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By Chanell
I wasn’t new to the concept of the “Meetup”, as I am a member of dozens of them from Fashionistas in New York City to Single in New York City Meet-Ups!  However, the concept of the Hive Youth Meet-up was a new concept for me; and when I began working at Global Kids,  I was thrown into the mix of them.  My boss gave his best explanation to me of the Hive NYC and of the Hive Youth Meet-Ups they organize, but it wasn’t until I experienced my first one did I fully understand what they were all about.  

On a chilly morning on Sunday, November 9th of last year, I ventured out to the Beam Center in Brooklyn to attend my first Hive Youth Meetup.  When I first walked into the Center, there were a sprinkle of youth present, but the majority present were adults.  We sat around and munched on the cookies and chips provided waiting for the “kiddies”, as I like to call them, to show up.  Since the Meetup started at 11:00am, I figured most of the youth were probably just rolling out of bed, and would be on their way as soon as they could … as I remember loving to sleep in on a Sunday morning as a young person.  

We finally got a decent number of youth around noonish, and we started a very instructional heavy workshop on the Raspberry Pi, a credit card-sized single-board computer developed with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science. The adults in the room were sprinkled around the tables where the youth were sitting to help the youth if need be; but, since there was only one true Raspberry Pi expert in the room, he had to float around to the tables when the coding and programming that he was teaching was not working.  After the Raspberry Pi workshop ended, a number of youth who participated in different Hive membership organization programs gave presentations on the programs and on their creations.

At the end of the Hive Youth Meetup, I had some clarity of what the Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network, better known as the Hive NYC, was about.  Formally speaking, it is a city-wide laboratory where educators, technologists, and mentors design innovative, connected educational experiences for youth.  Together, these institutions create an ecosystem of opportunities for young people to explore their interests and develop key 21st-century skills.  The youth definitely had the potential to develop key 21st-century skills with learning how to code with the Raspberry Pi, and I was beginning to see this “ecosystem” of opportunities through the network of organizations. But, I needed more, and I wondered if the youth who participated also needed more.  

My second Hive Youth Meetup experience gave me “the more” that I was looking for.  This time, the Meetup took place on a Wednesday this January at 6:00pm.  With the change in the day of the week and the later time, the kiddies were not asleep, and over 20 youth divulged upon the Hamilton Fish Park Recreation Center in the Lower East Side to participate in the Meetup.  For this one, the youth learned basic journalism and reporting skills from Radio Rookies, a New York Public Radio initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities, and their world.  

In an interactive workshop, the youth were taught how to perform a street interview.  Participants first saw a fun cartoon with voice overs from current participants in the Radio Rookies initiative, and then they were paired off to perform interviews with one another on the topic, “Your First Crush.”  The room was abuzz with chatter and giggles as both the youth and adults in the room reminisced about their first crushes.  I even strolled down memory lane when I was asked how my first crush made me feel.    

It was great to see the youth participate in such an extremely fun and interactive workshop where they learned the valuable life-long skill of interviewing.  Actually, in interacting together, we ALL learned valuable skills during the Radio Rookies workshop – which made it click for me that this is what the Hive and the Youth Meetup’s they organize are all about!  Since things clicked for me, someone new to the Hive, during this Meetup, I am pretty sure it clicked for the Youth that participated.  Changing the day from a Sunday to a Wednesday, the time from the morning to early evening, the workshop format from instruction heavy to interactive, and might I add, serving the kiddies pizza instead of cookies and chips, drastically improved the second Meetup from the first.  

I came to know that New York City’s youth who participate in programs at any one of the Hive’s network organizations, such as Global Kids, indeed, have the opportunity to experience and explore an array of 21st-century skills. For instance, at Global Kids, youth gain game design skills, whereas at Radio Rookies, they gain journalism skills.  But all-in-all, at Hive Youth Meetups, youth are able to explore all of the different opportunities that the Hive’s network organizations have to offer.  

If YOU want to learn more about the amazing opportunities that Hive NYC offers, click here.

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