On November 14, 2014 technologists, developers, designers, community leaders, policy experts, parents, and more gathered in Philadelphia for the first My Brother’s Keeper Hackathon #MBKHack.
The event, powered by Qeyno Labs, and sponsored by #YesWeCode, MSNBC, Google, Comcast, Salesforce, Essence Maganzine, Code Black Films, and other partners was developed to build tech-enabled solutions that support the goals of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK):
- Ensuring all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready
- Ensuring all children read at grade level by 3rd grade
- Ensuring all youth graduate from high school
- Ensuring all youth complete post-secondary education or training
- Ensuring all youth out of school are employed
- Ensuring all youth remain safe from violent crime
This was also a step in the right direction to improve diversity in and access to the tech community.
I traveled from D.C. to attend the three-day event as a mentor. It was worth the trip.
Trailblazers (boys and girls aged 12-18) pitched their ideas on Friday evening. The top ideas were voted on, teams were formed, solutions (web applications) were built, and pitched to judges on Sunday afternoon.
As a mentor, I assisted the trailblazers in building their solution and refining the concept. However, ALL the ideas came from the trailblazers, and – for my team at least – ALL the coding was done by them as well.
The trailblazers on my team developed a web app – BodyBuddy – to educate users on medical emergencies before going to the ER.
For many of the trailblazers, this was their first experience with coding, product development, ideation, and pitching in a competition. The #MBKHack winners built awesome products, but all of the participants were incredible. Many of them will be launching business after the event!
Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced a My Brother’s Keeper – Millennial Entrepreneurship Program. This will great opportunity for the #MBKHack teams to build their businesses.
Congrats to the winners, Qeyno Labs, and sponsors! Check out the full recap below: