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Canterbury and Random Hacks of Kindness Junior Host New Milford’s 2nd Annual ‘Kids Coding-for-a-Cause Hackathon’

Kelly Slonaker

Area boys and girls were invited to participate in a “hackathon” for social good on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at Canterbury School. The event, which was open to boys and girls in grades four through eight, introduced students to simple coding technology and showed how it can be used to create solutions that benefit local non-profit organizations. No prior programming experience was required. 

The one-day “hackathon” was organized by Patrice Gans, Director of Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. and Rob Roffe, Director of Academic Technology and Innovation and Computer Science Chair at Canterbury School. Rob teaches several sections of Computer Programming and an Innovation Lab, and also leads a Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) course on information security at Canterbury.

The participating local youths worked with Canterbury computer science student mentors to create a prototype App that promotes social good. Nine Canterbury students participated as mentors, including Brendan Clark ’20, Charles Dyer ’20, Cole Paynter ’20, Kai Xu ’21, Sandy Xu ’21, Sonia Li ’21, Hanyan Cai ’22, Ian Fernandes ’22, and Jerry Liu ’22. Rob Roffe hopes to make this an annual event at Canterbury, saying, “It offered our students the opportunity to work with and get to know kids from our local community, and also helped them learn about local non-profits and think about ways we can help them succeed.”

Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. was developed by Gans as an opportunity to empower and inspire youth to use technology for social good. Gans, a technology educator, organized the first Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. event at the Fraser Woods Montessori School in Newtown in May 2013. The event hosted at Canterbury was the 40th RHoK Jr. event since the organization was recognized as a formal 501c3 in October 2015.