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One of Caravan Studios' great strengths is convening. Caravan brings together people who share similar interests or professional backgrounds and creates events to highlight innovation, to connect smart people, and to surface problems technology might solve.
Caravan Studios hosted a recent Apps4Change event in partnership with Tech Liminal at The Port Workspaces in Oakland. The Apps4Change events convene developers who are making apps for social change and representatives from local nonprofits interested in using technology in their work. It's an uncommon pairing in the tech world, but an essential collaboration that breeds creativity and critical thinking.
Nonprofits have a deep understanding of community needs and can provide crucial information about what an appropriate solution might look like. Developers interested in social change are committed and curious about how to create technologies to solve problems. Caravan makes sure both groups have the time and space to demonstrate their ideas, to provide solid feedback and knowledge, and to consider the potential for future collaborations.
In that spirit, this event did not disappoint.
Below are the projects demoed at the Apps4Change event. If you want to get involved, we've also included a list of what each project needs.
To start off the event, we spotlighted a program that jumpstarts app development for nonprofits. Deep Datta from Code Alliance, a program of Benetech, showcased a program his organization developed that connects nonprofits to high-tech companies.
The philosophy behind the Code Alliance is to connect nonprofits with few technological resources to knowledgeable volunteers from larger tech companies. The program creates volunteer opportunities that last from 8 to 40 hours, spanning a weekend to a week-long commitment.
In order to be considered for a Code Alliance project, the project must be open source, the nonprofit must already be using the technology in the field, and it must have one engineer on staff.
CodeAlliance needs: Projects. Look over the criteria and complete the form if you have a project in mind.
Deep Datta, presenter http://codealliance.org @codeallianceorg
Track it Forward is a volunteer time-tracking app that allows volunteers to track their own time and see their progress. James McBryan demonstrated how an effective time-tracking app can help organizations recognize volunteer achievements and track the number of hours a volunteer works.
Organizations can create a volunteer log in just a few simple steps and then begin tracking hours and setting benchmark achievements.
Track It Forward needs: Customers, advice on how to price features, and marketing expertise.
James McBryan, presenter http://www.trackitforward.com
BlueLight is an app designed to optimize access to emergency services. It routes calls more effectively using sensors in smart phones. The app seeks to minimize wait times caused by call transfers from authorities such as state highway patrol to local providers. Call transfers can impact wait times during life-threatening emergencies. With BlueLight, callers are more quickly and efficiently connected to their local emergency services.
BlueLight needs: Awareness and partnerships.
Preet Anand, presenter Lauren Wilbanks, contact person https://getbluelight.com
The Out App was developed by Eddie Chun-Wei Chen to support youth coming out to friends and family. This clever app includes
Out App needs: Investors and marketing help.
Eddie Chun-Wei Chen, presenter www.outapp.org @comingoutapp
Hermes Translator uses text messaging to help users communicate with anyone, in any language in the world. Reid Chatham started this app to address the need to communicate more efficiently when traveling. The app uses machine translation. He says it's the world's first free messaging translator.
Hermes Translator needs: Android developer; investors.
Reid Chatham, presenter http://gethermes.com/
ChangeX is a platform that coaches students in technical skill building and design-thinking methods as they participate in social impact challenges. Cities, organizations, companies, and schools can create challenges for youth ages 13 – 24.Youth can learn 21st century skills as they participate in the challenges. Current ChangeX challenges run from two to six months with 50 to 50,000 learners.
ChangeX needs: Connections to youth and youth support organizations, experts, and funders (corporate or foundation).
Libby Falck, presenter http://www.changexedu.com @goChangeX
Uptrust seeks to assist people who are in the pre-trial process and at risk of missing their first court date.
A missed court date often results in jail time for defendants, even if they are nonviolent offenders. According to Uptrust, about 1 million defendants miss their first court date, costing the U.S. more than $9 billion a year to hold people in jail who are awaiting trial.
There are lots of reasons people miss court dates. Those reasons include a lack of access to transportation, mistrust of the judicial system and government, child-care costs and conflicts, and difficulty getting time off of work to appear. Jacob Sills discussed how Uptrust removes barriers by providing customized text message reminders, free transportation to court, and free child care for parents attending court. Uptrust works with trusted public officials to connect with defendants.
UpTrust needs: Connections to nonprofits working with people in the criminal justice system, introductions to community stakeholders, and client advocates/community liaisons to provide rides and resources.
Jacob Sills, presenter www.uptrust.com @UptrustOfficial
Centro Community Partners developed an app to assist low-income, at-risk, and minority entrepreneurs. They learn the nuts and bolts of building a successful business. The app features more than 25 unique activities that focus on strategy, market analysis, products and services, finances, and operations — something for every businessperson. The app coaches users on developing a business plan through a series of interactive activities.
Centro needs: Users; feedback.
Naldo Peliks, presenter www.centro-mobile.org @CentroCommunity
Apps4Change events happen every other month, and are not limited to the Bay Area. Follow Caravan Studios to receive details about the next event happening in the South Bay, and if you see something you like or would like to see at the next #Apps4ChangeDemo event, please let us know about it.
Images: Julia Kim, Caravan Studios
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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