Laptop for Boys in Tech

During the summer this year, we launched The Shuri Project, a technology mentoring program for girls with the goals of keeping them safe during the summer and increasing their tech aptitude and interest. The program resulted in the following outcomes:

100% increase in web development skills
40% increase in general literacy skills
70% increase in digital literacy skills
90% increase in exposure to tech and STEM careers
97% increase in self-esteem and self-image
97% increase in communication skills, including public speaking
82% increase in interest to learn more about tech
64% increase in interest to learn more about STEM
30% decrease in anxiety
40% decrease in disruptive behavior

With the successful implementation and planned expansion of The Shuri Project, our attention has turned to the unique needs of boys ages 8-18.  As such, we are launching The T’Challa Project in Chicago's Roseland community in the summer 2019. Similar to The Shuri Project, The T’Challa Project is also a technology mentoring program with the goal of keeping boys safe and increasing technology aptitude and exposure, however the pedagogy is different. Specifically, a rites of passage program approach will be utilized with life skills and character development learning objectives being matched to technology and STEM exposure skill-building activities. Like The Shuri Project, boys who successfully complete The T'Challa Project will earn a laptop as part of our commitment to increasing access to technology and broadband.

Chicago continues to be a tough place to grow up depending on what zip code you reside in. Almost daily we hear about gun violence on the south and west sides of Chicago.  At HWLF, we can't help but think if both the shooters and the victims were in this program, what would they be doing today, together. Maybe building a robot for a competition? Or maybe coding a new gaming app that would be the next Fortnite? We can save lives and make a difference! The T'Challa Project is committed to working in communities that are disengaged, disenfranchised, devalued through disinvested, and disproportionately affected by risk factors.


Why T'Challa?

Census data show that in 2010, African-American men made up 6.2 percent of the population between 18 and 64 years old. But in the same year, the National Science Foundation reported that black men represented just 3 percent of scientists and engineers working in those fields. Many of the roadblocks that prevent young, African-American men from pursuing careers in STEM are the lack of resources, role models and "relatability." The solution to encourage more men to work toward STEM careers is to start teaching and engaging students sooner, and work to dispel the curse of self-doubt. But the problems are complicated and magnified for black male students because of systemic problems of perception and low expectations. The T'Challa Project refutes this notion.

We believe in The T’Challa Project and most importantly the boys who will grow, learn, dream, and stay safe next summer in Chicago. The T'Challa Project is inspired by King T'Challa from the movie Black Panther. In the movie, T'Challa was a community leader, a diplomat, an innovator, and a warrior. Our boys can be all of those and more. The T'Challa Project is designed to not only improve skill levels, but to plant seeds in households and communities to discover the many career paths that touch tech and improve quality of life opportunities. 

This project has four major goals:

• To  keep boys safe and improve overall health (emotional, mental, social, and physical)
• To improve communication and interpersonal skills
• To improve general and digital literacy and increase technical aptitude
• To increase workforce development skills and exposure to tech careers

At the end of the six-week program, all youth participants:

• Complete Rites of Passages Program
• Build their own website and publicly presents them to an audience
• Create a resume, cover letter, and participate in a mock job interview
• Present at a local conference

Youth that complete The T'Challa Project receive 140 hours of participatory instructional time, 30 hours of nutrition time, 20 hours of recreation, 15 hours in tech career workshops, and 10 hours in arts. Additionally, students who successfully complete the program are awarded certificates of completion at a community-based graduation held in their honor and are provided with an earned learning incentive of keeping the laptop used during their learning time.

THE ASK: Laptops for our boys

Your generous donation will help The T'Challa Project provide a laptop for each boy to use and take home with them after the program. For most of our boys, this will be the first time they will ever own a technological gadget. This campaign will run until the end of #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and communities in countries around the world. 

This gift will be an incredibly powerful and life-changing one as it will provide our boys with access to all the tools they need to unleash their potential. Every little donation will make a difference. Please help me make this a reality for our future T'Challas.


  • Rachel Whisenant 
    • $20 
    • 10 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 10 mos
  • Daniel O'Neil 
    • $100 
    • 10 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 11 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 11 mos


Kyla Williams 
Chicago, IL
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