What an amazing year 2014 has been. A year ago today, I was preparing to say farewell to 2013 and was so unsure of what the new year would have in store for me. I was working on a business plan for a new non-profit, and while I had no doubt it was a necessity, I had no idea how the community would respond. Could I really pull this off? Would people help? Would youth and young adults in the community come? A year later I find myself sitting in the Digital NEST surrounded by talented and ambitious youth while writing to thank all of you who have made this possible.
We haven’t even been open two months and have already seen 88 youth walk through our doors and into a world of possibilities. When they walk in for the first time there is often this pause at the door as they look around a little unsure of what to expect. Today, some are working on films they hope to submit to the Watsonville Film Festival while others are preparing to compete at the upcoming UCSC Hackathon and I sit here in awe as I try to express how fulfilling this year has been thanks to them and all of you.
So this is my attempt at showing my gratitude. Thank you to each and every one of you who helped make this dream a reality for the youth in our community. Our community is stronger and on the right path because of you. Thank you to the youth who had the courage to walk into something new. Thank you to the volunteers who have offered to help with everything from assembling tables to teaching a workshop. Thank you to the many donors that have given what they could. Thank you to all the in-kind donations of time and product. Thank you to the staff for the passion you bring every day to the NEST. Thank you to the board and advisors that have put in countless hours and energy to open the doors in less than a year. Thank you to my wife and kids who never once doubted me and who always supported me during those early mornings and late nights.
Good bye to one of the best years of my life and hello to an even greater one.