We're so proud of our Hack the Hood graduates! From Day One they came in curious, motivated, and ready to work. Five weeks into their boot camp, they're already finishing up work on 87 small business websites and counting! Get your tickets now to join us on April 23rd to lift up these inspiring young people and cheer them on as they launch their careers in tech. You won't be sad you joined us.
Check out the video from last summer's graduation
Debra Nelson wants to see young young girls of color flourish. She's raising two daughters in Oakland, and wants them to have opportunities to shine. "I'm grateful for having parents who modeled faith, dedication to education, strong work ethics and 'giving back' to the community. I want to pass those lessons on to the next generation" says Debra. That's why she started a new non-profit organization called Butterfly Queens Youth Leadership Academy with a mission to:
"empower girls of color to spread their wings, find their voices and develop into Butterfly Queens who, destined for greatness, will contribute to the positive changes within our communities and beyond."
The program features an online and face-to-face learning model where "Budding Butterflies" receive mentorship, public speaking skills development, interpersonal relationship enhancement, and leadership opportunities through community service.
Debra is launching this non-profit on top of a busy career in the public sector, so figuring out how to put up a website to reach girls and community supporters was a little more than she felt she could handle without help. So Debra called Hack the Hood and was paired up with Jose, a 17 year-old graduate of Hack the Hood's boot camp. Jose and Debra worked together to get the organization's website ready for Butterfly Queen's launch on April 11. The site is vibrant and colorful, matching Debra's outgoing personality, but it also showcases the skills Jose's been learning over the past 8 months through Hack the Hood. Of her experience Debra writes, "Jose has been a Godsend, with his insightful ideas, commitment to professionalism and easy-to-work-with personality."
If you'd like to learn more about Butterfly Queens check out their new website butterflyqueens.com or stop by their Inaugural Launch this Saturday, 11am-1:30pm at the 81st Avenue Library. Jose will be there with his little sister, who will be the programs first Latina "Butterfly Queen!" Virtuous circles abound at Hack the Hood.
by Mary Fuller
Hack the Hood staff later commented on how the youth stayed absorbed through several hours of panels where they got to meet and hear from folks in a wide variety of departments across the company:
But even those who aren't particularly gamers got a lot out of the visit. On the bus back into Oakland, I chatted with one young woman who is still trying to figure out what career path she wants to take. Before going into our program, she thought she might want to pursue cosmetology, but her perspective is broadening. During one poignant moment she went through the two pages of notes she had folded up in her pocket from the day:
"What they were talking about today can relate to almost any career I want. And the way they were talking about college made me feel like it was something I can do. I never thought that before. But it's just like high school, except you need more discipline. I can do that!"
This is EXACTLY why field trips are an integral part of Hack the Hood's model. During a good field trip, youth meet people they can relate to, become immersed in the environment and culture of a company, and learn about all the opportunities open to them if they are willing to push themselves beyond their comfort zone, do the work to master the skills, and foster relationships with people who can help them get there. This is what Hack the Hood's work is all about.
A big thank you to 2K and everyone who has opened doors for Hack the Hood youth. You're the best!
Hack the Hood Blog
News items and musings on tech inclusion, youth development, buying local and more.