Interview - Random Hacks of Kindness Junior

As Professional Organizers we are always encouraging our clients to focus on experiences instead of stuff. Part of that process also includes great places to donate time or money. We spoke with Patrice from Random Hacks of Kindness about this cool organization.

For the busy person, what is Random Hacks of Kindness Junior, Inc?

Random Hacks of Kindness

Random Hacks of Kindness Junior runs one day programs for girls and boys in 4-8th grade. The programs (aka "hackathons") are called Kids Coding for A Cause. At the hackathons the students are placed in groups with a computer science mentor and a representative from a local nonprofit. The objective is for the mentor to lead the students through the design and coding process of a prototype smartphone app for the nonprofit.

This is not your traditional hackathon where the objective is a finished product. The core mission of our program is to expose the students to kindness and social good through the lens of technology. We are more interested in the creation of technology, specifically the ideation and design process as it applies to a local community nonprofit. No prior coding experience is required.

How did the organization get started?

I taught a computer science teacher at a school in Newtown, CT for 6 years. During my 6th year, I became interested in expanding the students understanding of the impact that technology has on their lives, and the potential it can have to make a difference in the lives of someone else. I went to my first hacakthon and realized that this would be a great way to give them first-hand experience in creating technology for some one else. I modified the model to match the needs of my students by introducing mentors to help them through the day and required the participation of nonprofits so that my students would interact directly with some in need. I held my first hackathon at Fraser Woods Montessori School in May 2013.  I then went on to create the nonprofit Random Hacks of Kindness Junior in 2014.  We held our first hackathon at Trinity College in April 2015.  Since then we have held over 30 hackathons, reaching over 1000 students, 300 mentors and 300 nonprofits.

What geographic area and ages do you cover?

Random Hacks of Kindness

We run hackathons all over CT and beyond.  The hackathons are for 4-8th graders. We also invite high school students and college students to participate as computer science mentors. We provide mentor training as needed.

Besides monetary donations, how can people help?

We could use help getting the word out about our programs.  So we encourage people to follow us on Facebook or twitter.  We welcome help with mentor and nonprofit recruitment. We also could use skill based volunteers in the areas of marketing and grant writing.

Can you discuss some of the successful events you have had in the past?

We recently held our 4th annual girls only hackathon at Westover School in Middlebury, CT. Here is information from that program.

We will be holding a co-ed hackathon on Saturday, June 2, 2018 with FactSet Research Systems at their corporate office in Norwalk, CT.