GREENFIELD — Omar Vigil recently became the new co-director for Greenfield Community Science Workshop (GCSW).
Formerly a part-time technician with the workshop, Vigil has been involved in workshops since 2006, when he joined the Watsonville workshop’s after-school program while in high school. He started his new role on Aug. 10, taking over for former Co-Director Curt Gabrielson.
“Being at the workshop is a dream job,” Vigil said. “It’s hard to find something where you’re passionate about what you’re doing and helping the community overall. One of the things that I love about GCSW is we are really community oriented. We help in so many ways, sometimes direct and sometimes indirect.”
GCSW has an open workshop space for youth, where they can learn about concepts, tinker with tools, look at biology exhibits or create something from parts. During the pandemic, the workshop has created video content and provided activity bags for youth to learn about science.
The staff also hosts small events, such as bike workshops, during which community members can benefit from the workshop’s assistance.
There are science workshops around California, with two in San Francisco, one in Fresno and one in Watsonville, in addition to Greenfield’s program.
Vigil said he would like to expand the workshop presence in South Monterey County, especially in King City, Gonzales and Soledad, where he envisions permanent programs.
“They are very similar to Greenfield, where there isn’t much for the youth,” he said. “Being able to provide this programming, even if it helps two or three kids, that’s something. That’s three kids whose life we’re going to be changing.”
Workshop training is ongoing. Employees are learning various skills to be able to help youth with different tasks as well as to participate in the various types of events the workshop hosts.
“We all try to somehow train ourselves and train other people as well to be able to do a little bit of everything,” Vigil said.
He said his shift to leadership has been a great experience, as city employees and workshop staff have all been friendly. The transition also offered him a chance to meet the entire staff, since his prior position had him only come to Greenfield on Saturdays.