by Mary Fuller, Hack the Hood co-founder and COO
Madeira first came to Hack the Hood about two years ago. We were launching our first bootcamp for older youth and she heard about it from her roommate.
"He was just like 'there's this opportunity where you can learn to build websites and get a free Chromebook and get some money' and I was just like, 'What is this place called?!'
Little did she know, the step of applying for that program would really change everything for her. While in our bootcamp, Madeira gained the skills to build a website for a small business client. But what she learned went far beyond the technical. She grew more confident, more ambitious, and she started to see new opportunities open up for her because of her association with Hack the Hood.
After she graduated from bootcamp, we invited her to join our Digital Marketing Doors pilot program, where she learned how to put together effective Google Adwords campaigns from Googlers on the Adwords team themselves. Afterwards we connected her to an internship at New American Media where she could experience digital marketing in a real work environment. Around this time, we also brought her on at Hack the Hood as an Americorps volunteer where she began to use her leadership skills helping other young people in our programs. Over the summer, she served as an associate instructor at an Oakland Bootcamp. She really flourished in each successive role we gave her, and we loved having a "resident" youth in the office every day to contribute her perspective to the program.
What impressed us the most about Madeira, though, was her incredible and indominable persistence when less fortified people may have quit. All through this period, she was saving money by living at home with her family in Patterson, CA and doing several-hour commutes on the bus or car-pooling with her dad each day. She'd have to get up at 3am every morning and not get home until late. But she kept at it and excelled in her job.
That resilience and committment was part of the reason we jumped on the chance to hire her on to our staff permanently. Just two years after graduating from our bootcamp, Madeira is now the Central Valley Regional Account Manager at Hack the Hood. She's the direct liason to two of our partners- Project Yes and EMPOWER- as they deliver Hack the Hood bootcamps in Modesto and Merced. Now she gets to support the planning of the very bootcamp that got her started on her own career. We're so proud of her! And when she speaks to the power of what Hack the Hood can do, we consider her an authoritative source!
"Being a part of that community and just knowing that you can do what you want to do -you just need to put your mind to it- that really inspires the youth...Hack the Hood can really open doors that youth don't even realize they have the talent [for]."
We're so grateful to have been able to watch Madeira open those doors of opportunity, walk through, and then hold them open for next generations of Hack the Hood youth.
We know this important work would not be possible without the support that we get from donors like you. We value each donation because it means we can support more youth like Madeira. We hope you'll remember us when you make your year-end contributions this year.
To be honest, we've been a little "nose to the grind stone"- hard at work on curriculum, prepping for new program launches and whatnot, and it was getting a little quiet. We were wondering if people were forgetting about us... maybe we aren't that cool any more... maybe we've become Old Hat.
And then... Boom! A small avalanche of kindness and goodwill pours down and... gosh, we'll take it! Here is a sampling of some of the awesome love we've been getting in the form of honors and recognition lately:
NBCU 21st Century Grant Challenge Award
In November, Hack the Hood won the top prize locally in the NBC Bay Area 21st Century Solutions Grant Challenge, which supports "impactful programs that offer bold, new ideas that move communities forward." Hack the Hood received a $50,000 grant to support its programs.
“Making the Bay Area a better place to live is central to our stations’ mission,” said Rich Cerussi, President and General Manager of NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48. “We’re proud to support local organizations that are also committed to making our communities better places to live through innovative programs that address some of the Bay Area’s toughest challenges.”
Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley and Juma Ventures each won $25,000 as well.
Nationwide, NBCU gave $1.2 million to 30 non-profits, including 10 Grant Prize winners. Locally, the 21st Century Solutions Grant Challenge is sponsored by NBC Bay Area / KNTV and Telemundo 48 Area de la Bahia / KSTS, in partnership with The NBCUniversal Foundation.
NationSwell AllStars 2016
NationSwell is a digital media company focused on American innovation and renewal — identifying and profiling social innovators who are developing impactful ways to solve America’s most critical issues.
Each year they celebrate a select group of social entrepreneurs who are powering solutions with innovative technology. This year they chose Hack the Hood's own Zakiya Harris.
Read more and check out the video.
Oaklandish's annual Innovators grants recognize local programs that exemplify the values of innovation and progress in all areas of civic life. It’s a year-round partnership that doesn’t just end with writing a check. Along with financial support, Oaklandish also pitches in to help with events, collaborative designs, and awareness campaigns. The four 2017 Innovators Awards winners are as diverse as Oakland. Other winners include: Youth ALIVE!, Level Playing Field Institute, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland.
We think it's especially cool to team up with Oaklandish since the company is such a great champion of local artists, artisans, and small businesses.
Read more on their blog.
East Bay Innovation Awards
This one isn't in the bag yet, but Hack the Hood is a finalist for the East Bay Innovation Awards in the Education Catergory for the second year in a row. We're up against the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory & Las Positas College.
The East Bay Innovation Awards celebrates the cutting-edge innovators in business that make the East Bay one of the preeminent regions of innovation in the nation.
The East Bay Economic Development Alliance along with the San Francisco Business Times celebrate and award companies that most contribute to the East Bay's culture of innovation. The Awards will produce a prestigious cohort of award recipients each year and will also make a special effort to recognize the up-and-coming innovators who will have opportunities to be leaders in the East Bay in future years.
Read more and get tickets to the award ceremony here.
A note from Hack the Hood: We are so inspired by our partner organizations! TeenForce and Silicon Valley Children's Fund run bootcamps specifically for foster youth. We wanted to share Enrique's story because we think his persistence in the face of difficult challenges shows the resilience we want to celebrate in all our youth. We're proud to partner with TeenForce and Silicon Valley Children's fund for bring the Hack the Hood model to foster youth in the Bay Area.
Partner post from: TeenForce
On Saturday, December 10th, our STEM program, a partnership with the Silicon Valley Children's Fund, had its graduation ceremony to honor the youth who participated in the program during Fall 2016. It was the first time that all three cohorts (Museum Experience, Robotics, and Hack the Hood) came together for a joint celebration, and we had the biggest turn out yet!
Although having such a great turn out is always exciting, the biggest success of the event is the graduation of one of our youth, Enrique, who participated in the Hack the Hood cohort in Gilroy this fall. Getting to the STEM program graduation has not been an easy ride for Enrique, but he fought through the challenges and completed the program, designing a website for the Opportunity Youth Academy in Gilroy.
Enrique's biggest barrier to success has been finding stable housing. Just before the last STEM class, Enrique's housing issues intensified and he sold the laptop that he had been given as part of the STEM program in order to afford to stay in a motel. Since he no longer had a laptop to use to work on his website, he contemplated dropping out of the program, but Opportunity Youth Program Coordinator Stephany Fuentes encouraged him to finish the program. And it is a good thing she did because at graduation, we surprised him with a brand new laptop to replace the one he had sold!
With his new laptop, Enrique is working alongside Opportunity Youth Academy Principal Nicky Ramos-Beban, Ph.D. to improve his website and intends to finalize the website by January 30th. He also started working at a new job, which he found with the help of TeenForce, and re-enrolled in the Opportunity Youth Academy to earn his high school diploma.
Our TeenForce team is so incredibly proud of Enrique for fighting through the daily challenges he faces and never giving up! We know he has a bright future ahead of him, and we are all excited to see where he ends up. Congratulations, Enrique, for all of your successes not just this past semester but throughout your life!
Enrique's website will not go live until January 30th, but check out these other websites designed by youth in our Hack the Hood Fall 2016 cohort: GinaLopez.com, DG Communications, Snowie Shaved Ice, MONEYdawg $olution$, and Ciel.
Hack the Hood Blog
News items and musings on tech inclusion, youth development, buying local and more.