Hackathon Jr. June 2020 Newsletter

Hackathon Jr. and the world have been impacted by the pandemic COVID-19 and the effects of the police brutality that has been at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Amidst the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement, Hackathon Jr is standing in solidarity with BLM to ensure that children across the country have access to the same education and resources. Though we are unable to host an event as of yet, we are moving to support students in need with computers so that they can finish school, attend summer school, and learn to code.

Our year began with an initiative to teach 2020 children in 2020, in North Carolina, California, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Alabama, Oregon, and Washington State. Those plans changed quickly with the onset of COVID-19 however, another situation arose very quickly, students across the United States were now having to do distance learning. The effects of the pandemic on our children, especially children of color and those from low-income families, are extreme. While most children come from a single income family, if the parent is furloughed, there is no disposable income to purchase a computer or device for the child to use for school. Hackathon Jr. received requests from parents of students who had attended an event asking for help in locating computers to give to students in need.

This was our opportunity to support the community with technology and education. Through no fault of the child's, their education was now disrupted. No computer meant falling behind and possibly having to redo the entire school year. We setup a nomination form on our website and teachers across the country nominated students in need of a computer to complete their schoolwork through distance learning.

Hackathon Jr. sent computers to children in Arizona, California, Nevada, North Carolina and Tennessee. These are some of the children Hackathon Jr. was able to support through this pandemic. We would like to thank all the educators that saw the need of a student in their class and nominated them to receive a laptop from Hackathon Jr. We appreciate all you are doing to ensure that these children get the education they deserve. You are our Heroes!!

Although we are unable to meet in person to host an event, Hackathon Jr. is launching a virtual event this summer. The Hackathon Jr. National Championship Coding Challenge, the winners of the previous Hackathon Jr. events will be invited to participate and compete with the winners from the following cities (Dayton, Nevada; Raleigh, North Carolina; Phoenix, Arizona; Tampa, Florida).

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The event will include a TedTalk presented by Larson Rivera, as well as instruction, virtual mentorship, and a team presentation. The one thing that will be different aside of the event being virtual is that the children will have one week to complete their prototype. They will collaborate with each other daily to work on their prototype, check-in for mentorship and ask questions. By the end of the week the teams will present their prototype and explain their code to a panel of judges.

Thank you to our panel of judges who have agreed to participate in this virtual event. Shannon T. Wilson (left) is a business savvy technologist with over 25 years of experience in higher education. In his current role as the VP of Application Engineering for the University of Phoenix he is responsible for both Academic and Marketing technologies.(center) Dr. Lilia Santiague currently serves as the Associate Dean of Instruction for Doctoral Education with the College of Doctoral Studies at the University of Phoenix. Dr. Lilia has worked in higher education for more than 15 years in the roles of Academic Advisor, Student Organization Advisor, College Counselor, Faculty, Researcher, Consultant, and Administrator. and (right) Joey Costa, CEO of The Tek, a Cyber Security firm that also provides I.T. Managed Services and Application Design.

2020 may have started off rough, but we are all in this together! The BLM has shed light on many of the disparities and inequalities that exist, but those same disparities are impacting our children through a lack of equity and access to resources for their education. Hackathon Jr. wants to even the playing field by providing engaging STEM education as well as computers to children in need, but we need your help. Support the kids in your community today by donating!

Thank you for your support - Team Hackathon Jr.

Dr. Rose, Deby, Katie & Neal

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