- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Twice a year we would like to have an 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
We are not blindly hopeful that this idea will be a reality. There are plenty of doubts that this idea can succeed.
- How do you stop affluent parents from enrolling their children in this program? Affluent parents are very aggressive in a finding programs that will help their children to advance. They will quickly realize the value of this program, and flood our doors Hope IT is only for North West Pasadena children.
- Where will Hope IT be located? How does one transport children to where our locations are?
- How much do you charge each child to enter the program? The charge will not cover the cost of operating the program. This brings us to the next question: How long can we live off grants?