Scott joined the Northfield Union of Youth (NUY) three years ago, and at that time we had little savings, immense debt from the mortgage of our youth center, and were about a month away from closing our doors. Through Scott’s relentless effort, NUY has come full circle and is out of debt, has three full-time employees, and is in the strongest position in its’ 25 year history. Through his time at NUY, Scott worked with youth facing some of the biggest challenges. He made relationships with those who struggled with mental illness, abusive households, chemical addiction, and homelessness. He saw problems as opportunities to help and walked alongside youth to create new systems and better supports. Since then, Scott has had a mission to help the youth in need and empower them to be their best selves because, in his own words, “Empowered youth create empowered adults”. We are proud to see Scott Wopata take his experiences to the Community Action Center (CAC) in September as their new Executive Director and know that he will creatively and compassionately support the community and families like he supported the youth at The Key.
The community of youth and adults involved with the Northfield Union of Youth have grown to love and appreciate Scott for the effort he put into growing our non-profit and helping the youth who need it most. Now that he is leaving, there is an immense sorrow that surrounds the organization, but as VP of The Key Youth Board Chase Ingraham put it, “It is a selfish sorrow”. This is just one of the many iterations The Key and NUY goes through. From the beginning, The Key has been an inter-generational establishment – cycles of people come and go – and the director is no exception. Through these cycles NUY and The Key have remained strong and thriving organizations with a fixed purpose. The integrity, the mission statement, and the motivation to make the change we seek will always stay. We know that through the positive and empowered culture that Scott has helped develop over the past three years, we will not only maintain the success we have seen but continue to grow to be even stronger.
As the search for new leadership begins, our Youth Boards and Board of Directors are committed to finding someone who understands the value of youth empowerment and is able to engage the community in the way that Scott has done for so many years. Every person involved in the Northfield Union of Youth is committed to our mission statement, “…to provide power and voice to area youth and to create a caring and enriching community.” We are confident that we will find someone who not only understands the statement, but truly believes in its value. Scott truly believed in this mission.
Scott Wopata has not only grown as a person through his experience at the Key and NUY, but he has empowered all those around him to grow as well. The four of us writing this letter owe Scott a great deal when it comes to helping us become the people we are today. He’s taught us the power of empowering not only ourselves, but those around us. He has challenged us to think critically and look at obstacles from more than just one angle, and he’s taught us that our voice and actions can make a difference in other people’s lives.
Northfield community, thank you for your support and your generosity. The Key is part of the fabric of our community and we are confident that we can all work together to carry the impact of NUY into the future. Stay up to date, donate, or learn more about NUY at www.unionofyouth.org.
To the Community Action Center, please know Scott is someone who genuinely cares and takes empowerment for youth, families, and the community to the next level. He communicates in a way that helps others rethink the way they do things and how they can help. He has changed how we think, act, and feel. His persistence and resilience have been some of the most important qualities in his leadership here at NUY. His example has helped many youth and community members make improvements to both their own lives, and the lives of others. The community is better for having Scott involved and working for them.
Scott, thank you for bringing NUY to where it is now, a place where youth are experts on youth. A place where youth voice, opinion, and perspective have been amplified. Thank you for teaching us how to make it stronger, even for when you aren’t here. We love you Scott Wopata, take care.
Luke, Chase, Diana, and Bella
Luke Wiskus is the President of The Key Youth Board
Chase Ingraham is the VP of The Key Youth Board
Diana Montero is the President of the NUY’s Mental Health Board
Bella Callery is the VP of NUY’s Mental Health Youth Board
Questions or concerns can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org