Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County
Be The Difference Awards
Recognizing the People, Groups and Businesses who make a difference in Santa Cruz County through volunteerism. Each year we reach out to you to help us determine who should receive honors. We asked and you answered with extraordinary stories of those who have chosen to make their moments matter and transform our community through volunteerism.
2014 Honoree Jacob Martinez, Digital NEST
Jacob Martinez is a committed advocate for youth in Santa Cruz County. Over the past decade, he has introduced Watsonville teens to technology through after-school engineering and computer classes in the Pajaro Valley School District. As Project Director at ETR’s Watsonville TEC, Jacob led a variety of technology programs that supported youth from rural communities to pursue higher education.
Under his leadership, students and programs went on to receive local and national recognition. Despite his successes, he still saw a gap in the number of current and former students that didn’t have access to computers or the internet for their school work and in their professional lives.
Out of this need, “Digital NEST” was born. Located in Watsonville, “Digital NEST” aims to provide a high-tech space for young people ages 12 to 24 to gain marketable technology skills. As the founder of “Digital NEST,” Jacob is an inspiring leader with a powerful vision to create a better community by bridging the digital divide for youth and young adults in Santa Cruz County.