing, medical care,

job search counseling and assistance

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Back-To-School Party

finding permanent housing. “Then,

in September I got a solid lead on a

job, and we were able to move into

our own apartment on October 1,”

said Jonathan. “Our older kids now

attend public schools, and we take full

advantage of the Rescue Mission’s

after-school programs.”

“Our whole family had a wonderful

time at the Block Party,” Tracey shared.

“The kids especially enjoyed the

Dr. Seuss reading by a team of Chevron

employees and the many games and

treats provided. I truly appreciated

receiving the school supplies for our

older children. Just knowing that

people from Chevron cared this much

about people in need meant so much to

us and the other families.”

Brian Stripling, manager of Product Life

Cycle at Chevron Richmond and a Bay

Area Rescue Mission Board member,

added, “We know that when Richmond

children feel appreciated, they want

to become active in the community,

which in turn adds value to others.

The investment of our time and actual

involvement returns priceless dividends

in the lives of Richmond kids who are in

our future.”

Since 1965, the Bay Area Rescue

Mission has provided shelter, food,

clothing, recovery programs,

training and many other services to

homeless and impoverished people

in the Bay Area. To learn more, visit or call

(510) 215-4555.

Jonathan and Tracey James and their seven children: Brianna, Jovanta, Saleena, Sierra, April, Michael and LeBron.

Chevron Richmond Today | 5

Perseverance Pays Off for Chevron Plant Operator

Fourteen years ago, Stacey Reynolds

was in desperate straits. She had two

small children, an ailing mother and

no place to live. “We were staying with

my son’s father temporarily, but his

landlord was threatening eviction, so

we had to move out,” said Stacey.

Afraid she was about to lose everything,

Stacey found a shelter willing to provide

transitional housing and help her

rebuild her life. “I married early and

didn’t graduate high school, so they

helped me finish school,” she explained.

“Meanwhile, I worked several jobs,

including the shelter’s kitchen and

various night and weekend jobs.”

Fortune again shone on Stacey when

a friend shared an article about

the Contra Costa County Office of

Education’s Regional Occupational

Program (ROP), which provides careerdevelopment

courses to more than

13,000 students and adults each year.

“That little piece of paper changed

my whole existence,” Stacey said.

“I grew up near an oil refinery in

Martinez, so I was always interested

Chevron ROP trainer Butter Simms with ROP graduate Stacey Reynolds.

6 | Chevron Richmond Today

in learning more about that kind of

work,” she continued. “When I saw

ROP’s Process Plant Operator course,

which trains you for entry-level refinery

positions, I knew it was for me.”

For the past 32 years, Chevron has

funded and provided instructors

and other resources for the Process

Plant Operator course. Before being

enrolled, Stacey was extensively

screened to ensure her aptitude

and goals were compatible with the

course. She spent the next 18 months

juggling motherhood, school, parttime

jobs and the rigorous ROP

training. On top of that, her mother

had suffered a stroke and was

confined to an elder care facility.

After completing the ROP coursework,

Stacey underwent two weeks of

intensive tests, which she passed.

Then, in a sad – yet uplifting – twist of

fate, Stacey learned she got the job

at Chevron and visited her mother to

share the good news; that very night,

her mother died. “I think she was

holding on until she knew her daughter

would be okay,” shared Stacey.

Fast-forward 13 years and Stacey is

happily employed as a power plant

distribution operator. “Basically, I help

supply the electricity, gas, water and

steam used by the various Richmond

Refinery plants to manufacture their

products,” she explained. “I monitor

the safe distribution of these power

sources, which might involve ‘walking

the lines,’ opening and closing all

kinds of supply valves and working

with maintenance staff to ensure all

my equipment is operating reliably.”

Stacey can’t praise ROP – or Chevron

– highly enough. “I don’t think anyone

could ever realize how important this job

is to me. It has provided me with steady

employment, health and retirement

benefits and a stable environment to

raise my kids,” she shared. “My daughter

is working on a Ph.D. in education, and

my son is pursuing a master’s degree in

art. I couldn’t be more proud – both of

them and myself – for getting this far!”

To learn more about ROP, visit

stsvcs/rop or call the ROP Course

Hotline at (925) 942-3436.

Probably nothing better exemplifies

the joys of the holiday season than

watching kids open their presents.

Sadly, many cash-strapped parents

are deprived of that pleasure because

they simply can’t afford gifts. That

bothered Richmond Fire Department

firefighter Rod Woods, so 23 years

ago he organized a small local drive

to gather toys for the U.S. Marine

Corps Toys for Tots program.

“Eventually, it made sense to form our

own program for local residents,” said

Woods. “Over the years, corporate

sponsors like Chevron and the East

Bay YMCA, along with thousands

of individual donors, have helped

us reach the point where we now

distribute thousands of toys to about

1,750 local families each year.”

The Richmond/El Cerrito Fire and

Police Department Toy Program’s

mission is to collect and distribute

new, unwrapped toys to economically

disadvantaged children ages 12 and

under in western Contra Costa County

during the holiday season. Sonja Frye

and Kiven Burks, who each have lived

in Richmond for 14 years, certainly

appreciate that goal. Kiven first heard

about the Toy Program from her

mother, while Sonja learned about

it from friends in the community.

“Thanks to the organizers and

everyone who contributed, I was able

Chevron volunteers sorting donated toys.

7 | Chevron Richmond Today

to give my daughter toys and prepare

a special holiday dinner,” said Kiven.

“I didn’t take her along to the event

because I wanted to surprise her with

the gifts on Christmas, but for me,

the biggest joy was coming down

to the YMCA to pick up the toys.”

Firefighters and Chevron Employees

Spread Joy Through Toy Program

Sonja and her family were equally

thrilled. “I believe it’s a great program

that really helps out less fortunate

families during the holidays,” she

said. “Last year, we were especially

happy because we entered the

bike raffle – and won! I would

certainly tell my friends about the

Toy Program for future years.”

Woods noted that several years

ago, when the Toy Program began

outgrowing its space, the East Bay

YMCA stepped up and provided larger

facilities where recipients could sign

up and the toys could be distributed.

“In addition, the YMCA broadens

our exposure to needy families by

helping distribute applications through

its network of satellite programs

throughout the county,” added Woods.

Woods relies on 200-plus volunteers

from local high schools, churches

and other organizations to sort

through thousands of applications,

match children with appropriate gifts and

hand gifts out at the annual giveaway

event. Chevron Richmond employees are

among the program’s biggest boosters.

“Many of our Chevron firefighters have

been boosters of this great program for

15 or more years, and the Refinery as a

whole has provided sizeable financial and

volunteer support for the past four years,”

said Mark Ayers, chief of Emergency

Services at the Chevron Richmond

Refinery. “Last year, more than 50

Chevron volunteers did everything from

assembling bicycles to filling gift bags

to driving the trucks used to pick up and

purchase toys. It’s our joy to be able to give

back to the children in our community.”

To learn more about the Richmond/

El Cerrito Fire and Police

Department Toy Program, visit

or call (510) 307-8031.

Chevron Richmond Today | 7

Holiday Safety Tips From Chief Chris Magnus

of the Richmond Police Department

The Richmond Police Department is committed to ensuring that the holidays are as safe as possible

for everyone. We’re committed to working with residents to improve public safety, strengthening

relationships with the public and making crime prevention a top priority.

The holidays should be a time to celebrate with family and friends. Don’t let crime compromise your

personal safety or detract from the fun of holiday shopping and get-togethers. By taking a few simple

steps, you can greatly reduce your risk of becoming a crime victim. Please take note of the following:

• Avoid carrying large amounts

of cash. Pay for purchases

with a check or credit card

whenever possible.

• Use ATMs in grocery stores, malls,

public buildings or other welllighted

locations. Withdraw only

small amounts of cash.

• Keep your cash or wallet in a front

pocket. Carry your purse around

your shoulder.

• Park in well-lighted areas, and

don’t leave packages, purses

or valuables on vehicle seats –

these precautions make stealing

your belongings less tempting

for thieves and decreases the

likelihood your vehicle may

be stolen.

• Never leave your vehicle

unoccupied with the motor running

or with children inside – even for

a short time. Always lock your

vehicle, even in your driveway.

Chevron Richmond

841 Chevron Way

Richmond, CA 94801

Tel 510 242 2000

Fax 510 242 3515

• Use vehicle anti-theft devices, such

as a steering wheel lock, alarm or

tracking device.

• When away from home, have

a friend or neighbor watch

your house. Stop delivery of

newspapers and mail, or assure

someone picks these items up

every day.

• Place interior and exterior lights on

automatic timers. Leave a radio or

TV on so your residence appears

occupied. Lock all windows

and doors.

• Discuss personal safety issues

with your children. Make sure they

know how to call 911 and what to do

if they’re separated from you while

shopping or if they’re bothered by

a stranger. An advance plan can

make all the difference.

Resources, Links and Feedback

To learn more about Chevron in Richmond, please visit

To share any comments or concerns you may have, please send an email to, call 510-242-2000, or send correspondence to:

Brent Tippen

Policy, Government and Public Affairs

841 Chevron Way

Richmond, CA 94801

Follow us on

The Richmond Police Department

is ready to assist you with

home security checks, set up

Neighborhood Watch groups

and provide other safety-related

information. If you need assistance,

please contact Crime Prevention

Manager Michelle Milam at

(510) 620-6538

or by email

at mmilam@

I wish all of you

the very best for

a safe and happy

holiday season!

Chief Chris Magnus

Richmond Police Department

Chevron Policy, Government and Public Affairs publishes this newsletter quarterly for Chevron’s neighbors in the Bay Area.

22M CBRES IDC 86961 11/10

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