The URBAN TxT (urban Teens eXploring Technology) program seeks inner-city south L.A. students from 7th to 11th grade with an interest in technology and exploring more about. Many of these kids have parents who didn't attend college or even graduate high school. The URBAN TxT program has been incredibly successful. Each of the 15-week summer terms start with an intensive course in team and leadership building.
What Ive found so fascinating is that the tech is just a tool to turn our teens into the leaders we know they can be, Juan Vasquez, technology mentor at URBAN Txt, says. Its not really about the tech. Its about how we get these kids to understand that they can go out and eat up this world how we can tell kids youre meant to succeed youre built to succeed.
Some of the final projects students have created are: L.A. Volunteers, a sort of Match.com for teens who need volunteering hours for high school graduation credits and local charities and nonprofits, who need help and SAT Fighter (which students built using MIT App Inventor), a ninja-fighting game that helps teens prepare for their SAT tests.
Students of the program present their projects to everyone participating in a final demo day where they can win up to $3000 in prizes.
Just seeing the hunger he has to compete in the world thats what I want every kid to have, Vasquez says.