"Stories help us to pause for a moment and see how we are all connected in one way or another... to see different perspectives, understand different ideas, engage in discussions, and open up our world a bit more. They allow us to have bigger and more important conversations that broaden our own perspective." - Edgar Garcia.
Welcome to another edition of #SummerSearcherMade -- a blog series to lift up our Summer Search students and alumni who are business-owners, leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, and creatives.
Edgar Garcia: Multi-Talented Storyteller
If you've ever seen a video about Summer Search, there is a high probability that Bay Area alumnus Edgar Garcia was involved.
Edgar is a gifted video producer, photographer, and founder of Robot Boy Productions. He has pursued this creative passion since high school, when he started making photo montages and videos of his younger sister.
"From the moment she was born, I wanted to document her journey in a creative way. When I would show these creations to my family, they often had strong emotional reactions to them. I realized that I enjoyed putting together these types of stories for my family."
As a shy high schooler from an immigrant family, Edgar also realized that this form of storytelling provided him a way to authentically express himself and connect with people.
"This was especially important to me because I had a hard time opening up during my adolescent and teenage years. Writing stories was a creative outlet for me when my family moved to the U.S. from Mexico and I was suddenly immersed in a completely different world and language. Creating projects like these allowed me to connect with folks in a way that I couldn't before."
Edgar was also able to form meaningful relationships through his involvement with community organizations, like Summer Search and others, where, as he explains "I was exposed to a diverse set of participants, different ways of thinking, and just really awesome individuals."
"That's why I started Robot Boy Productions," Edgar reflects. "I knew that telling stories of the people and organizations in my community was what I wanted to do."
Adventures Into the Unknown
Edgar actually learned about Summer Search from another nonprofit organization in 2004, the San Francisco-based Jamestown Community Center. "At the time," Edgar explains, "I didn't realize how much Summer Search would be a part of my personal and professional life."
His first summer experience was with Environmental Traveling Companions. During these four weeks of rafting, kayaking, and exploring the San Francisco Bay Area, Edgar says that he was "really learning about myself by engaging in conversations with folks outside what I was accustomed to, as well as giving new activities a try."
His second trip was a cultural immersion program in India with Where There Be Dragons. Edgar describes it as a "life-changing experience."
"Who would’ve thought that this 17-year-old immigrant from Mexico would be traveling half-way across the world to India to spend one month with a group of strangers from different walks of life and have an amazing time? At that time, I never thought that was something I could ever do, both financially, and being so open to new experiences. When I reflect back, I think about the community we created and my willingness to adventure into the unknown."
Edgar still carries that bold, adventurous spirit in his life today. When he made a career decision to go full-time into the video production freelance world, Edgar thought back to that summer of 2005.
"If I can travel to India at 17 with a group of strangers, I can try my luck at building my business with the same excitement I had back then."
A highlight throughout Edgar's career has been being able to work with, and tell the stories of, the organizations he participated in during his youth.
"Summer Search has always been a huge supporter of my work. They're investing in my (and other Summer Searchers') potential and proving a launching pad whenever possible. Being able to show my portfolio to other potential clients and to have a name like Summer Search attached was a big help, and I’m forever grateful to Summer Search and all the folks, past and present, for believing in me."
Another meaningful and full-circle project for Edgar was with the aforementioned Jamestown Community Center, where he was also a participant.
Jamestown was looking to celebrate their 50th anniversary, address the COVID-19 pandemic, and assure their community of their commitment to their young people. Not only was that a creative challenge, but logistically Edgar needed to make sure the video shoots were completed in a way that was safe for everyone.
"This video is special because it captures a moment in time that acknowledges what is happening in the world, but doesn’t deviate from the message. There were so many conversations and challenges behind the scenes that I wasn’t sure if we could pull it off. But ultimately, everyone enjoyed the video."
No matter the challenges, these are the kinds of stories that Edgar loves creating. He's looking forward to what the coming year will bring.
"Going into 2022 and beyond, I hope to partner with more creative collaborators and dive into more personal projects. I hope to continue working with amazing organizations and continue to build great working relationships."
We are forever grateful to play a small role in Edgar's story and equally grateful to partner with him in the sharing of the stories of our students, alumni, and supporters. These stories bring our mission to life and are a daily source of inspiration and wisdom. As Edgar says:
"I think it’s important to share stories because it helps us to pause for a moment and see how we are all connected in one way or another. Stories help us see different perspectives, understand different ideas, engage in discussions, open up our world a bit more, and they allow us to have bigger and more important conversations that broaden our own perspective."