Hack4Hope: Hackathon For Underprivileged Youth

By June 25, 2015


Award winning filmmaker and native St. Louisan Nicole Franklin is bringing a new hackathon to St. Louis hot on the heels of all the startup activity blooming around St. Louis.

Hack4Hope will be held July 10-12 at T-Rex in downtown St. Louis.  In their own words, Hack4Hope’s mission is to, “…create inroads to innovative careers for underserved youth in the St. Louis arena.” Hack4Hope is a joint project of ITEN and Education Exchange Corps.

Talking about the importance of STEM education is a hot topic whereas Hack4Hope is emphasizing the importance of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics).

When I commented to Franklin that not everyone puts the emphasis on art (STEM vs. STEAM) that some do, she replied:

“The arts give us life and express our love- we all have the soundtrack of our lives and art is big part of it.  It’s around us everywhere- music, painting and theater.  But it’s also in the landscaping, architecture…really, everything.”

Nicole Franklin

Nicole Franklin

When she realized how the rise of hackathons could be used as a tool to expose underprivileged youth, she knew she wanted to do it in St. Louis.  “As a filmmaker and news editor, I had to learn how to use technical tools to create my work and it provided me the means to have this career that I love.  I want kids to get that same opportunity.”

There will be a number of prizes made available (still being finalized) and Franklin expects the event to be a big success.  “We have amazing partners that have come on board to support our goal,” she said, “and I’m incredibly appreciative of their support.” (A list of Hack4Hope’s partners is here).

Franklin has goals larger than just the hackathon.  Once Hack4Hope concludes, Hack4Hope Academy will continue where the event left off.  Hack4Hope Academy will allow students to continue to work on their projects or develop new ones as they continue to engage with the the St. Louis tech and business community.

For further info, consult the Hack4Hope website.