Partner’s luncheon / Robotics course – Nov. 2023

Week 3 in the Robotics course

Hope IT is grateful to share with you how our Partner’s Luncheon went in September, and our Robotics course in October.  We are also active in preparing for 3 courses coming up in January, February, and March.

Partner’s Luncheon in September:

Hope IT hosted a luncheon for our partners.  This is an excellent opportunity for the Hope IT team to connect with leaders, when we are not laser focused on students.  This gathering is one way for Hope IT to thank the leaders at our partner organizations for both what they do week in and week out for their youth, and for connecting with Hope IT.  We were so engaged, we did not get a picture.  Below is a summary of our time.

  • 8 folks were at the luncheon.
    • 4 members of the Hope IT team
    • 2 members of the 2 partners below.
  • We got to reflect on the impact of students from last school year.  These stories were told by the partners themselves.  These stories highlight how each organization and Hope IT are making an impact on a few students, which motivates us all to continue.
  • We reviewed the Hope IT courses planned for this school year.  Hope IT got to explain how each of these courses connect to learning, increasing confidence for students in the tech field, and how these course connect to real IT jobs.  We got to give brief demos of the content of each course.
  • We met at Knox Presbyterian Church, where our in-person courses are held.  This gives our partners a solid idea of the environment their students will be coming to…a safe, spacious, quiet, and welcoming space.  (We are thankful to our partners at Knox Presbyterian Church!!)
  • We had some time to answer questions.  One key question was, with all the IT layoffs, are IT jobs still worth pursuing.  The Hope IT team gave a responding answer of “Yes”, as IT skills cross over in so many areas, and having IT skills are very marketable.  All jobs are changing, and you can adapt better with IT skills.

Robotics course completed:

We had 3 students come to the Robotics course.  We always have fun with this course, and it is a great way to connect with new students, and have them work on something new.  Here are some key highlights.

  • These 3 students came from 2 organizations:
    • Sycamores: It has been a few years since Hope IT had a student from Sycamores, the foster group home for boys in Altadena.  We are so grateful to have students from Sycamore again.
    • Thrive Learning Lab of NW Pasadena: This is a new partner for Hope IT !!  We had 2 students from this group.  This partner is an after-school program, and also faith-based.  We look forward to continued students from Thrive Learning Lab!
    • These students are at the perfect age to be old enough to handle complex IT topics, and young enough to have time to learn.  They are all freshmen and sophmores in high school.
    • It is always precious to meet new students, and hear what they are going through, and see what makes them intrigued, engaged, and yes, bored.  We hear a little of what is going on in their why one student is on crutches…falling off his scooter…and that he may have surgery.
  • The challenging aspect of this Robotic course was, as the pictures above shows, the students were not at the sessions at the same time.  Some missed one of the 4 sessions.  Some had to leave early; others came late.  Our team had to juggle and customize the lessons, to get students caught up and re-teach what other students already covered.  No dull moments at a Hope IT course!!
  • On the last Saturday of the course, 2 of the 3 regular team members could not make it.  Our Hope IT team…and our extended friends…is large enough to continue the course…by filling in…opening the doors…handing over the equipment for the course…and finishing in strong fashion.  What a team!!

Upcoming courses:

Normally, the Hope IT team would have a break at this time of the year.  This school year, we are planning for more courses.  So we are busy meeting to prepare lesson plans, and cover with some of us cannot be there.  Here is what is coming up:

  • January: Data Analysis course:  Working with data is a red, red hot hot skill in IT…emphasis intended!!  This is a great way to learn about pulling in data into dashboards, and how to present the data accurately in grids and charts that others can quickly grasp what is going on.  This is an on-line course, so students anywhere can join in.
  • February – WordPress course: This course shows how to create and maintain websites, using WordPress.  As COVID was so long, this course is the most taught course that Hope IT has, so this is a tried and true course for us.  On the end of this course, Hope IT with our partners at Bridges, offer a paid internship for one student that take this course.  We are thrilled that the internship last school year worked out so well for one student.
  • March – SQL/Database course: This is our first Intermediate course.  This topic is not taught in high school.  Knowing databases and the SQL language is a direct skill that IT programmers use.  I have used SQL for 25+ years.  This course will allow students to begin to have job-ready skills.

Monthly “Check-in” times:

Lastly, Hope IT remains connected to our students from last year.  There are 2 key students that attended almost all of our courses last year.  However, they moved far away from the LA area over the summer.  They are in new schools now.  They are seniors in high school this year.  Hope IT is creating monthly “check-in” times for us to stay connected, offer encouragement, and keep the relationship going…growing.  Hope IT team is experimenting with these times, to have the students join all at the same time, and probably encourage each other.  We are touched by these times, and our students are so appreciative of staying connected.  Below is what we chatted about in our last gathering this month:

  • We talked about IT/programming courses they are taking in high school or community college, as well as their art classes.
  • The conversation came to discuss why a debate course could really help one learn how to defend one’s ideas.
  • We also touch quickly on their college admission work….key time for that!

We know God is looking for faithfulness.  Hope IT is not a resounding, shining example of success.  We keep at it.  Thank you for your support, and prayers.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and Spirit-filled Christmas.

–Mike Veerman
Hope IT team lead