Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. helps schools and groups host one day hacking events for kids to work with local non-profit groups.
Kids work with local non-profit groups to identify how software might help these groups achieve their mission. Kids with little or no exposure to programming work with mentors to learn how software is created. Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. events help raise the consciousness of kids, non-profits, and people in their communities.
The founder of Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr., Patrice Gans, was inspired by her experience with a hackathon for adults sponsored by Random Hacks of Kindness. “The hackathon wasn’t about landing a job,” Gans says, “It was about helping people.”
Instead of improving skills and gaining exposure, the adult hackathon reflected the Random Hacks of Kindness goal of creating a self-sustaining global community of innovators building practical open technology for a better world, and to ensure their work creates impact in society.
While Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. is not affiliated with the Random Hacks of Kindness organization for adults, the spirit is the same for children. Instead of solving problems by creating complete software, the goal of the adult hackathons, kids, local non-profits, mentors, and communities design and build prototype apps to gain awareness of how technology can help solve local problems.
Patrice Gans held her first Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. event while a teacher at Fraser Woods Montessori School in Newtown, Connecticut. She started teaching computer science and programming after a career as a programmer and earning a Masters degree in Computer Science.
At this first event, Gans says, “The kids spent the morning talking with each non-profit group and brainstorming ideas for applications to help solve their problems, then spent the afternoon developing their ideas into an application. Everyone had a lot of fun.”
The ideas for Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. evolved based on this first event at Fraser Woods. “Our mission is is to empower students to use technology for social good and positively impact the challenges facing local non-profits in their communities,” Gans explains. “We do this by hosting a one-day hackathon where students in 4th-8th grade are paired with computer science mentors and nonprofit representatives to develop prototype smartphone apps for local charities.”
What makes a RHoK Jr hackathon different than the average hackathon is that the young participants get to work directly with local community organizations. Together with their mentors, the groups of students work to create solutions to problems that non-profits can solve with the use of technology. For example, at a recent event at Trinity College, students created an app called the A.F.O.C.GPS Locator App for the animal rescue organization Animal Friends of CT. Students have also created apps for Hartford Habitat for Humanity, Ebony Horsewomen, Bens Bells of Newtown and the Ferret Association of CT.
Any school or group can work with Patrice and the Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. team to create their own one-day hackathon to benefit local kids, non-profits, and communities.
In order to host an event, groups need to provide a venue that will hold a minimum of 80 people that includes wifi and food for the participants. Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. can use their connections and expertise to suggest mentors, non-profits, donations, and participants.
As a non-profit, Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. also accepts donations to help the group help local schools and groups set up and promote their events.
Patrice Gans is optimistic about the future of Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. “My journey originally began with the search for the perfect experience for my students, something that would inspire them while providing a challenging and fun introduction to the power of computer science. At the same time, I wondered if elementary students would give up a Saturday and spend it indoors, working with strangers to help others? I am thrilled to say the answer is yes! By the end of the event at Westover School this May 2015, close to 200 students, 40 mentors and 30 charities will have participated.”
If you’re interested to host or participate in a Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr. event, visit their website link below.
Random Hacks of Kindness, Jr.
Also In The August 2015 Issue
The Internet of Things (IoT) connects dumb devices like refrigerators to the internet and uses software to connect them to our daily lives.
There are many operating systems for internet of things devices, from existing software used to control electronic boards to efforts by Google and Apple.
Disney Infinity 3.0, Rocket League, and Super Mario Maker are three fun video games to consider for the 2015 holiday season
You can learn a little software programming and have lots of fun with any number of coding apps available for your phone or tablet computer.
Operating system software is a key part of all computers. But what are they and how do they work?
Working through a book can help parents learn programming with their kids or kids learn on their own.
Board games and card games are some of the best ways to learn about programming. You don't need a computer. Play as a family or group.
These robots also can be programmed to move around rooms, one way for kids to learn programming.
Six women were hired to use their math skills to program the ENIAC computer. They called themselves The First Programmers Club.
Nicky is a Linguistics major who learned coding skills to further her research. She's also finished a PhD, won a few big awards, and co-founded Grok Learning.
Two women created an innovative online service to teach teenage girls how to code by using video.
The new Rust programming language is designed to solve problems with operating systems and fix issues with C and other languages.
Data can become alive and pose questions as well as reveal answers to questions we have.
Links from the bottom of all the articles in this issue, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.
DRY is an acronym for Don't Repeat Yourself. It's a critical programming concept and skill to learn.
Interesting news stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for August and September 2015.
CoderDojo is a free after school club for kids ages 7-17 where kids, parents, mentors, and others play with technology and learn to code.