By Shaunna Cullen
Four members of YWCA New Britain’s STRIVE afterschool program for middle school girls attended Central Connecticut State University’s “Random Hacks of Kindness Hack-a-thon” to begin development of a smartphone app to be used by YWCA School Age parents.
The focus of the Hack-a-thon was to provide an opportunity to nonprofits in New Britain to better their organization through technology.
The girls that attended from the YWCA’s program had previously expressed an interest in STEM fields. They were split up into two groups, and each group had their own mentor from the CCSU Computer Science Department.
The first group settled on creating an app that was a calendar of events with information from the school-age programs, elementary school, STRIVE and HOT. The second group decided to create an app where parents could call and text YWCA staff members without needing their personal cell phone numbers. They thought this would be a good way for parents to communicate to staff if they need to pick up their child earlier, discuss any issues, or check in.
“The mentors were really helpful, they made sure that each girl in our group was involved in the app creation,” said Assistant School Age Program Coordinator Joanna Ruggiero-Rivera.
At the end of the Hack-a-thon, the students presented their ideas for the parents to get feedback. STRIVE is waiting on further instructions about when the app will be available, but they are excited to introduce it to parents and start using their new technology.