By Max Gibson, Hack the Hood Instructor
photos by Mary Fuller
As of this blog post, our very first Hack Day is officially in the books! It took years to evolve and months to plan came to fruition this past weekend at East Oakland Youth Development Center. But it was all worth it as Hack the Hood introduced 19 young people to the power of web development, and the opportunities that come along with it.
Held on October 18th and 19th, Hack Days serve as a way for Hack the Hood to provide our services to more youth throughout Oakland and beyond. While our Hack the Hood Boot Camps serve to offer youth a six week course in web development, career exploration, and professionalism, Hack Days provide a weekend snapshot of what our model offers. Highlighting the importance of online literacy, the value of professionalism, and personal branding, Hack Days offer insight to help youth contextualize their growing role in the digital age.
Comprised of high school youth, (and one standout 11 year old), Hack the Hood's Hack Day program also introduced youth to the power of the web. We created a variety of design challenges to help youth learn the technical and theoretical sides of web development. Youth learned how to use the Weebly web building platform to create a professional web portfolio site for themselves as well as a website for an actual local small business.
Diligent, polite and open minded, EOYDC's youth and our boot camp alumni youth remained motivated throughout the weekend, while our Hack the Hood staff kept the energy high. While one youth wrote, "This is one of the best programs to get you into the tech industry," others saw the residual value of building a personal portfolio website for themselves stating, "I felt good that I accomplished something that will benefit me in the long run..."
With another Hack Day coming up in less than three weeks (November 8th and 9th), only time will tell if our next cohort will have an experience as positive as the first!
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Hack the Hood: The Long-Term Vision
10/8/2014 4 Comments
by Hack the Hood Co-founders Susan Mernit, Zakiya Harris, and Mary Fuller
The statistics on low-income young people of color getting the training to work in tech are as dismal as the current diversity numbers at many big tech companies. Opening up the pipeline of opportunities for young people of color to work in tech is a hard problem many organizations are working to solve.
Across the US, many STEM organizations, college pathways and pipelines to employment programs, coding academies, hackathons, and fellowship and training programs are working to improve math, science and digital arts education and create fellowships, apprenticeships and internships that will give young people the breaks they need.
Both #YesWeCode, Van Jones's energetic outreach organization, and The Kapor Center for Social Impact, Mitch and Freada Kapor's foundation, focused on issues of digital inclusion and impact investing, have been tracking groups working to change the face of tech through training young people and there are dozens, if not hundreds, on their lists.
Hack the Hood is one of the youngest of these programs, and also probably one of the most ambitious.
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News items and musings on tech inclusion, youth development, buying local and more.