Nickerson Gardens held its first day-long Hackathon, where one hundred (100) children spent the afternoon designing phone apps and websites to help improve their community. The winning entry was the website Feed Watts, where one could add the date of a food drive or giveaway. Other entries included a phone app that combined pictures with geolocation to let residents report trash and broken streetlights. Another, Green Team, turned volunteering into a game where participants could earn points to spend on rewards such as gift certificates.
Sponsored by the nonprofit UrbanTXT, Hustle & Code lasted the entire day with breaks for food and raffles of prizes from Google-branded water bottles to BMX bicycles. Oscar Menjivar, founder of UrbanTXT, said his objective was to expose Watts youths to a technology career.
“Who wants to make $150,000 a year?” he asked the gym at the start of the Hackathon. “With the skills you learn here, you can pursue a career in Computer Science!”
Under the guidance of tech-savvy volunteers from Google to the radio station KPCC, groups of four spent an hour coming up with ideas to improve Nickerson Gardens, and then began coding to make them a reality. The hackathon culminated in the presentation by the three top teams, where they pitched their ideas to the auditorium full of parents, developers, and volunteers.
We would like to congratulate all the participants and hope that their newfound skills in app and web development will take them into career fields previously unknown to them.