2018 gave me a lot. The good overpowered the bad. I am generally a pessimistic person, but I can truthfully say that this was a year worth living. It was also the year I made more friends than ever, and I even discovered what true love felt like. I didn’t just think about my writing aspirations. It’s fair to say that it was also the year I connected more with people, on a deeper level. An important person in my life was Peggy Ochoa, who introduced me to Nathaniel Gray and his amazing Santa Barbara Project.
When Peggy talked to me about The Santa Barbara Project, suggesting that I was the kind of person who deserved to be part of it, my first instinct was to disbelieve it. It wasn’t because I was belittling the idea, but, because after a careful examination of the people who were part of the project, I found my feet were too small to fill up the kind of shoes I was being put next to.
Other than Peggy and Nathaniel, trailblazers in their own fields, I was looking at people like Matt Lowe, a charismatic young man with a love for making change happen in the lives of the people nearest and dearest to him. I had the honor to meet him at Woodland Toastmasters. Matt is the kind of man whose attitude and contagious positivity is bound to soften even the hardest of hearts; he did that to mine.
Another important person to mention is Anthony Rodriguez. He is the chief of operations at the Santa Barbara Response Network (SBRN). There was a time in my life where I needed a friend, someone to talk to, get some perspective. It didn’t matter what time of the day it was; I could always count on him. Thank you very much for giving me a hand, good friend.
The last person I’d like to mention is Dora Perez, a woman with a heart of gold, always ready to give a hand, looking for ways to ease the load by helping out in different non-profits around the city. I interviewed her for a newspaper I was working for back in March, and her story captivated me.
These are just some of the people I know who are part of this book. I am among them. I still cannot believe it. So, first it was The Santa Barbara Project, a book replete with people who are committed to making a difference. The shoes I have to fill are big, and the only way to accomplish that is by constantly giving back to this community that has given me so much.
So, what is Gabriel Lucatero doing now, other than working at the local Denny’s and writing fiction on his spare time? Well, this is what’s going on: I became a member of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise, a group filled with people who work hard at lending a hand to those in need. I’ve learned a lot from them. Can’t wait to keep learning more.
Thank you Nathaniel. I am happy and glad to be part of The Santa Barbara Project.