'The Nano Hacker Squad'... Cute name, right? When I first met this intelligent crew of six smart youngsters, they were of the ages 8-13, and hailing from Westchester to WIlliamsburg to the Far Rockaways.
They originally met while participating in the saturday afternoon coding sessions organized by Coder Dojo NYC, (which meets about once a month here at ThoughtWorks). Given that each of the youngsters was finding success and their curiosity growing, these kids decided to band together and organize The Nano Hacker Squad. They would meet twice per week and build upon their coding knowledge.
Though the tangible accomplishments of the Nano Hackers can be touted, and tweeted about, I think the real win for our community of passionate technologists is the personal and emotional growth of these kids. Towards the beginning, when we barely knew each others' names, their voices and actions were yielding and meek. Because of the immense amount of support and guidance from Pedro and their families, the personal relationships between the Nano Hackers grew beyond differences in age, knowledge, and socioeconomic status. Before long, they were assertive in their opinions were able to collaborate and debate, and claim ownership over their ambitious projects. They now spend time together outside of the coding sessions, and have sleepovers, and are forming deeper friendships.