#GivingTuesday: Spotlight on TXT’s Hustle N’ Code

After the shopping bonanzas of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is a breath of fresh (and charitable) air. Started as a partnership between New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday unifies charities, corporations, and small businesses to create a global day of giving.

In celebration of #GivingTuesday, Media Temple teamed up with Los Angeles-based Teens Exploring Technology (TXT for short) to sponsor their upcoming Hustle N’ Code Hackathon. We asked Aonya McCruiston, the Outreach and Communications Specialist at TXT, to tell us a little bit about Hustle N’ Code and their year so far.

It’s been a busy year for TXT. What were the highlights?
It’s been amazing. First, we had more than 1,000 students enroll in our computer science and entrepreneurship programs. Then, we launched new TXT Chapters in schools across the city, many of which then enrolled in our Demo Day startup competition. Demo Day was a huge success, with the winners receiving more than $10,000 in funding for their latest and greatest project. Our Founder and CEO, Oscar Menjivar, was even invited to the White House to speak about innovation in Los Angeles. Now, we are wrapping up the year with our largest and most exciting Hackathon yet.

What does a day (or a night) in a life of a TXT teen look like?
Typically, our TXT teens are hard at work with school during the day. At night and on the weekends, they come to our HackerSpace in South Los Angeles. The HackerSpace is an open and supportive community for young coders and innovators. It’s a collaborative environment that allows them to both receive help on homework and learn about computer science. We offer business development workshops, computer science classes, and mentoring onsite. Many of our students join us as they build their own startups or work on coding projects to improve their skills.

Can you tell us a little bit about Hustle N’ Code?
The Hustle N’ Code Hackathon provides low-income students with critical exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and motivates students to pursue careers in the tech sector. More than 250 South Los Angeles youth will gather to learn about coding and app development in a fun and fast-paced environment. Students will learn to build apps and websites that address community problems (such as homelessness and hunger) with the help of tech industry professionals from companies like Media Temple, Snapchat, Tinder, and Yahoo.

If someone wants to get involved in TXT, how can they help?
They can start by visiting exploringtech.org. From there, they will be able to donate to our programs and sign up to volunteer with our young people. Donors and volunteers are key to our success as an organization. We truly appreciate everyone’s support!

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