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Since Hack Reactor grad Tyson Daugherty founded Mission Bit, a nonprofit that teaches technical skills to high schoolers, Hack Reactor and Mission Bit have been frequent collaborators on community-focused projects. Recently, the two organizations teamed up to teach free introductory coding courses to high school seniors from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds. The month-long, afterschool course used the curriculum from our beginner’s class, Reactor Prep. It was attended by 40 high school seniors across three San Francisco locations and taught by four Hack Reactor alumni, who volunteered their time.
Mission Local reported on the course, noting that its goal was “to make a career in tech a possibility for those students who want it, but do not have the means or resources to pursue it on their own.” This round completed in March, and we are in talks to offer Reactor Prep to a new group of high schoolers.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been exposed to coding, and I was skeptical at first because I was told that computer science is challenging,” Giselle Aguoyo, a senior at John O’Connell High School, told Mission Local. “It’s not what I expected at all, it’s fun. I wish this was part of the curriculum in my school.”
The course was made possible through the combined efforts of a number of groups and individuals. In addition to Hack Reactor and Mission Bit, the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) provided space and resources for the course. MEDA, which focuses on providing community, skills and resources to Latinos in San Francisco’s Mission area, has a handful of students who are now interested in attending Hack Reactor. Hack Reactor alumni Preethi Kasireddy, Rick Avendano, Erik Brown and Tad Whitaker generously volunteered their weekday evenings for a month to teach these courses.
“There is a sense of urgency around [technology] jobs,” Mission Bit CEO Stevon Cook noted. “There’s a huge affordability and income inequality issue in the city and these jobs are high paying — putting them in the hands of the communities that we serve gives them an opportunity to earn those salaries and afford to live in this city as well.”
We are always on the lookout for opportunities to use our industry-leading curriculum to benefit underprivileged and underrepresented people and communities. This work extends from our neighbors in San Francisco, to our work with The Last Mile at San Quentin State Prison, to our partnership with the Moringa School in Kenya. Our values are also reflected by our connection to partner school Telegraph Academy, focused on increasing diversity in tech, and Operation Spark, a program in our extended network focused on teaching marketable skills to disconnected youth in New Orleans. If your organization is interested in working with us to make an impact, get in touch with us here.