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Hack the Hood’s Youth Coders

technology youth hack the hood coding kids

I got to know Susan Mernit’s technology bent when I shot occasional photos for Oakland Local’s urban planning stories. After wrapping short films for the online news site’s OakTech series, I began hearing about programs to help kids code. Susan and partners went on to found the lean startup Hack the Hood. The young initiative aims to train low-income youth of color in marketing and technology skills.

Last summer, I filmed their graduation event at the Impact HUB in Oakland. Hackers had just completed a Boot Camp, building websites for small businesses in Oakland who could use the visibility. It was a party. Families, educators, techies, policymakers gathered together to learn and to cheer. Since then, Hack the Hood has expanded across campuses and cities from Oakland to Richmond, San Francisco and East Palo Alto.

“We’re so thrilled to work with such amazing organizations who really know their community inside out the way we know Oakland. That is critically important for success,” said Zakiya Harris, Co-founder and Chief Education Officer of Hack the Hood. “Together with our partners, Hack the Hood will extend our boot camps, programs, and alumni networks to introduce 150 low-income youth to careers in tech and give them the confidence and connections to seek further education and training.”

Among the skills youth learn at summer Boot Camp (from the Hack the Hood site):

Technical Skills

  • How to build a website from scratch
  • How to make sure your website shows up on Google (Search Engine Optimization)
  • How to get a business listed online on Google Business Listings, Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc.
  • How to find out who’s looking at your website
  • How to promote a small business using social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Professional Skills

  • Customer Service
  • Project Management
  • Time Management
  • Job Search and Resume Writing
  • Networking

Leadership and Soft Skills

  • Communication Skills
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Professionalism
  • Problem Solving

(Photo: Flickr, Hack the Hood)



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