Westover Hosts Random Hacks of Kindness 'Hackathon' for Girls

15 WISE students served as mentors for 44 girls in grades 4-8 as they devised computer applications for 10 nonprofits at the 4th annual "Hackathon" April 22.

Westover Hosts Random Hacks of Kindness 'Hackathon' for Girls

The fourth annual "Hackathon" was held at Westover Sunday, April 22, for 44 area girls in grades four through eight. The event was organized by Patrice Gans P'10, Director of Random Hacks of Kindness Jr (RHoK Jr.) with the help of Kate Seyboth, Director of Westover's Women in Science and Engineering program (WISE).

At the day-long event, 15 WISE students served as volunteer mentors, working with the younger girls to devise computer applications or other technological prototypes that may address a range of problems facing local non-profits. All of the solutions developed over the course of the day will be considered "open source," Patrice noted, meaning that they will be available for use by anyone at no charge. The goals of the event are to raise awareness in the community about the resources available to women and girls and to introduce young girls to the field of computer programming.

The 10 participating non-profits at the hackathon were: New England Brittany Rescue, Value of One, Jane Doe No More, St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury, Children to Children Foundation, Annabella's Angels, Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging, Brian O'Connell Homeless Project, New Opportunities, Inc., and Save Girls on F.Y.E.R. Inc.

"By the end of the day," Patrice said, "we hope they will see how technology can have a positive impact on someone's life." Patrice, a technology educator, organized the first Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. event in May 2103. The Westover event was the sixteenth RHoK Jr. event since the organization was recognized as a formal 501c3 in October 2015.

Since its first Coding for a Cause "Hackathon," more than 170 girls from across Connecticut have worked with more than 50 Westover WISE students to create prototype smartphone apps for approximately 50 community non-profit organizations.