Who knew teaching a kid to code for a week would have such a huge impact on their grades?
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Let's face it: Technology rules everything around us.

GIF via "Terminator 2."


Chances are that you're probably reading this article on your laptop while simultaneously watching a video about marine iguanas on your tablet and squeezing in a game of Angry Birds on your smartphone to boot ... right?

But despite our almost complete dependence on technology in daily life, why haven't we really integrated technology into our schools' curriculums?

It probably has to do with how tech education programs are expensive.

Just ask the teachers of Englewood in Chicago.

Image via iStock.

Once a sprawling metropolis that housed Chicago's second-largest shopping district, Englewood has seen its poverty levels rise to a staggering 42% — well above the 15% national average — during the last 15 years. With that, population numbers have decreased, crime rates have increased (Englewood currently ranks in the top 10 most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago), and the number of high school graduates has dropped off, according to the Chicago Tribune.

It's safe to say the teachers in this area would agree that expensive tech programs might seem like a luxury when most of their students don't have the basics.

It's not great.

But what if cities like Englewood could afford to teach technology in schools?


Image via Project Tech Teens/Facebook, used with permission.

After all, teaching technology skills to kids could lead to better, higher-paying jobs for them in the future, which has the potential to lower crime rates and build a stronger economy.

It's worth a try.

Founded by Scott Steward and Glenn Pereira in 2013, Project Tech Teens is trying just that.

The uniquely ambitious program is designed to harness the untapped potential of teenagers from underserved communities, teaching them the art (and science ... mostly science) of things like coding, computer science, and computer engineering.

How exactly do they plan on doing this? Through apps, obviously.

"The idea behind Tech Teens is that we can create stronger critical thinking skills and more engagement in schooling using mobile app development as the caveat," Steward told Upworthy.

"Kids are addicted to these devices. ... So we decided that we needed to create a pipeline of young people who were engaged in technology and could start studying engineering and maybe go to college."


Image via Project Tech Teens/Facebook, used with permission.

Project Tech Teens currently offers a variety of programs for students of all ages in a few cities.

In the past couple of years, Project Tech Teens has expanded to over 500 students in schools across St. Louis, Houston, and Detroit. The programs include a one-week residential summer Tech Boot Camp and a more focused, six-week Saturday Hackathon aimed at finding the Steve Jobs of tomorrow.

At these seminars, students are often broken into teams and assigned with the task of thinking up, building, and eventually pitching their apps to potential investors "Shark Tank"-style.


Thankfully, Kevin O'Leary is not actually included. GIF via "Shark Tank."

The results so far have been astounding.

Last year, Project Tech Teens students designed a Guess That Lyric app that challenges users' musical knowledge and a Food Is Life app that helps children learn food groups. Both of these apps and several more were presented as part of a joint program between Project Tech Teens and Teamwork Englewood and were met with incredible acclaim by local community members.

Plus, inside the schools themselves, members of Project Tech Teens are seeing their test scores rise an average of 40%.

"To have students go from this no-tech or low-tech delivery model, where we take this complex understanding of this foreign language and make it really, really digestible, it opens the door for all kinds of learning," Steward said. "Not only can students produce these really cool apps, but they're also coming in now and saying, 'Look at my grades.'"

This is the first step in linking the insanely profitable computer science industry to struggling schools.

Image via Scott Steward of Project Tech Teens, used with permission.

At just $140 for the initial course (which includes a free lunch each day, a free t-shirt, and, oh yeah, a free laptop among other things), Project Tech Teens is redefining "relevant education" in neighborhoods that arguably need this redefinition the most. In doing so, they're providing future leaders with the fundamentals to build a better world around them.

"We're trying to help students make better decisions, be stronger critical thinkers, see the connection between what they do and how it affects their life, and then see the possibilities," Steward said. "We want the students to say 'What if?' and see this as an opportunity to create sustainable, generational wealth for themselves and their families."

Programs like Project Tech Teens are an awesome example of inclusivity and forward-thinking.

They provide not only the short-term benefits of bringing kids off the street and providing them with a safe place to learn, but teach them a valuable skill that could benefit their communities years down the road. We need more of these.

Without the tech-savvy teens of today, who else will be able to lead us to victory in the inevitable cybernetic wars of tomorrow?

Certainly not this guy. GIF via "Terminator 2."

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.