Urban TxT is giving South Los Angeles boys the skills they need to change not only their own futures, but those of the entire community.
What do you do when the young men in your community seem to be struggling—with drop-out rate among high school boys rising to 55%, with 75% of those drop-outs ending up incarcerated?
If you’re part of Urban TxT (Teens eXploring Technology), you find what teen boys seem to naturally gravitate toward—computers—and you teach them, mentor them, and help them build a future that will change not only their own lives, but the entire community.
From their website:
We believe that access to technology should be available to everyone, especially low socio-economic communities. Through our curriculum we develop a culture of innovation, collaboration, and strong academics among our young men. Technology is the equalizer in the 21st Century and therefore we are committed to nurturing our future leaders.
In small learning circles our youth learn research skills, public speaking, leadership and project management skills by using new media tools including web 2.0 tools. Other skills taught to teens are data analysis and time management.
The idea started in the 1990s when Oscar Menjivar was in high school at Jordan High School, a magnet school, for their technology program… But there was ver little tech there.
Not only did technology not exist, but also very few after school programs aimed at developing young men academically. The most effective organizations in recruiting young men were gangs. Oscar saw one of his best friends fall victim to gangs and pledge that he would help create a program that can influence young men become leaders who would impact their communities in a positive way.
In 2007, Oscar and Roxanne (co-founder) worked on an initial plan. The pilot program was sponsored by ZeroDivide, a San Francisco based organization that assists low-income communities empower themselves through the use of technology.
In today’s tech-based society, programs like Urban TxT are needed more than ever. Because it’s true—technology is society’s great equalizer. When our young people have equal access to computers and mentors who can teach them the necessary skills, the entire landscape of society can change… for the better.