Cupertino Library Holds Teen Social Justice App Challenge, Rewards Teen Innovation

For Immediate Release
August 30, 2018

"Be the Change" theme of effort to combat societal problems


SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – August 30, 2018 – Cupertino Library recently announced the winners of its Teen App Design Challenge. The contest, organized by the Teen Services Librarian-Matt Lorenzo and the Cupertino Library’s Teen Advisory Board (TAB), sought to inspire young people to come up with digital solutions to some of the most pressing societal issues.
 
For two months, 70 local teenagers learned how to code a working application and connect it to various electronic databases available through the Santa Clara County Library District. They worked in teams to create their apps and produced three-minute commercials to promote them. Participants also took part in a workshop about social justice activism and how to safely and effectively respond to a hate crime.
 
“Seeing all of the hard work, creativity, and compassion these teens put into the App Challenge reminds me of a timeless quote by Dr. Seuss,” said Lorenzo. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” (The Lorax)
 
The top finishers are as follows: 1) The Hapi App, which seeks to help those dealing with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts through an innovative online diary format that doubles as a virtual social worker with recommendations for how to improve social interactions; 2) The Teresa App, which makes it easy for restaurants and caterers who have surplus food they wish to donate to connect with local food banks and pantries, thereby helping the hungry; and 3) The Salutem App, which connects everyday people with a room to lend out to refugees across the globe who are fleeing from tough situations and need a place to stay.
 
Both the library staff and teens were moved by the experience. “Participating in the Social Justice Teen App Challenge gave us the exciting opportunity to use our computer science knowledge to innovate and showcase a practical solution for psychological depression--a subtle, social injustice that affects all walks of life,” said Jasmine Lee of Team Hapi. “We hope our application will make a positive impact on the lives of others and potentially change the world.”

A panel of judges ranked the submissions. Team Hapi received $500 in gift cards, while Team Teresa members received $250 in gift cards, and members of Team LLT (creators of the Salutem App) received $100 in cards. The contest and program series was sponsored by the Friends of the Cupertino Library.
 
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About the Santa Clara County Library District
 
The Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) promotes knowledge, ideas, and cultural enrichment. Its collection includes more than 2 million books, videos, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, eBooks and extensive online resources accessible from home or work. In 2014, SCCLD celebrated one hundred years of service to local residents. For the last several years, SCCLD has been consistently recognized as one of America’s Star Libraries by Library Journal. In 2017, SCCLD was ranked among the top ten large libraries in the United States in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. In 2014 and 2015, SCCLD won Innovator Awards from the Urban Libraries Council.

The Santa Clara County Library District includes two bookmobiles, an online library, seven community libraries and one branch library serving Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. In 2017, the Santa Clara County Library District had more than 328,000 library cardholders and welcomed 3.2 million visitors, who borrowed over 9 million items.

Contact:
Nancy Howe/Diane Roche/Erik Sanjurjo
Santa Clara County Library District
(408) 293-2326 ext. 3001/3080/3014