Newsletter – March 2021

Hope IT students's web page in   WordpPress
Olivia’s WordPress Home web page

Hope IT is hopeful, navigating through the new realities with the COVID virus.  We want to share why.  Here’s an interesting story about a Hope IT student in the last few months.

Olivia is 16, and a junior at Hoover High school in Glendale.  Rev. Jim Milley from Bridges, a non-profit Christian based organization, referred her to us.

Olivia came to Hope IT at a difficult period with her family.  Rev. Jim thought Hope IT could provide her some technical skills.  The timing was right, as we were starting our October WordPress course, teaching how to create web sites.  Olivia joined, and did very well.  (See a sample of her work at the top of this newsletter.)  Rev. Jim hired her to work on the Bridges WordPress site.  While Bridges uses different WordPress Themes and Plugins shown in the course, Olivia understood the concepts and adapted.  She said the skills she learned in the Hope IT WordPress course enabled her to be effective this job.

This is what Hope IT wants.  We were thrilled with the immediate success of our student.  Then came another idea:  If she is this good, could she teach WordPress to other kids?  More broadly, can Hope IT teach and enable kids to teach other kids?

God provided such an opportunity.  Hope IT also was teaching a WordPress course with Stars in Pasadena (an afternoon mentoring and tutoring program) last Fall, and they wanted another WordPress course in the Winter.  They were open to have Olivia co-teach with me.  And so she did.  For six weeks on Wednesday nights, Olivia and I taught 3 Stars students WordPress; two of these students were girls.  Was it perfect?  No.  Do we have ideas how to make this better in the future?  Definitely.

On top of this, Hope IT paid Olivia to teach.  We do not have a motivation structure in place yet.  Olivia in fact took us by surprise.  She is so able.  So our motivation for her to teach was to pay her $13 per hour for this course, including five hours of preparation and debriefing time.  Worth every penny.  And we partnered with Bridges to make this happen, having them handle the taxes and other details with Olivia’s work permit.  We are sure this will increase Olivia’s confidence going forward.

Olivia wants to get into the medical field when she goes to college.  I also work for a hospital, and we have a ton of data.  She has finished our Data Analysis course in February (see one of her dashboards using Google Data Studio at the bottom of this email), and is also taking college courses.  True, she is exceptional, but we will seek the spark in any kid.  Hope IT is there for kids who have the ability, but just need those key times to gain skills and opportunities, and encouragement.

You may also notice the side story of partnership going on with Hope IT; that is key for us.  Again, Hope IT is focused on underserved kids in the Pasadena area, to give them access to IT/computer skills, as well as to IT professionals.

Please pray for our students and our Hope IT team.  God shows the way.

–Mike Veerman
Hope IT team lead

Hope IT student Data Studio dashboard
Olivia’s dashboard created in Data Studio