Knowledge that doesn't lead to action makes you a fool

“From 2010-2013 I had the opportunity to learn as much as I wanted. I had no financial obligations and could spend my time virtually how I pleased. I read all the books that I wanted to and I had many successful people from various industries that were eager to answer any questions I had. For 3 years I was in federal prison and I learned more in that time than I did in 4 years of college.”

The above paragraph was from an article I wrote for opportunityof.com about how “Learning that leads to knowledge makes you a fool… unless it leads to action”.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Mapping a new landscape for returning citizens in Washington, D.C.

Community leaders, Laurin and Teresa Hodge, co-directors of Mission Launch, Inc., are laying the foundation to make the District a “re-entry friendly city” to people retuning home from prison. And Impact Hub DC is honored to be a part of it. The seeds of this bold vision are sprouting from a broad-based community innovation effort called “Rebuilding Re-entry,” which kicked off November 2014 at Impact Hub DC with the first ever hackathon focused on solving the challenges faced by citizens returning from prison.

As the first 3-day reentry focused hackathon of its kind: Rebuilding Re-entry inspirited feelings of community, commitment, creativity, and collaboration for it’s participants innovating inside Impact Hub DC. This is the inaugural event of our long term and bold  movement around returning citizens.

IMG_3747

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Unlocking the FCC data at Hack for Western Mass

A team of civic-minded hackers in Western Massachusetts have built a tool to make it easier for advocates, policymakers and journalists to access documents and weigh in on telecommunications debates currently before the Federal Communications Commission.

Critical debates about telecommunications policy are archived in plain sight on the FCC’s website, but they are organized in a way that’s extremely difficult to use. Focusing on just one issue currently before the FCC — the possible creation of price caps to reduce the $1/minute cost of phone calls from prisons and jails — the team created an alternative interface for the FCC’s data. This dataset was particularly challenging because it includes the comments of about 100,000 people in approximately 7,000 pdf files, and the content ranged from well-formatted pdf files to bad scans of handwritten letters from incarcerated people.

Challenge representative Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative explaining how the FCC organizes data by separate “proceedings”. (Photo: Stephen Brewer)

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Estella's Brilliant Bus #Empowering Kids

With so many powerful and funny and kitschy commercials during the Super Bowl one stood out because the subject of the commercial, Estella Pyfrom stands out.

Microsoft’s #empowering advertisement push that launched during the Super Bowl featured Estella’s Brilliant Bus. The computer giant couldn’t pick a better subject. The retired teacher who used her pension to launch a bus that travels around and teaches tech to kids from disaffected communities is a gem. The idea is unique, its impact measurable and its mobility a way to reach far more than most classroom models.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

DC Open211 at the Rebuilding Re-entry Hackathon

“Being in prison was tough. But coming back — it’s like, that was tougher.”

People coming home from prison are growing in numbers and they face serious disadvantages. They haven’t simply lost time. Those who "re-enter" society (often known as “returning citizens”) struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, a lack of technological skills, social stigma, and even significant barriers to employment and services.

Given the complexity of these structural challenges, this month's Rebuilding Re-Entry Hackathon (the first of its kind, organized by Laurin and Teresa Hodge of Mission: Launch) was described as the initiation of a “social justice laboratory”—a space for people with different backgrounds and perspectives to work together with a shared purpose. The event was led by people who have personal experience with the prison system and the challenges of re-entry, and about half a dozen “civic hacking teams” explored different aspects of this social dilemma.

 

Read more
Add your reaction Share