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.
Hack the Hood Blog
News items and musings on tech inclusion, youth development, buying local and more.