Civic Innovation Summer— the experimental summer jobs program for teens focused on civics, media, and technology— has been rolling all through July. This program, funded by Smart Chicago based on a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is largely run by the Mikva Challenge, which develops the next generation of civic leaders, activists, and policy-makers and Free Spirit Media, which provides education, access, and opportunity in media production.
But on Fridays, we pull together all of the youth into one room and teach them about technology and the concept of open. We had our first such session last Friday at 1871. Smart Chicago is a founding member of the digital startup center located in the Merchandise Mart, and days like Friday are exactly we why decided to be one of its first tenants.
Here’s the complete set of photos from our day, and a quick look at some illustrative ones:
The raw space inside one of the largest commercial buildings in the world provides a great palette for teaching youth.
Jacqui Cheng put this entire program together, including arranging for a tour of the space and lining up all of the speakers:
It was quite an experience to run 150 youth through a space where hundreds of people are running businesses. We appreciate everyone’s patience!
That’s a lotta people.
Mari Huertas of Mozilla talked about her path to a career in technology
Rayid Ghani showed a video about self-driving cars. Teaching computers how to do things is hard.
Jason Kunesh talked about the importance of designing technology to meet the needs of humans.
Is there anything more important than lunch?
Gene Leynes spoke of his business, Yolobe
We went ahead and got limbered up over lunch
Jeff McCarter of Free Spirit Media got everyone fired up about what we’re doing.
Dirk McCoy talked about Spendbot and his path to starting the company.
Jimmy Odom of WeDeliver talked about starting a business.
I talked about the importance of real Twitter accounts and having an authentic voice all day, every day.
Lastly, here’s the curriculum we used to guide our day:
Next up: our Friday session this week will be at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy and will have lots of special guests!