The Promise of Youth Is Our Best and Only Incubator for the Future

As the founder of Enterprise, I celebrate the thousands of students who have used its programs to take stock of their interests, their skills, and their ambitions. I want to acknowledge those students’ debt to the many employers who have contributed to preparing them to experience and thrive in their first jobs.

Looking back to the beginning in 1969, I had finished an MA degree in counseling and learned to really listen to what young people would like to do as they entered the world of work. I decided to use my big living room in San Francisco as a place where students could congregate in the afternoon and be interviewed by volunteers I knew and trained. Soon my living room was transformed into an office environment teeming with volunteers, desks, students, and a 3M copier on top of the piano.

Over time we outgrew my living room and needed funds to support our expansion. Good fortune arrived, thanks to one of our first board members who suggested that the Winter Antique Show in New York be replicated in San Francisco as a benefit for Enterprise. Eureka! The San Francisco Fall Show was born in 1981 and its profits helped Enterprise become the youth-serving institution it is today.

After all these years, it is a blessing to know that the core values of Enterprise are the same — giving youth respect, not always telling them to behave and what to do, but asking them questions that highlight their abilities, experiences, and dreams.After all, the promise of youth isour best and only incubator for the futureand well-being of our imperiled planet.

I have no words to thank or recompense for the hundreds of Enterprise champions, Executive Directors, board members, staff, and donors who believed in the mission of Enterprise for Youth, which at 50 is still as important and committed to another 50 years promoting the promise of youth. As a valued member of the Enterprise community, you played a vital role in helping us reach this important 50th Anniversary milestone and achieve lasting impact in our community. Please consider joining me and make a 50th Anniversary annual fund contribution to supportwhat we have been doing and what we can do in the future with your generous financial assistance.

Glady Thacher