A Queens man reinvented his life after prison; he’s using technology to help young people in his New York City Housing Authority development break the cycle of poverty by learning how to code.
Jason Gibson grew up at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City. He says he was surrounded by crime and drugs. At one time, he was a drug dealer in the neighborhood. After going to prison, he turned his life around. Now he’s back to teach computer technology.
Gibson was incarcerated back in 2013. After his release in 2019, Gibson wanted to give back. He started Hood Code, a free after-school coding program for kids ages 8 – 15 years old living in public housing.
Now more than 200 children from seven different NYCHA developments across the city have taken Gibson’s Hood Code classes, including Tiandra Banks’s 9-year old daughter Skylee from the Lexington Houses in East Harlem.
Banks say she say a flyer in 2020, and enrolled Skylee. Two years later, she still learning and is one of Gibson’s star coders. He says many of his students are on their way to pursuing computer science programs in high school and college.
Gibson says he envisions Hood Code class in every NYCHA development. Gibson is one step closer to making it happen. He’s a 2022 David Prize finalist. The nonprofit initiative gives a $200,000 prize to help finance some of New York City’s up and coming nonprofits and small businesses. Making his community proud.
Classes start this fall on Zoom and in person at three NYCHA developments in East Harlem, on the West Side and in Long Island City. There’s still space in class, just go to their site.