The #YesWeCode Hackathon was one of the most unique and exciting experiences that took place at the 20th Annual Essence Festival in New Orleans. While more than 500,000 people traveled to New Orleans to experience the music, close to 40 youth participants, over 60 mentors and over 70 volunteers spent four days working in teams to create apps that address problems facing the African American American community. Qeyno Labs and founder Kalimah Priforce orchestrated the event, providing staff and support to make the Hackathon a resounding success.
At the end of the weekend, an esteemed panel of judges, including representatives from Essence, Facebook, Make It Right Foundation, Code2040, Echoing Green, and a number of local community organizations, selected winners from amongst 13 teams. The event was closed out with a Rites of Passage ceremony conducted by the New Orleans based Ashe Cultural Arts Center.
Prizes from Facebook included admittance to FbStart, Beats headphones and Facebook swag. Cash prizes were awarded by Sabio.la. 4pt0.org offered every team post Hackathon support for development of their apps, in the form of coaching and investment for valid prototyping.
The apps addressed education, health and wellness, and some were solely for entertainment. New Orleans youth and local community members were an integral part of the Hackathon and played a role on every team. MyClickUrban is the proud media partner for Qeyno Labs and will showcase notable entries from teams who participated in the four day event.
Today we feature the LOYO app, whose team members included Mary Pryor, Adjetey Clarence Lassey, X’avier Smith, April Welch, Uchechi Kalu Jacobson, Rude Elegance, Bryan Goodson, Martin Pratt, Jason Towns, Peter Jacobson, Eude Lesperance, Radar Raeder and Ryan Williams.
Team LOYO (Learn On Your Own) developed a learning app for the burgeoning youth tech market. “LOYO brings them a guided way to learn the skills they want, without extra noise,” explained Team Mentor Peter Jacobson. “The best part was seeing what the kids were able to come up with on their own, given some tools and opportunity. There’s a lot to cover in a short time, but that’s the challenge so I wouldn’t change it. Constraints force creativity!”
Hackathon members only had four days to work on their projects, but Team LOYO members brought plenty of enthusiasm to the coding challenge. New Orleans resident Eude Lesperance was the first participant on site every single day–even arriving before Hackathon staff.
“I was excited to serve as a mentor,” said Uchechi Kalu Jacobson, Team Mentor for the LOYO app. “The Hackathon experience really enabled me to give back in a way that really felt impactful.”
-MyClickUrban Staff Writer DaVaun Sanders contributed to this article.
Qeyno Labs uses an inclusive hackathon model to create high-profile coding events that prioritize mentorship and community. For more information about Qeyno and future youth Hackathon events, check out the following links:
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