Summer Bridge: Designing an App with NYC Youth
In late August, LeagueApps had the opportunity to participate in the Summer Bridge Program in NYC. With over 50 non-profit partners and a goal of placing 35,000 low-income students aged 14-24, this is the nation’s largest youth employment program! The Summer Bridge program prioritizes low-income, justice-involved, foster care, runaway and homeless young adults from communities hit hardest by the pandemic, and the goals are career-exploration, skill development, community building and networking – and, like any job, students get paid.
LeagueApps was delighted to be involved with the program to work with young people, give students a window into working in the technology industry, and work together with them to help develop their ideas for building new digital products.
LeagueApps outlined an authentic design challenge for the students to tackle, and introduced the product process — understand people, define your problem, explore potential solutions, refine ideas based on feedback. The students would have two weeks to work independently and together, share ideas, get feedback and coaching from LeagueApps teammates, and finally present their proposed solutions back to the group and LeagueApps.
Challenge: Design an app that helps players stay connected to one another both during and after COVID-times.
Whether or not they play sports, the students understood the incredible need to stay in touch with their friends, their mentors, and their community during this time. This challenge helped the LeagueApps team learn directly from our audience of young adults and provide insights to guide the next phases of our own mobile app projects. This challenge made it real and meaningful for everyone.
The first two sessions had all the familiar challenges and opportunities of remote instruction and collaboration in schools around the country these days. Students were admirably brave and generous in sharing their own ideas and giving feedback on others’ ideas. By the third sessions, we were blown away by the creativity, variety, and variety of ideas the Summer Bridge students came up with — from nutrition tracking, team communication (do we need another messaging platform — actually, maybe!), workout challenges and studying playbooks.
The team is grateful to have been a part of the Summer Bridge program, and especially for the students’ commitment and follow through. We’re beyond inspired and look forward to implementing some of their ideas on the app and being part of Summer Bridge in Summer 2021!