Challenges, COVID and Continuing – June 2022

The past couple of months has been challenging for Hope IT. COVID makes it difficult to maintain contact with kids and volunteers, and Zoom, while a great tool, is not the same as meeting in person.

We had a Roblox course planned and ready for June. It’s a fun course for creating games, which are popular with young kids today. It allows students to learn how to create the games and do some programming as well. (See 2 screen shots of what creating a game in Roblox looks like below.) We intended this to be an in-person course. We took a chance when Covid was at a low, but got no sign ups. There are also challenges with our partner organizations. We will continue to try.

Underserved kids need extra help to transition to the job market. Few of them can avail themselves of “take your child to work day” to see what the work world is actually like, which in turn results in a serious case of culture shock when they are first exposed to it.

To help with this, we look for internship opportunities and found one at Bridges, one of our partner organizations. This opportunity was for WordPress (web sites) remote work, and paid $16/hour for up to 4 weeks. After a lot of searching for applicants, we found a 16 year old in a foster group home. He was very successful in our WordPress course. He filled out an application and went through an interview with Hope IT. We talked about overcoming challenges, maintaining trust, and how to solve problems. We were all set. Except, when it was time to start the internship, we could not reach our student. After 3 weeks, we finally talked again – mind you, all on-line – and the student finally decided not to pursue the internship. We intend to review this with some youth leaders (more about this below.) We will learn and try again.

We are also planning to talk directly to youth leaders. We will have a lunch gathering in September. One topic we plan to discuss is how to maintain the relationship with the students and keep enthusiasm alive. As I have heard, Hope IT is not the only group seeing youth decline when opportunities arise. We think this time will help us work together going forward. It’s a time for the youth leaders to see what a job in the IT industry can bring to a student. We have to figure out how to sustain the students’ motivation and ease the transitions. We are confident we can do this, but we will have to work hard to make it easy for the kids. This is not trivial.

Our next course is also intended to be in-person…learning the basics in Robotics. (See a preview picture of the Robotics kits below). We love it. I hope the students do as well.

We will give you another update in the Fall.

We know our God does not quit. We are motivated by what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, “Love bears all things, believe all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” We will continue to learn, and try better efforts. Our students can overcome these challenges.

–Mike Veerman
Hope IT team lead

Create games with Roblox Studio
Sample of creating a game in Roblox studio