UD students participated in a 24-hour coding competition as part of an international technology initiative of JPMorgan Chase.

Code chase

Students code through the night for local nonprofits

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8:22 a.m., Nov. 21, 2013--For 24 consecutive hours, University of Delaware students joined college students from around the region to work through the night to solve technological issues for a local nonprofit. 

They were participating in the Delaware Code for Good Challenge, part of JPMorgan Chase’s Technology for Social Good, an international initiative of competitions designed to put technology in the hands of passionate people and help local communities and nonprofit organizations increase efficiencies.

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UD students Michael Balles and Alice Guerrieri were among some of the 62 students from 18 universities who participated in the challenge. The coding competition benefited The Good Life Organization, a global organization that works with a bottom-up curriculum that fosters youth development, and Milford Housing, an organization that aims to provide safe, affordable housing solutions to people of modest means in Delaware.

“The Code for Good Challenge is an excellent opportunity for students to make use of the technical skills that they acquire in school,” said Balles, a mechanical engineering student with a minor in computer science who was one of the challenge winners last year. “We were able to use our creativity and brainpower to help out good causes and have fun at the same time.”

Guerrieri, also a student in engineering, called the experience “exhilarating.”

“At times it was difficult to stay awake to work through our issues but it was definitely worthwhile,” said Guerrieri. 

Although they didn’t place, Balles and Guerrieri said they were glad they participated and it sparked an interest to continue good work.

“After my fellow team members and I pushed ourselves to find creative solutions to help deserving nonprofits with their technology issues, I realized I could see myself participating in future events like this for a good cause,” said Guerrieri.

The winning team of students from Pennsylvania State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University, leveraged Moodle, a web application for modular learning-based solutions, to build a web- and mobile-enabled platform for The Good Life Organization to distribute curriculum.

About The Good Life Organization

Good Life co-founders Roberto Rivera and Jennifer Moy aim to build a culturally relevant movement that seeks to sustain change on a community level. The organization has architected a research-based curriculum, the Fulfill the Dream Program, which targets social issues in youths ages 8 to 18. 

In order to help educators activate communities and take on the negative trends facing youth, Good Life is creating programs that inspire kids to create change. These programs can be utilized in school, after-school or between peers to stimulate dialogue and evoke critical reflection. 

Technology has increased the velocity with which ideas are shared, creating a social network of students. Rivera believes in the momentum of change that the digital age has inspired.

About Milford Housing

Milford Housing Development Corp. (MHDC) is a value-driven, nonprofit, affordable housing developer providing services throughout Delaware. Their mission is to provide decent, safe and affordable housing solutions to people of modest means.

MHDC was founded in 1977 by a group of concerned local citizens who saw a need for housing in the community and took action to remedy the situation. Their efforts resulted in MHDC becoming Delaware’s leading nonprofit provider of affordable housing.

Utilizing a comprehensive approach, MHDC offers a continuum of affordable housing services. These included transitional housing, rental housing, self-help housing, home repairs and rehabilitation, financial fitness, property management, preservation, construction-based job training, single-family new construction, and engineering and site design.

Article by Christopher Hannigan

Photos courtesy of JPMorgan Chase

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