#HackForChange : Inspiring Students To Thrive By Positive Social Connections

I hope your Monday is going well.  I’m pretty excited to share my experience in HackForChange this weekend.   It was a great weekend of coding to address civic challenges.

What’s the problem?


What did we build?

You can review our prototype and needs analysis at this link.  It was great to collaborate with our team from Mercer Engineering Research Center and Christopher Marney.

I want to say a special thank you to Chris.   He’s a very gifted developer, business leader, and maker.   While our prototype had some major challenges, he helped me keep a cool head so that we could be ready to demo on Sunday.   It was so much fun hacking with him.

Link to prototype: Changella


I would like to improve the model we’ve prototyped.  Our model involved four stages.

1) Finding Strengths and Passions.

2) Dream about a positive future for the student.

3) Designing a plan to work toward the dream.   (business plan and marketing plan)

4) Doing the plan using validated learning ( see Lean Startup )

We especially want to target “at risk” students who are not inspired to finish high school. We want to give them inspiration, mentorship, resources to help them get to the finish line of high school.  We want them to know that they can create their own opportunities. They can create their own jobs.

I feel that I need to reach out especially to Boys and Girls clubs and “Mentors of Bibb County” to see how this tool can contribute to their mission.

I would love to hear your feedback.   I would like to know what you feel is strong in our prototype and our needs analysis.  I know it needs a lot of organization and work before it can hit the road.   The core idea that needs feedback is the following: Can a social network to mentor high school student entrepreneurs to dream, design, make, learn, and continuously grow help?

The success of this idea rides on the quality of the mentors. Making the site attractive to teens and marketing it is also important. Access to the technology is also a consideration. (smart phones, computers)

Can we inspire “at risk” students by connecting them with positive social relationships and mentors?


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