Special to Mission Housing
By Leo Sosa
Saturday, March 30 at 7 p.m. marks the two-year anniversary when I left my job as a Technology Training Coordinator at MEDA in San Francisco to launch my own nonprofit <dev/Mission>.
Mission Housing Development Corporation Executive Director Sam Moss and now Deputy Executive Director Marcia Contreras took me by their wing during that time and I am so appreciative to both of them to help me launch my organization inside Valencia Gardens at 360 Valencia St. where we currently operate today.
When I started we had enough money to last us for two months. Two years later we have received funding from Autodesk, Latino Community Foundation, Microsoft, Uber, Google, ATT, Paypal, OEWD (TechSF) just to name a few. We have also received from personal donors tons of donations like computers from the University of San Francisco, Dropbox, Uber, Ampush, JonesIT, Monkeybrains that are being awarded to the participants graduating from our program and the families we serve.
We hosted our summer 2017 inaugural session with 20 young adults from the Bay Area; 50 percent of them were women. We taught 120 middle schoolers from Jamestown Community Center how to write a line of code that summer as well.
Since then we have launched over eight 12-week cohorts in the Mission District, the Bayview and the Western Addition in partnership with Mission Housing Development Corporation, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, FRH Consulting and we are in the process of launching our first pilot in the Bayview Hunters Point East and Visitacion Valley Community.
We have also partnered with John O’Connell High School and JVS to launch an Intro to Programming Class for their High School Seniors — to date 16 high school seniors have learned how to code.
As of today here are some stats from our organization:
Total Enrolled: 91
Currently Enrolled: 6
Total Graduated: 74
Graduation Rate: 81.32%
Thirty five graduates are working either in fellowships, internships, apprenticeships or part-time/full-time jobs in the tech industry.
Our participant population is 45 percent girls, 70 percent Latino, 15 percent and African American — 100 percent come from very low income households, and over 35 percent of our students come from outside San Francisco. Forty nine of our enrollments have been High School Students.
Our strategic plan aims to serve 100 untapped young adults from underserved communities this year, offer 15 paid internships to our graduates and hire 4 technology instructors to teach our STEAM curriculum.
Over 100 volunteers have signed up since we started as tech mentors; TA’s; marketing; outreach and other volunteer roles we have created.
We had our 1st Youth Benefit back in September of last year and raised over $225,000 on that night.
We have launched our “Tech Wizard” Mentorship program so every graduate gets paired with a mentor for six months developing and enhancing their career paths into tech.
We just graduated our 1st pilot fellowships cohort building web apps for communities we serve, launched last summer our 1st STEM Hub for K-12 fully funded by Microsoft in the Bayview Hunters Point West Community, along with this program we have also launched our 1st Digital Music Lab Program where youth ages 14-21 can come to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix and master professional quality music sponsored by Adobe in the Bayview Hunters Point West 1030 Community Center.
We have also launched our 1st Pre-Apprenticeship ICT Occupational Skills Training funded by TechSF and we are in the process of launching our 1st Apprenticeship Pilot in partnership with Postmates.
We have refurbished over 150 computers for nonprofit, low income families we serve with our Community Technology Associate Program and provided over 1,000 hours of service learning opportunities with our graduates.
The founder of the next Instagram or the next Web Developer or IT Technician is currently taking classes at our Spring 2019 cohort right now.
I myself have never written a line of code. That hasn’t stopped me from having the audacity and passion to put these skills in the hands of young people to date and more to come.
Most people think I took this job because of a passion for technology, that’s partially true. The real passion I have is to provide hope and opportunity to the youth and young adults in this region that are growing in underserved communities as I did in Visitacion Valley (Twin Towers).
Thank you to everyone that has offered your support, funding, advice, coaching, encouragement, insight, network and resources as I’ve taken this journey with <dev/Mission>.
Have I done mistakes? I am pretty sure I have but I have learned to learn from them and move on.
Lastly, I want to thank that team of technologists; Kurtis, Abraham, Jesse, Deborah, Stephany, Christian, Yariza, Dani, Arya, Zuri, and Melissa that put this organization together two years ago, the group of young people that decided to join this journey as well, our board, partners, supporters, sponsors; but most importantly my family (Zulma, Ismael, and Isaac) who believed in me and everyone else that has inspire me to “create the next generation of tech talent” with this organization.
For all of you, I’m truly grateful.