The idea for Digital NEST began one night when Jacob Martinez saw one of his former middle-school computer programming students sitting outside a locked building of Cabrillo Community College, working on her laptop. She was now a student at the college, she told Jacob, but she still had no access to the Internet at home.
“I come here for Wi-Fi so I can complete my homework assignments,” she explained.
It was all too common to see young people huddling outside locked buildings in Watsonville trying to complete schoolwork, apply for jobs, and access the social and networking opportunities enjoyed by their connected peers.
In November of 2014, with funding from a community angel, a small core of donors dedicated to social justice, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Digital NEST opened its doors. The NEST has since blossomed into a thriving activity-rich tech center; a place that nurtures bright, eager young people like the one whose determination inspired Jacob outside Cabrillo College that cold night.