Queer Teen Hacker Alert!
Non-profit group Maven launches first ever tech camp for LGBTQ youth this summer.
maven facebook page
As the LBGTQ community continues to make strides toward a future of equality, it seems fitting to call the summer of 2014 the summer of innovation. Together LGBTQ members around the country and the world are finding new and inspiring ways to express themselves as individuals, while also carving out a place in society for them to feel like they belong.
The tech world is proving to be an especially tough niche to fill for the queer community; there is very little representation or support currently for our young tech-savvy LGBT teens. Yet, thanks to the newly created Queer Youth Tech Camp, LGBT teens have finally been provided with a unique summer experience all their own.
Maven, a nonprofit group working to bridge the technology gap between Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer youth and youth serving organizations, is raising funds to provide a two week tech camp for LGBTQ youth ages 15-18 this summer. From July 7-18, the Queer Youth Tech Camp will be held in the Bay Area at tech companies like Mozilla in San Francisco and Ask.com in Oakland, providing youth an inside look into careers in technology while gaining experience and generating innovative ideas to better meet their needs.
"As technology advances, the gap between youth and youth serving organizations widens. These nonprofits are being left in the dark with limited resources to invest in serving youth through innovative web and mobile platforms", stated Monica Arrambide, a founding member of Maven and the CEO. "Maven is fostering solutions to the lack of tech capacity faced by organizations serving LGBTQ youth and the lack of representation of LGBTQ professionals in the tech industry."
Through the Queer Youth Tech Camp, youth will gain engineering experience, contribute to the development of the Maven gaming platform, and be exposed to the tech industry while working alongside established tech professionals. These activities also provide tech companies an opportunity to connect with LGBTQ youth and provide a pipeline into the industry. "As a white male dominated industry, the tech world is currently lacking diversity. Providing an opportunity for LGBTQ youth to explore tech careers and gain experience in the industry will pave a pathway toward an increased interest in this lucrative field", emphasized Arrambide.
The tech camp will coincide with the GaymerX2 Conference in San Francisco and will culminate with a multi-day hackathon. Maven's Hack 4 Queer Youth event, July 18-20, will place youth in teams with tech professionals to create innovative solutions to better meet the needs of LGBTQ youth using technology. The hackathon follows a successful event in November 2013 that resulted in the development of five tech solutions for LGBTQ youth serving organizations.
Maven is currently hosting a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds to support the tech camp and hackathon through the end of May. They are also seeking volunteers to mentor LGBTQ youth during the camp and professional "hackers" to participate in the hackathon.
Maven is a fiscally sponsored project of the Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center (LYRIC) serving LGBTQ youth for over 20 years. Maven and the Queer Youth Tech Camp they are hosting is another huge step forward for the LGBT community. They are invested in helping LGBT youth reach a whole new level of success, giving them a boost towards the technological career they crave.