A Night of Hustle N’ Code With Teens Exploring Technology

by | Feb 4, 2016

Last Tuesday night, teens of different ages filtered into The Mobile Majority office. Some apprehensive. Others excited. All not quite sure what to expect.

They were greeted by members of the TMM team, a bustle of scurrying dogs, pizza, and one singular mission: to build their first mobile ad.

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Marcos Escalante presents to the crowd.

Everyone gathered around The Mobile Majority’s Head of Product, Marcos Escalante, who took them through what they would be building and how they would build it.

Afterwards, the teens were broken up into four groups. Each group would have both developers (coders) and designers.  It didn’t matter if the kids had any prior experience doing those things (although many did). They would learn by working together.

And that’s the whole point.

Teens Exploring Technology (“TXT”) is an organization dedicated to helping youths from low-income communities develop team-building skills through creative explorations of technology.

“Learn how to learn,” one TXTer said when asked how he’d advise future generations. “Learning is everything, especially at TXT. There’s going to be a lot of struggles, a lot of difficulties, but [you just] have to learn how to overcome it.”

Tuesday night was a perfect example of what TXT hopes to build. By working with The Mobile Majority, TXT was able to bring inner city kids together with gurus working in the most advanced fields of mobile technology. They would collaborate, design, and build mobile ads from the ground up – and then test them on the open market to decide a winning team.

It was a great exercise, one that allowed the kids to formulate ideas and test things. In the end, the only goal was to simply make it work – and that can be creatively liberating.

Miguel Morales (pictured below), VP of Engineering at The Mobile Majority, feels a connection with these kids that goes beyond the events of Tuesday night.

“You know, I can relate to these guys,” he said. “Growing up in Los Angeles, I didn’t have much. I dropped out of high school. But eventually I found I was pretty good at this coding thing, and that’s taken me places I didn’t think was possible. That’s what I want for these kids.”

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Ryan Canty (left) and Oscar Menjivar (center) from TXT speak with Miguel Morales (right) from The Mobile Majority.

At the end of the night, a winner was crowned. But that’s beside the point.

The true message behind the events of Tuesday night was that it didn’t matter where you came from or how much you had.

Anything is possible.

Cliché? Yeah, probably. But hey, we’re in the advertising business.

We deal in cliché.

“I am grateful to The Mobile Majority for having TXT: Teens Exploring Technology over,” said Oscar Menjivar, Founder and CEO of TXT. “It was definitely an amazing experience for the kids. The teens were excited to be working at a tech company and learn with people who care for them. I hope other companies can learn from The Mobile Majority and open their doors to kids from low income communities.”