Dave had a 36 year career with Granite Construction, Inc where he was a Vice President and managed the tax department of 15 people. He retired on June 30, 2009 with the intent to start a nonprofit youth center for Watsonville students, choosing to focus our services for high school students. His vision was a youth center where students would have a place to receive academic support and personalized tutoring. Dave created a coffee house to have a safe social space for mentoring and enrichment activities. A few months after opening Youth N.O.W.’s doors on February 23, 2010, he expanded to add a middle school site. Dave is pleased with Youth N.O.W.’s success and all the students they have served. He appreciates all the support the community has given us to accomplish our mission. He is excited about the quality of our staff in their commitment to our mission and fulfilling his vision by serving the youth of Watsonville.
Dave was born in Santa Cruz and moved to Watsonville at the age of 2. He attended the local schools and graduated Watsonville High School in 1967. Dave attended Cabrillo College for two years and then transferred to Stanislaus State College receiving my B.A. in Business with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in Economics. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. His grandparents were Italian immigrants who settled in Chicago where his parents grew up. His parents’ first language was Italian, learning English in school. They both dropped out of high school after their freshmen years to work and help support their families, as times were difficult in the late 1930’s. Dave highly values his education and appreciates the opportunities an education can give.
“I am blessed to be married to a beautiful woman, Sandra Grazian (1972); raised four children, daughter Nicole, son Dave, two nephews Ryan and Brett. I serve on three nonprofit boards, and I am an officer of two of those nonprofits. I enjoy gardening, building things, woodworking, playing guitar and being a grandfather of three. My wife and I love New York City for the live theater and Italian restaurants. We enjoy traveling together. We have traveled to most of the states in the U.S. and have done some foreign travel including Italy, Scotland, England, France and Canada.”
Charlie is originally from Merced, California but spent 10 years living in the Hollister area. He studied at Bethany University, and has served the central coast in various non-profit agencies. Charlie has 15 years of experience with youth and 10 years in executive non-profit management. His passion is to identify, develop and empower students who will become our leaders. He enjoys spending his time with his wife and love of his life Stephanie, and their two children Sienna and Titus. His passions are education and sports! Something that empowers Charlie day to day is one of his favorite verses: Philipians 4: 13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Originally from San Pedro, CA, Jenna moved to Watsonville at a young age and spent many of her childhood years in the Pajaro area where her Grandparents lived. Jenna attended Rolling Hills Middle School, and Pajaro Valley High School, where she was a four-year varsity athlete in Volleyball, Basketball and Softball. She attended UC Santa Barbara as a freshman, but after returning home for the summer she realized how much she missed her hometown, and decided to attend Cabrillo and join their honors program, where she also played softball. After a year, Jenna transferred to San Jose State University where she got her BA in Communication Studies with a minor in Chicano Studies. As someone who spent her high school years as a volunteer in the nonprofit sector, Jenna always enjoyed being part of a dedicated team that pursued equity for those in her community. Jenna worked in the corporate advertising world for 7 months before arriving to Youth NOW. “Working at Youth N.O.W. has allowed me give back to my community in many ways. I have always had a passion for youth, because as someone who grew up in this community, I understand how important it is to have adults outside of your home who believe and motivate you to be your best in all that you do. I have been blessed to have such an inspiring mom, who has taught me the value of hard work, as well as coaches and grandparents who served and continue to serve as mentors to me in my life. I am grateful to be a part of a team that shares this same passion!” A fun fact about Jenna is that she has an adorable Yorkie named CupCake and is a sports fanatic!
Lizette was born and raised in Watsonville, by two immigrant parents who have worked, and continue to work in agriculture. Being a first generation Latina, motivated her to break down the barriers to provide a better collaborative system within communities. “I have seen the community factors that can impact youth, both negatively and positively. One of the key reasons why I decided to focus on working with youth in the Watsonville community.” Lizette received her B.A. in Collaborative Health and Human Services, with a concentration in Social work and Community Health. She enjoys working at Youth NOW because of its mission and vision, focusing on helping the youth of Watsonville and making an impact in the community. Seeing how students feel connected and are able to interact with others who are from various backgrounds, and have built a family within the center excites her. “It truly is an honor to be able to work at a place where I am able to interact with youth and provide guidance and services that will benefit them!”
Javiera was born and raised in Santiago, Chile where she participated in various community projects and volunteer work. She graduated with a ESL teaching degree from Universidad Andres Bello in Santiago. Once she graduated she decided to search for a great goal in life and help those in need, thus, moving to a rural town in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica where she worked for an American grassroots nonprofit called Abriendo Mentes. After her great experience in Central America, Javiera went back to Chile to work as a teacher. She had a great job teaching ESL to children ages 6-10. However, she wanted to continue her vocational goals working in the nonprofit sector. Javiera attended the University of Memphis in Tennessee and graduated with a Master’s degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration with a Certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. She has recently moved to the Santa Cruz area and she is looking forward to serve our beloved community. Javiera loves art and nature and is excited to be in such a beautiful Northern California location.
Originally from Los Angeles, Anthony moved up here 3 years ago when he started at CSU Monterey Bay. Specifically, from a city called Hawthorne located next to Inglewood and LAX airport. He is currently working toward his degree in business administration with an emphasis on management and international business. He first volunteered at Youth N.O.W. during his first year of college; he took a break and returned to volunteer again Fall of 2015. He officially joined the club as an employee the following semester. Anthony enjoys being a mentor to our youth. “The job is rewarding in its own special way. I enjoy working out and reading articles about developing the body, physically and mentally. I’m a bit of a nerd because I love superhero movies, I watch anime, and I play video games on my down time.” A fun fact about Anthony is his favorite movie of all time is Pulp Fiction. A Funner (not a word) fact: Pulp Fiction was filmed in Manhattan Beach, San Fernando Valley, and his hometown of Hawthorne.
Willie Bobo is originally from Bruce, Mississippi. He came to Watsonville at a young age and the very first school he attended was Linscott Charter. He graduated from Watsonville high school and attended Cabrillo College for two years. Willie spent most of his time on the basketball court. He retired from Safeway and joined the Youth N.O.W. team as our Recreational Manager. When asked what made him want to work at Youth N.O.W. Willie’s response was, “I love working with kids!” Willie’s hobbies include playing basketball and coaching. A fun fact about Willie is, he goes for a walk every morning at 7 am! Way to go coach Bobo!!
Emily was born in Gilroy but raised in Watsonville. She takes great pride in the small town that watched her grow up and admires the fact that this community has large population of hard working agricultural families, her family being one of them. “I was fortunate enough to be raised by hardworking, humble and supportive parents who always instilled in me the importance in education. They knew education was the key to a better future; something they always envisioned for me. Through all their hard work, that vision translated to me and was my driving force to attend a four year University right after High School.” Emily graduated from California State University Monterey Bay and obtained a degree in Psychology. She became very passionate about working with and helping migrant youth who she feels are often bypassed by our educational system. Therefore, she states “it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work for and organization whose vision focuses on empowering youth and at the same time allows me to give back to my community.”
Damaris grew up in Hesperia, CA located in San Bernardino County and moved to Watsonville 5 years ago. She graduated from Watsonville High School and attended Cabrillo College before transferring to CSU Monterey Bay. She has an Associate’s degree in Communications and Psychology and will be achieving her Bachelor’s in Psychology Spring of 2017. Damaris first began as a Youth Now volunteer tutoring at the middle school site. She soon realized how much she loved supporting the youth of her community and was soon brought on as a staff. She mentions, “My upbringing was not one that was filled with many resources, but I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful and hardworking mother and supportive and positive family and friends, which allowed hope to grow inside of me. Therefore, when I think of Youth N.O.W., I think of a network of people who provide resources for the youth of a community that has seen struggle and whose ultimate goal is to spark hope and create change.”