Hoboken HOPES CAP Gets Best Buy Grant to Teach Digital Entrepreneurial Skills to Teens

HOPES CAP (community action partnership), a community organization in Hoboken, received a grant from The Best Buy Children’s Foundation to provide a free-to- students Teens and Digital Media program in Hoboken.

The object of the program, according to HOPES Caps spokeswoman Dominique Tornabe, is to connect low income youth with the entrepreneurial skills, digital media expertise and social media exposure necessary for success in a 21st Century, technology-driven economy.

The end goal is to develop a core group of teen entrepreneurs who have the ability to utilize technology to improve the quality of their community and their lives.

According to Tornabe, the organization realized that the teen segment of its constituency had been underserved.

At the same time Hoboken resident Jack Zerby-- a designer, startup entrepreneur and cofounder of Flavors.me, Goodsie.com, and Hiidef Inc. who already volunteered with the organization-- wanted to help create a program that would serve this demographic.

Participants will develop the ability to utilize social media, open source software and other technologies to advance their own business or social enterprise concepts.

Initially, HOPES CAP thought it would offer the program to 24 students, but as word got out about the initiative “we are looking at serving 90 students” through the program, Tornabe said. The organization is working with local community partners such as local schools. The students will come to the organization’s building at 301 Garden Street where there is a bank of computers to use.

Some of the exact nature of the courses is up in the air. Depending on the community partner, the Teens and Digital Media program could be offered after school or as an elective. The courses will take a minimum of ten weeks to complete.

Tornabe said that the Teen and Digital Meida program arrived on the heels of Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s declaration to make Hoboken a Tech Hub.

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