Believe it or not, solving real community problems is not only difficult and inspiring, it's also a ton of fun! Turns out one of Angelica's ideas was sparked by a mishap with a pinball machine... Pictured: our community guest, Ms. Ross, and Khaled.

Believe it or not, solving real community problems is not only difficult and inspiring, it's also a ton of fun! Turns out one of Angelica's ideas was sparked by a mishap with a pinball machine... Pictured: our community guest, Ms. Ross, and Khaled.

Our students care about their community. A lot. Their passion for giving back never ceases to amaze us. When I say this, I really do mean their passion, not just the fact that they want to give back.

Over 90% of students at our school qualify for free and reduced lunch. To put this in perspective, in order to meet this qualification, a family of 4 must have a combined annual income of less than $31,525. Yes, you read that right.

Little-known fact: Denver Public Schools seldom calls snow days NOT because they want to squash the fun we would have in 6 inches of snow, but because very many of our students don't get breakfast or lunch if they don't come to school.

A teacher at our partner school, STRIVE Prep - Excel, recently had an idea about how we might address the issue of hunger in the community. She came to speak with HackSchool students to see if they could help.

We talked about solutions and spent a good chunk of time collaboratively brainstorming solutions and potential problems that might come up with our proposed solution. 

*Ahem* Side note: when I say "we," I mean the students. All I personally did was write their ideas on the board...so I really shouldn't take any credit here. *Anyway...*

Sebastian (with our guest, Ms. Ross) explaining his ideas for a mechanical security device for the "smart" pantry.

Sebastian (with our guest, Ms. Ross) explaining his ideas for a mechanical security device for the "smart" pantry.

We ended up deciding that we should create a "free food pantry" of sorts, where community members could leave and take free non-perishable food and school supplies. Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, our HackSchool students identified about 20 problems that we'll have to solve for as we move forward from theft/vandalism to safety to privacy for families. Luckily, we have some incredibly passionate and hard working students to help solve these problems!

Angelica discusses some of the pitfalls of security systems and the need to get it just right so that it (1) prevent theft as much as possible while (2) not making it too difficult for community members in need to use the pantry.

Angelica discusses some of the pitfalls of security systems and the need to get it just right so that it (1) prevent theft as much as possible while (2) not making it too difficult for community members in need to use the pantry.

Current Status:
We talked with school administrators on our North High School/STRIVE Prep - Excel shared campus to determine a location. Students then broke ground, cut support posts, and poured concrete footings which are drying as I write this. We're now in the process of breaking into sub-teams to tackle the various problems that students identified, and we're looking forward to making a real impact in our community this year!

There's a first time for everything! Breaking ground and pouring concrete footing for the "smart" pantry's support posts! Turns out it's hard  to get through bedrock with shovel...

There's a first time for everything! Breaking ground and pouring concrete footing for the "smart" pantry's support posts! Turns out it's hard  to get through bedrock with shovel...

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