Medium: Obama and The White House praise Qeyno’s MBKHack — My Brother’s Keeper Hackathon

Qeyno Fellow, 18-year-old Elijah Butterfield with Trailblazers (youth participants) as they collect votes towards their teams. [photo credit: Johnathon Henninger]

Since wrapping up our second My Brother’s Keeper hackathon, the first for our home city, Oakland (CA), Team Qeyno has been activating the rest of our first quarter hackathon season taking place in Atlanta (GA), St. Louis (MO), and powering <Div> Hack at SXSW in Austin (TX) sponsored by MVMT50 and organized by our local community partner, Hack The Future, and lead by Qeyno Fellow Shawn Scott.

So it was by our surprise when we learned that the recently released My Brother’s Keeper Task Force one-year progress report contained detailed references and mentions to MBKHack, one of Qeyno’s signature hackathons in response to the My Brother’s Keeper call-to-action by President Obama and The White House:

US President Barack Obama has lunch with My Brother’s Keeper mentees at the White House in Washington, DC. [Yuri Gripas / Getty Images]

MBKHACK is an independent project run by nonprofit Qeyno Labs aimed at transforming and empowering youth through social innovation, education, technology, and proactive mentoring. Working over 3 days alongside adult professionals, students identify problems, develop design concepts, pitch solutions, compete and work in teams toward execution. The hackathons bring together community partners and national sponsors, city leaders, volunteers, designers, developers, innovators, entrepreneurs, industry professionals, community organizers, concerned citizens, parents, and most importantly, youth. Participants collaborate to solve some of the most intractable problems facing their communities, including: education, restorative justice, environmental sustainability, health, food & wellness, financial inclusion & literacy.

Also in the progress report, they described our collaboration with our partners The City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, BMe, Yes We Code, Google, Salesforce, String Theory Schools, and Urban Tech Alliance to put on our unique event.

“…the city hosted the first-ever MBK Youth Hackathon at String Theory
Schools in center city, Philadelphia. The nongovernmental program, supported by Qeyno Labs and #YesWeCode, drew 95 participants (ages 13–20) to form teams and build apps focused on one of five tracks: education, health and wellness, restorative justice, food and sustainability, and masculinity. Each team spent approximately 54 hours taking their idea from concept to demo, and presented before a panel of judges and their peers.”

Qeyno Labs was recently featured on the cover of USA Today in an article penned by Jessica Guynn focused on Qeyno’s innovative work in the My Brother’s Keeper space, but to receive acknowledgement from the President of the United States and the White House team is an incredible honor, one that we do not take light as we continue our work to transform children’s lives through mindfully inclusive hackathons, by the people and for the people.

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"Diversity brings so much more to the table - and by focusing outside of the usual and rewarding all sorts of people in tech - we can only make it better. #YesWeCode is doing exactly that."
- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple