30 Under 30, South County -- Taking Nominations!

30 UNDER 30

By: Carly Gelsinger

Have you all seen gmhTODAY’s People to Watch in 2018? It’s the cover story of our latest issue and it’s chock full of some awesome local movers and shakers.

As I paged through our selections, I had an idea. As far as I know, the South County doesn’t have a 30 Under 30 nomination, and we really should. There are some incredible young people in this community. In my brief interactions with the South County Young Professionals Network, and in my experiences with people coming through the Greenhouse Coworking Center, I can easily think of some people I’d nominate.

Young people here are doing more than just commuting to the Valley (although some of us do that too.) We care about our towns and we want to make a difference. We want to see our schools thrive as well as our downtowns. We want our neighborhoods to be safe and our libraries to be stocked with great reads. We are busy and most of us aren’t rich, but we put our money where our mouths are when we can. We volunteer. We participate. We are starting nonprofits and businesses and side hustles. We are going to school. We are raising families.

A few months back now, I was interviewed for a KSBW story about Millennials in Gilroy. They came and interviewed me in my new office at the Greenhouse Coworking Center and talked about why I chose to live in a town that doesn’t necessarily “attract” Millennials. The story itself was a pushback to the perception that Gilroy is not a young person’s town and painted the community in a positive light.

One thing I’ve been seeing happening recently that inspires me is this mobilization of younger people to get out there and make the change they want to see. When I moved here six years ago, I heard a lot of complaints from people my age at how there’s nothing to do here, how there’s too much crime here, how there aren't enough options here. Now I’m hearing less complaining and I’m seeing more action. I’ve seen people join task forces and start services for the community. I've seen them help put on film festivals and parades and shows and other events. I’ve seen people open the cool bar, the gallery, the small business they know the community needs.

The attitude has shifted. Now there's this idea that if you don't see what you want, you get to be the person who creates it. 

It’s refreshing, and I think it should be noticed and honored. So I’m officially taking nominations for the South Valley’s first 30 Under 30--and we’ll be a little generous with that upper age. We’ll say 35. I don’t have a prize in mind yet. I don’t have anything in mind. But I do want to see who you’ll pick. There’s a lot of awesome young people in our region and it’s time we take note.