**Please Note: This article was originally printed on the Hack Reactor blog. All rights belong to the writer and website.
We have seen our program change many lives in just four years, and we are always looking for ways to increase access to the education. We recently partnered with Success Center SF to bring our introductory Code Ramp course to transitional-aged youth (ages 16-24). Success Center SF works with many populations, including homeless youth, single parents, and youth who have been involved in the justice system. They teamed up with Hack Reactor to offer an intensive 5-week course in introductory web development to a variety of students. Last week, the program graduated a dozen students who gained marketable skills, several of whom are eyeing the immersive program at Hack Reactor.
The program was a demanding one for Success Center SF’s students. They were required to be in attendance and ready to code Monday-Thursday, 4-7pm for 5 weeks. Students were provided computers during class time, and all graduates were awarded a refurbished MacBook. To complete the program, students needed to build and present a final project, using their newly earned skills.
The Success Center SF works with youth with a diverse array of backgrounds and stories. One that exemplifies the struggles and triumphs of the Success Center is a young man named Santos. He initially worked with Success Center SF through their GED program. However, due to everything else that was going on his life, Santos’s attendance and commitment to the program were sometimes spotty.
“Like a lot of the youth that we serve at SCSF, Santos was a repeat juvenile offender and didn’t have the best at-home life,” explains Success Center SF Business Relations Coordinator Reymon LaChaux.
Santos endured multiple tragic events, but continued to work with Success Center SF through their morning education program.
Then, after 18 months, something clicked for Santos. He became a model student and passed 3 of 4 GED tests while holding a full-time job at UPS. Around that time, the Code Ramp program with Hack Reactor was beginning to take shape.
“Santos’s momentum picked up exponentially and his appetite for knowledge and training seemed insatiable,” LaChaux describes. “After hearing about the upcoming launch of our first cohort for the Code Ramp program, Santos immediately inquired about the program’s specifics and how to apply. Santos enrolled in Code Ramp and not only attended regularly, but also came in early and stayed late when he wanted to solidify his grasp on certain material covered from the previous class.”
Santos completed the program and is now looking to further his computer science education. He and other Success Center SF students show what is possible when motivation is combined with good support systems.
“We believe that Santos is a shining example of how even our most ‘in risk’ and ‘at risk’ youth should never be ‘counted out,’” says LaChaux. “Given the right patience, climate and environment, they can succeed despite statistical odds.”
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