my town: AARON HATCH
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Co-Founder – Woven Capital Redding…
Despite recently turning 40 and having a school-aged child of my own, I still consider myself a hometown kid… or as I sometimes like to introduce myself: a boomerang kid.
When I graduated from Foothill High School at the turn of the millennium, I swore I would never live in Redding again. The world is a big place and I was determined to explore it.
The unfortunate truth for Redding is that some of our most promising high schoolers, some of whom are celebrating their commencements right now, say exactly the same thing that I said 21 years ago. But unlike me, many of them don’t return home after going out into the world. I left Redding to attend St. Olaf, a small liberal arts college in
Minnesota. In the decade that followed, I studied in Australia, taught English in Poland, worked in Connecticut while my college sweetheart (Rachel) attended grad school, and finally moved back to California, settling in the San Francisco Bay Area just in time for the Great Recession.
We loved the Bay Area but there was a lot left to be desired – the cost of living was high, the commutes were long, and it was always crowded. But what we really lacked was community and a meaningful way to contribute.
Just before my 30th birthday, I boomeranged back to Redding with Rachel and we dove headfirst into finding our community and a way to contribute. It turns out, when you’re not commuting hours every day, you have time and energy to give back.
One of the refreshing things about moving back to Redding was realizing that you didn’t need to be a gazillionaire or be retired to get involved and make a difference. There are so many worthy local organizations and causes where a person’s time and talents are needed and appreciated.
At first, it was overwhelming to decide how to get involved. Given that so many young adults leave Redding, never to return, the mantra I adopted was, “What can I do that will make Redding a better place to live? How do we make Redding a place that other potential boomerang kids want to return?”
This mantra led to producing events like TEDxRedding, or helping lead the process to redesign the Redding City Flag, to serving on the boards of directors of the Shasta Library Foundation and the Shasta Land Trust, as well as starting my own financial advisory firm that helps people invest in a more environmentally sustainable way.
We as a community invest so much in our young people. Just imagine if more of them boomeranged back. What a return on investment our community would see!
My challenge for you is: how can you contribute to making Redding a place to which our most promising high school seniors want to return?