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Hope IT is a Christian-based effort showing God’s love and hope to underserved kids in Pasadena by gaining IT/computer skills.

Our Mindset:

God loves us: God’s love and hope is most important.  Yes, education and good jobs are nice, but that is not enough.  Knowing this, Hope IT reminds kids that God has been in all of our lives, in our past, right now in our present, and God intends a good future for us.  All of us.  That is an important message for our kids to hear, internalize, and believe that for themselves.  We simply do this by praying before each of our course sessions.  At the end of each session, we have a short Scriptural reflection.  We also send this message in a non-verbal way, making sure our space for our courses is welcoming.  We take care to make sure our students are emotionally and physically safe.  Also, the pace of the topics in our courses are geared for beginners.

Goal: Our goal is for kids in Hope IT, after high school, be able to decide to go straight in to an IT job, or go to college, with a variety of technical, leadership, service skills and experiences. Read our initial ideas; they will evolve as we learn what works best.

Our People:

Kids: Kids coming to Hope IT courses are the underserved.  They usually do not focus on IT topics.  They usually do not interact with professionals in the IT industry.  Kids in Hope IT courses are coming from local churches in Northwest Pasadena, from foster group homes, or in organizations serving families experiencing homelessness, and the like.  Hope IT’s aim is to start with kids between the ages of 11 or 13.  The advantage of starting at a young age is give them time to gain skills and confidence.  Over time, as they come to more Hope IT courses, they will gain IT skills and concepts.

Team of Volunteers: All Hope IT team members are volunteers. Most of us have many years of working in the IT industry.  Bringing our knowledge and experiences, we can guide kids to learn and explore, as well as allow them to chart their own path.  Our ratio of team members to kids is more that 1:1.  When we had in-person courses (pre-COVID), we have more Hope IT team members than students at our courses.  Now in COVID, on-line courses, we have a ratio of one or 2 instructors to 4 kids.

Our Structure:

Courses: We have offered a number of courses, at no cost, starting back in 2018.  Hope IT tries to create courses that are fun and introductions to large IT topics.  We have 3 courses per school year, in October, February and June.  Each course is 4 weeks, meeting on Saturday mornings, for usually 2 hours each session.  Our courses have had 3 to 8 students in them.  This is our main approach to allow underserved kids to gain IT and computer skills

Partnership: Hope IT highly values partnerships, with local groups and organizations, be it tutoring programs and churches, or large and small businesses and non-profits.  Kids from a number of partners in the Pasadena area have attend our courses.  Eventually, Hope IT look to create relationships with companies; we hope create opportunities for tours, as well as internships and jobs for kids going through our program.

Knox Support: Hope IT is in a 2 year incubation period with Knox Presbyterian Church in Pasadena.  We are grateful that Knox provides rooms for our courses, liability insurance for our students and team members, background checks of our team members, and well as financial support.

underserved kids IT and computer skills
Cameras built from Raspyberry Pis in 2019 course

Wanted: Volunteers

Here are some ways you can be part of the team in right now:

  • Become a team member: The effort also includes forming our curriculum, guiding and mentoring students, helping build our team, working with our partners to see what fits best for a particular situation.
  • Become a Technical Coach (Instructor): We need topic experts, who like to share and work with kids.
  • Help promote our effort: This includes creating and maintaining a Facebook page and other outward facing information streams. Follow up on contacts we get that are interested in helping out or partnering with Hope IT.
  • Help organize events and trips: We can visit JPL, go to hack-a-thons, Maker Fairs, and companies (visit their server rooms…does anyone have those anymore?)
  • Be a company liaison, opening opportunities for kids to have internships or actual Jobs. We will only send out best kids to these opportunities…but they need those opportunities and access to our networks/connections.
  • You would like Hope IT to partner with your organization/church: We are just starting, but we can listen if you think we should partner with you. Do contact us.

If you are interested in being part of this effort, contact us and let us know!

About

Summary

This summary explains the core ideas and influences of Hope IT, which goal is to provide an Christian-based environment where children from North West Pasadena can learn how to be computer programmers and other IT professionals. It is a synthesis of disciplines and goals from Christian faith, preventing gun violence and watching my son Peter become an excellent computer programmer and leader in Boy Scouts and Homeschooling.

  1. In Preventing Gun Violence, Father Greg Boyle, founder of HomeBoy Bakery, says it best: “Nothing stops a bullet like a job”. After working with the Pasadena Gun Buy Back and Sculpture for Peace, it has become clear that many in our poorer parts of Pasadena just lack a clear path to obtaining great jobs.
  2. Seeing my son go through the Boy Scout program, I watch how young boys mentor others, become leaders, and chart their own directions. My son’s Homeschooling experience has been amazing to see how much a child can learn on their own without an established curriculum. The Homeschooling approach allows a student to go as slow as they need, or as fast as they want, and has the flexibility for a variety of deep subject-matter learning.
  3. Faith is so important as the glue to the entire endeavor. Technology should not be viewed as the savior to children. Jesus is the Savior. Beginning to benefit and function in this loving and servant-oriented program, the children will begin to also see this importance. They will begin mentor in a loving matter to younger children and be a part of service project to Pasadena faith-groups and possible international trips.

The three main emphases to Hope IT are:

  1. Access
    • Access to computers and the Internet (some kids have neither at home)
    • Access to IT professionals (to gain encouragement, tips and advice)
    • Access to the IT professionals people networks (for Internships and Jobs.)
  2. Leadership
  3. Service

Details

  1. Pasadena is actively attempting to become one of the next Silicon Valley. It’s renovating buildings in Old Town to create an attractive environment for tech companies to setup shop. With this in mind, it would be a shame for North West Pasadena to not be fully engaged in all the new jobs and internships opportunities.
  2. Like Boy Scouts, we will start with 11 year old. They are very impressionable and open to learn. We will provide mentoring when they need it. As they get experience, they will begin to mentor other children new to the technology. This gives the new children mentorship, and the older ones higher confidence. In Scouting, 11 year old children listen to 13 year olds, and 13 year olds listen to 15 year olds. We want to create this same sort of dynamic, where the adult really do not need to provide much one-on-one guidance.
  3. We are looking to engage both the African-American and Latino community in North West Pasadena. We want to find a location that works for both of them, even if that means we have multiple locations in that section of the city.
  4. We are looking to build a safe and quiet place to learn. We are not geared to help with homework for school, but I know our influence will make the children we work with amazing students. They will create programs to help themselves be better students for their regular school courses.
  5. Girls are very much welcomed in this program. I have 2 girls, and they are able to learn like any boy. However, programming is dominated by males, and young boys in our inner city need positive interaction with adult males. This is just one nice dove-tailing of this subject matter, and the socio-economic dynamic of North West Pasadena that can especially benefit young boys.
  6. This program is run by volunteers. We will need many adult mentors. Each adult does not need to know how to program. My main message to my son was “I don’t know”. Eventually, he figured it out himself. We just need those who can encourage children. We do need a core of programmers who can oversee the direction of the program. Volunteers have to be screened for child-abuse through some kind of national screening system that we should connect with.
  7. We will provide a curriculum for those that need it. TreeHouse (see references below) may be our first start. There are plenty of set subject matter programs out there. However, learning how to program is constant, flexible learning style, so a set curriculum will just succeed in boring both the instructor and the student.
  8. We need many grants to start. There are plenty of grants that provided funds just for this type of project. We will need funds to start up, get computers, internet access, to pay rent and utilities (like air conditioning). Hope IT will start with a fiscal sponsorship, to get off the ground and have a taxable donation base. In the near future, it will be determined if it should and can become a non-profit.
  9. We will need lots of partners, both in the community and business partners. The community can help with logistics and sending out the message of what Hope IT offers. The business partners can provide old (from their perspective) computers, and give tours, or allow a few internships to our best children.
  10. Twice a year we would like to have Hope IT banquets, where the families create a potluck meal. This will serve as a good environment to meet the parents of the children and their entire family. These are also spaces to allow the children to present what they have worked on, and give out some awards for those working on projects or had leadership positions that year. We can also announce teams that will work on summer projects, and gather enthusiasm for that effort.
  11. Projects can received from community churches and other faith-based organizations. These can include building web site, fixing computer problems, or creating custom applications. Projects are done as a team. Those with more experience can be invited to play roles in a project. At the beginning, our professional programmer will be the managers and team leads. As time goes by and the children get more experienced, they will have some of the team lead roles. They will be responsible for managing the effort and the team to get the project done.
  12. We want to provide two week trips to other parts of the US or other countries. Once the children in Hope IT get very experienced, they can teach other children. My son and I went to Malawi Africa to teach how to build web sites in 3 different locations. We can do something similar here. We can bring those who can speak Spanish to Spanish speaking countries. Those who only speak English, we can go to Jamaica or other places.
  13. Hope IT can expand for summer programs, reaching many children that cannot come during the school year. We can organize and welcome college students who want to work for a summer mission to help with our summer program. Both the children and the college students will get a rich experience.
  14. College can be reached by some children going through the Hope IT program. They would have high skills, high confidence, plenty of leadership and service experience, and fit in nicely with all the admissions urging students of color to apply.
  15. Software applications can only be better if all of the people are involved and connected. I truly believe our children from North West Pasadena imagine and build innovative applications that many will benefit form world-wide.
  16. Given 10 years at this effort, I believe the program will run itself. Some leaving the program and entering college may choose to come back and help run the program. That will be both a strong encouragement and “selling” point that young children and their parents will choose to participate.

Blog

Partnering with Stars to offer another WordPress course in Fall 2020

Hope IT was glad to partner with Stars, offering a 6-week course in WordPress, a web site building tool.   Stars for more than 20 years has been caring for underserved kids in Pasadena, offering tutoring, mentoring, and many other efforts.  Hope IT adapted our on-line WordPress course to fit Star’s scheduling, offering their high schoolers …

Contact

If you need to contact us for more information, please email at the below email address:

Info@HopeIT.net