The 2016 Hour of Code presented an intriguing challenge for the product development team at my organization Digital Youth Network. The Hour of Code (HOC) is a weeklong event hosted during Computer Science Education Week that inspires thousands of kids, teachers and organizations to dip their toe into the Olympic-sized pool of computer science. Our challenge is to get them to dive in and start swimming.

Digital Youth Network(DYN) hosts HOC events each year at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media. We introduce hundreds of kids and their teachers to coding as part of our overall mission.

That’s me mentoring at Hour of Code activities at DePaul University


I almost let a whole month go by without working on my pet project: Chicago Kid Party. I heard from so many people that said they liked where it was going and still want to know how the idea grows. Well there is nothing like external encouragement to make you act. Somehow I managed to write some code, build a few schema and create an implementation strategy for my kid party planning site.

Last time I told you how my idea went from brainwaves to paper prototype to an mvp roadmap. I also told you that I loved this idea…

Sometime in 2016, I had a brillantly simple idea. Someone should build an application that helps Chicago parents create a classic birthday party experience. As a parent, I heard many stories of parents trying to make decisions about how to make fun, crazy, sometimes ridiculous birthday wishes come true. Parents needed a single better resource.

I romanticized the idea because it was simple yet had plenty of technical complexity that a product designer and architect would love to mask. Just imagine: a party app included data, reverse geocoding, information architecture, user experience, social media, and, of course, coding.

Sharing the…


Working to improve the ability for young people to access learning opportunities with increased digital equity. Chicago, New Orleans

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