TeenTechSF: Changing the Face of Tech

Organizing peer-led tech summits, civic hackathons & STEM workshops for first-time coders so no one gets left out of the Digital Disruption!

Photo of Marc & Madeeha
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  • Education

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Find out more at: TeenTechSF.org -- Follow us: @TeenTechSF Twitter.com/TeenTechSF -- Like us at: www.Facebook.com/TeenTechSF -- Visit our TeenTechSF YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UC2rd0TcJ0novb8LDKPYtuPw

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Tech is the New American Dream, putting the means of production in the hands of the people. But too many students are being left out of the Digital Disruption. Access to tech activities among African-Americans, Latinos, women, and students from low income families lag far behind their counterparts at school and in the workplace. Many students are intimidated by coding, isolated from the opportunities tech offers and cut off from tech careers.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

TeenTechSF is a student-run 501(c)(3) organizing four major programs: 1) YEAR-ROUND: Peer-Led hands-on STEM workshops focusing on website & app development, plus Maker Movement activities with Little Bits, Makey Makey, Arduino & now Raspberry Pi. 2) FALL: TTSF Civic Hackathon supporting student teams developing tech solutions to community problems for social impact. 3) WINTER: TTSF Global Youth Summit connecting tech leaders with students through our US & Global partners and livestreaming from site hosts like Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, & PlayStation. 4) SPRING: TTSF Tech Conferences/STEM Inclusivity Summits reaching out to underserved and underrepresented teens in the communities where they live. With our new initiative: TECH WHERE YOU LIVE we want to increase the participation of students from underserved and underrepresented communities in our current program of conferences, workshops, and civic hackathons as well as doubling the number of additional onsite hands-on tech activities in the schools and communities of the targeted students. TeenTechSF is going mobile bringing our award-winning, peer-led tech workshop to your neighborhood! See the attachments for more details.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

"When asked why he was sharing Tesla's electric car patents, Elon Musk replied: If you were on a sinking ship and had new bucket technology, wouldn't you share it, too? Tech is the biggest tool we have to solve our planet's problems. My school didn't have a tech club or classes. I founded TeenTechSF as an online community so that any student, anywhere could join and organize activities to make sure everyone has tech skills in their tool kit," Marc, TTSF Global Founder. "Students of color achieve less because we have fewer opportunities. As a first-gen college applicant, I am lucky to have mentors at UC Berkeley’s Early Academic Outreach Program to help me explore different fields of study. TeenTechSF provides me with the opportunity to give back to my community through the two things I am most passionate about: STEM & supporting low-income students of color," Madeeha, TTSF President.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

TeenTechSF's mission is to empower the next generation of tech innovators and civic entrepreneurs. We are committed to equal access to tech for all teens because diversity fuels innovation. Run by and for teens, all our events are free!

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

As part of our "Tech Where You Live" initiative, Madeeha & Sarah organized a TTSF STEM Inclusivity Summit at SF International HS, a public school serving mostly immigrant ELL families in District 10, a high risk, predominantly low income, African American, Latino, & first generation Asian community. Shavonne lives within walking distance of the event and decided to check it out. With no prior coding experience, Shavonne joined a peer-led STEM workshop, and created her first website on the spot. Surprised at how easy it was, Shavonne was excited to share her experience with others and is now a member of the TTSF leadership team. She reached out to College Track and will be organizing the next STEM Inclusivity Summit at College Track's D10 site. As keynote speaker & GitHub Machine Learning engineer Omoju Miller says: "There are no experts at the frontier" Anyone can become a tech leader!

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

At TeenTechSF, it's your ideas, not your age, that matter. TTSF's "secret sauce" is that we are run by and for teens. Even though we're attached to tech devices 24/7 for many teens, tech is a "black box." But it's hard to be intimidated by tech even if you are a first-time coder if your "teacher" is a "student" just like you! Some of our original student leaders are now TAY mentors, but it's the teens who organize and lead the events. At TTSF, we don't just play video games, we design video games. We don't just attend tech conferences, civic hackathons, and STEM workshops -- we lead them!

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

TTSF connects 2000+ teens each year with tech leaders from Apple to Zynga at conferences, civic hackathons, and STEM workshops at Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce in the Bay Area and through US chapters and Global partners in Seattle, New York, Paris, Tunis, Nairobi, Seoul, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Hong Kong. We lead 24 STEM workshops a year at large-scale events including the CA Academy of Sciences Teen Science Night & Bay Area Science Festival Teen Zone at Oracle Park, plus smaller hour-long sessions at Stanford RISE, UC Berkeley TRIO, & at public schools, libraries, and community centers. We track participation and inclusion through Eventbrite registration & MailChimp surveys. 90% of participants come from public schools, many from underserved and underrepresented communities. 80% are participating in a hackathon for the first time and most have never visited a tech company.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

UPCOMING BAY AREA PLANS: 1) Doubling capacity for our peer-led STEM Workshop program: buying additional laptops and training new TTSF STEM Workshop student leaders 2) New Partnerships with the Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and College Track for free afterschool TTSF STEM Workshops 3) Organizing free transport to TTSF activities partnering with YOOT bus. UPCOMING GLOBAL PLANS: 1) Starting new TeenTechSF chapters in South Korea and the Dominican Republic in partnership with TAY Leadership from the Minerva School 2) Starting TeenTechSF chapter in Hong Kong in partnership with the Canadian International School of Hong Kong 3) Creating online STEM Workshop video lessons for the TTSF YouTube Channel accessible to our US & Global Partners.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Plan & Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 100%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

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Attachments (2)

TeenTechSF Program Details.pdf

TeenTechSF is a student-run 501(c)(3) supporting four programs: our Year-Round STEM workshops, our Fall Civic Hackathons, our Winter Global Youth Summit, and our Spring Tech Conferences & STEM Inclusivity Summits.

TeenTechSF T-Mobile Ashoka Change Maker Team.pdf

Meet the TeenTechSF T-Mobile Ashoka Change Maker Team!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Muhammad Khan

This is Awesome! Keep it up. This is a great plateform and an opportunity for the starters and teens I must say. Last but not the least you guys being a role model for them is a big achievement. GROW BIG- sky's the limit.

Are you guys currently working on any specific SDG's with UN Development or any Strategic development partnership in future ?

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