Phone2Action to fund new civic tech program for disadvantaged DC youth - Technical.ly DC

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Aug. 5, 2015 12:47 pm

Phone2Action to fund new civic tech program for disadvantaged DC youth

The initiative was announced at the first-ever White House Demo Day.
Kids learn origami on YouTube at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington in November.

Kids learn origami on YouTube at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington in November.

(Photo by Lalita Clozel)

Phone2Action has announced it will launch a $250,000 fund to educate local youth in civic technology.

The WeWork Chinatown-based mobile campaigning app made the pledge in coordination with the first-ever Demo Day held at the White House on Tuesday.

The program will allow several 16- to 22-year-olds, particularly those who have dropped out of their school or job track but have demonstrated an interest in technology to be trained in areas like open government, communications and civic engagement.

“In order to reach the kids who need it the most we need to pick them at school age,” said Phone2Action cofounder Ximena Hartsock, a former D.C. elementary principal and D.C. Public Schools official. “We can’t wait for them to come to us.”

The 12-month program will begin each year in September. Classes will be held in Chinatown and Anacostia, as well as virtually.

Hartsock said the decision to invest in this multi-year fund was also sound business strategy.

“When you try to hire talent you get very low numbers of applicants from the D.C. area,” she said. “We need to strengthen that pipeline and we need to do it locally.”
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