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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Low-Income California Students Commended for Designing SafeBlok App That Will Help Teens Avoid Local Violence


The press has had a field day recently pointing out how Jesse Jackson and others feel about the lack of opportunities for minorities in the technology industry. Jesse has been known to make a point that there is technology talent among minorities, and a new school program proves just how accurate his viewpoint is.

Low-income youths at Castlemont High School located in East Oakland showed just how talented they are with technology when they recently designed an app at a hackathon that can help teens avoid violence in their neighborhoods. The product is called SafeBlok, and it works by providing real-time information on crime and suspicious activity that may be occurring within their neighborhoods.

At least one of the three students who designed the app has personally experienced violence in their neighborhood. The hackathon and other programs have resulted in encouraging students to get involved in technology and develop stronger skills that will enable them to compete for careers in the Silicon Valley. Another hackathon team created an idea for connecting students to technology mentors.

Teachers at Castlemont are definitely on board with these programs, as well as others interested in helping more young people in low-income neighborhoods connect with technology. The programs have also highlighted the need to listen and learn from youth about technology apps that reflect what's happening with violence in their neighborhoods and support their innovative ideas on technology solutions that will help keep them safe.
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