Thank You Searchers……

Dear Forrest and Members of the Search Community,

What an honor it was to recently be surprised with a quirky raffle fueled by your generous donations and hosted by none other than Forrest Fenn!  Thank you simply doesn’t cut it, so before I explain the significance of that wonderful encounter, I’d like to share a little more with all of you about who I am, what the Santa Fe Children’s Museum is, and why generosity combined with a sense of hope and adventure is really the greatest gift we can bestow on each other.

I first heard about Forrest Fenn and his treasure about 2 years ago.  I was visiting my family up in Colorado (my home state) and was talking with my dad who was very sick with cancer at the time.  He asked me, “Have you heard about that treasure some guy from New Mexico hid out in the mountains?”  My father had a penchant for all things baffling, unexplained, and archaeological.  I inherited these same fascinations, and while we didn’t have the easiest relationship, we could always strike up a conversation about the mysteries of the universe.  “What treasure?”  I asked.  He proceeded to explain that a strange man had hidden a fortune somewhere in the Rockies and that the only known clues to its whereabouts were to be found in a poem published in some book he wrote.  True to my dad’s own sense of adventure and admiration of infinite possibilities, he encouraged me to go look for it when I returned home to Santa Fe.

Fast forward to New Mexico… my own busy life overshadowed all memories of that fanciful conversation and I became deeply entrenched in nonprofit work.  First at an animal sanctuary, then at the local animal shelter, and now at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum.  Probably not unlike many of you, I like indulging in big, seemingly unattainable ideas, that often seem ridiculous to others, and then pursue them like crazy with only my imagination, a compulsion for good deeds, and an unrelenting belief that anything is possible, to guide me.  Indeed, while maintaining this kind of drive is hard work, and ends in frustration and disappointment more often than not, every step is worth the journey and it ensures that we’re living our lives in accordance with what we find most meaningful.  While I can really only speak for myself, I suspect it’s this same kind of magic that inspired Forrest to hide his treasure, and the very same magic that inspires you to seek it.

So in honor of the cumulative force that brought us all together at this single point in time, I’d like to explain the actual impact the money from the raffle is having on some of the children here in Santa Fe.  As an institution, we aren’t a museum in the white-glove, hush-be-quiet sense of the word, but rather a place where kids can indulge their curiosities, engage in healthy social interactions, and learn by doing.  We have an incredible 1.5 acre interactive garden space, and over 35 play-based exhibits that help boost confidence, curiosity, and problem-solving skills.  We serve families from all economic backgrounds and on many levels… from educational programs, to special community events, to community access projects for those who need it most.

In collaboration with several organizations dealing in child welfare, we’ll be using the raffle money to hold monthly birthday parties for some of the most vulnerable children in the region.  Foster and homeless kids, families with adults in rehab programs, children who are grieving… you name it… we’re here to make sure these kids get their day in the sun.  Not only will they get a great big birthday celebration at the museum and the opportunity to share the experience together, but they’ll also be getting presents from us, fancy birthday cake, and the opportunity to bring friends and relatives along for their special day.  You made that possible for these kids!… A big resounding thank you is in order.

THANK YOU.

On behalf of the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and the children whose own journeys you’ve helped brighten, and on behalf of my father, who embarked on his own journey into the great unknown one year ago this month, may your own paths continue leading to new friends, grand adventures, and the kindest of intentions.

Yours in gratitude,
Jessica Jenkins
Santa Fe Children’s Museum