2022-23 – A School Year of Increase – August 2023

3 students at the Solving Mazes with Python course in June.

Hope IT is thankful to God, our students, our partners, and for your supportive prayers and gifts. In this update, we highlight the June course, and review how the last 2022-23 school-year went.

June course:

In June, Hope IT had a Maze Solving course using the Python programming language. See more details about the course at this link.  Below are the highlights of this course in June:

  • 3 students from the Door of Hope started the course, and 1 student finished. These 3 young men were 17 to 20 years old.
  • All 3 were returning students from other courses this year. 2 of them took 3 courses this year with Hope IT; these 2 students are moving out of the Los Angeles area, so we had to say good-bye to them.
  • Each week we used better approaches to solve the maze, from randomly moving around, to not repeating steps just taken (going back and forth aimlessly), to using the right-hand rule to solve mazes (which almost works well.) The screenshot below shows a sample of the virtual robot in the maze.
    This is the second time Hope IT taught this course. The last time we taught this was back in February 2020 (before COVID).
  • We covered many situations where we developed and altered code, making and fixing mistakes and learning to be a programmer solving a problem with some complexity. We showed why grit is necessary for programming.
  • Both pictures above and below are from this course.

End of the 2022-23 School Year in Review:

  • Partnership luncheon:

    • Looking back at our partner lunch in September 2022 we re-newed our connections with long-standing partners, and even new ones.
    • The staff at our partners continues to change, so connecting with them in-person last Fall was so key.
    • Those connections built successful courses, with students gaining skills and opportunities.
  • Students:

    • We had a total 21 students attend out 5 courses. As a comparison, the previous school year we had 4 students in 3 courses.
    • As we mentioned above, 2 of our most consistent students (older, 16 year olds) are moving out of the Los Angeles area, so we will only have limited connection with them via on-line courses; this coming school year will be their senior year of high school. This also means, we need to bring in a whole new set of students this next upcoming school year.
  • Courses:

    • We had 5 courses this year, more than our usual 3 courses per year.
    • We had in-person courses again (4 of the 5 were in-person), which brought out our energy out more as we taught and led the courses.
    • 2 courses were dedicated to just our partners students, at Stars and the Door of Hope.
    • We had a brand new Robotics course, and we taught it twice this school year. It was a big success, gaining the excitement of kids and partners.
    • Our Roblox course had 9 energetic 4th and 5th graders, the most students we ever had in a course. It was a learning curve for our team, for sure.
  • Internship was a success:

    • One of our students successfully completed the paid internship. He is a 17 year old high school junior. We are very proud of him.
    • This not only gets this student very far in opening new opportunities, but the Hope IT team gained experience, to prepare and guide other students through internships.
    • This internship was with our partner, Bridges, working on the Bridges website. We are so thankful to Bridges.
    • The internship was 20 paid hours of remote work, to create a better format on a web page, to present all their Bridge leaders. The student had to show a few prototypes, for Bridges to decide which to use.
    • The Hope IT student used his acquired WordPress skills from the October Hope IT course, to work on the Bridges website. These skills are need to expand and adapt, as Bridges uses the Divi framework rather than the Elementor framework used in the Hope IT WordPress course. (Both are very popular in the industry.)
    • Soft skills the student gained includes how to be ready and on-time for on-line meetings, and making presentations to the boss, and how to interact with people at work. We got very positive feedback about him.
  • More funding, more equipment:

    • Hope IT received 60% more funding this school year, from our usual $1,000 to $1,600 this year.
    • With the extra funding, Hope IT purchased 2 more laptops, so we now have a base of 5 laptops for our courses, permitting us to have more students.
    • This summer, a couple also gifted Hope IT 2 older laptops, so we expanded further, from 5 laptops to 7 laptops.
    • The extra funding allowed us to have a paid internship!!
    • The funding also allows Hope IT to have Robotics kits ($30 each), so that we give kits to the students at the end of the course; great to see the student’s faces when they realize they get their own kit to use after class.
  • Hope IT team changes

    • 2 long-term team members had to leave our team. They had been with us for 5 years each.
    • Hope IT gained 2 new team members; we are grateful.
    • We had 2 high-school volunteers to assist us with our April Robotics course. It gives our students even more attention, to ensure everyone is staying on track, and can ask questions. These young volunteers also serve as role models.

You can see God has blessed our students, our Hope IT team, and our efforts this last school year. Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement.

Working with underserved students is a privilege, a blessing, and challenging. Admittedly, we at times are challenged, and the going gets tough. We look to God for direction and hope, and point to some successes as making all the effort worth it.

We are looking forward to similar increases this upcoming school year, God willing.

–Mike Veerman
Hope IT team lead

Reviewing the Python code together.
Screen shot of a maze, with the virtual robot needing to find the exit (door).