A returned Mormon missionary is making a difference for inner city youths in Baltimore.
Andrew Coy, a graduate of Brigham Young University, was recently featured in a lengthy Politico.com article for his work with Digital Harbor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps teach inner city youths how to love technology and gain job skills.
"If we [want to] anticipate the next major economic driver, like the Internet or personal computing, we need to be investing in folks who are thinking differently, and prototyping, and coming up with this stuff,” Coy said in the article. “You can’t be a constant expert in technology — it’s moving too fast, there’s too much going on — so what you have to be is an expert in learning.”
Digital Harbor was founded in 2012 and employs a staff of 14. Twice a week it hosts about 300 kids in two-hour classes that span 14 weeks. The foundation also holds two-week summer camps for about 220 kids, along with "weekend hackathons and family 'make' nights for kids and parents," the article said. Some of the youth have participated in the White House Science Fair where they met President Barack Obama.
Coy, now chairman of the foundation's board, helped build the program by "drawing upon his Mormon missionary experience, inviting teens he encountered on the street to come" to visit the classes.
“Creativity is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not,” Coy said in the article. “I’d tell stories about startups in garages and dorm rooms. And I realized, these kids live in row homes. They don’t have a garage. So many of them don’t make it to dorm rooms. They still have ideas and passion, but they need a space, like a rec center, to go to and develop that.”
Read the entire article here.