“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Here at Counterpart, giving back and investing in the next generation have always been central to our culture. Many of us have had the privilege of being mentored throughout our careers. We have experienced the powerful impact it can have when another person mentors you, shares their wisdom and encourages you to set your goals high. Earlier this month we had the opportunity to host almost 85 students from Hamilton Southeastern High School. This is our third year hosting this field trip for students enrolled in the AP Computer Science Principles class. Many of these students are interested in a career in computer science or a related field.
As is key to any event involving students, we started the morning off with donuts. While getting their sugar rush, the students were welcomed by Mayor Scott Fadness, who talked about his commitment to building an engaging community that supports our schools. He shared about the CurioCity program, which Mayor Fadness started to promote stronger connections between students, businesses and the local community. He hopes more businesses like Counterpart will get involved and also encouraged students to do their part to serve in the community and give back to causes that are important to them.
Students also heard from Marlin Jackson, former cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts, before heading to their breakout sessions. Counterpart recently partnered with Marlin and his Fight for Life Foundation on a custom software for their Building Dreams program. Marlin challenged the students to work hard and set big goals for themselves. He shared about the importance of persevering through challenges and surrounding yourself with people that will help you succeed.
Students then broke into groups to rotate between four sessions:
- Project Overview– Counterpart walked students through a project lifecycle, using the Fight for Life project as an example. We shared about the power of networking and building relationships as it relates to the sales process. We talked about how we organize project details and then demonstrated the CSS and HTML design for just one element of the Building Dreams app. Finally, we talked about the problem-solving approach developers take to write code that brings an idea to reality.
- Starting with Why– Another Counterpart client, Community Launchpad, facilitated a breakout session to encourage students to better understand their ‘why.’ Braylon Hancock, Director of Innovation for Community Launchpad and Community Health Network, shared about how the foundation of any influential individual, technology, or company always starts with ‘why’ – the higher cause, or purpose of belief that inspires action. Students heard about examples like Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos and learned about the impact you can make both personally and professionally when you have clarity on the ‘why’, are disciplined in the ‘how,’ and consistent in the ‘what’. Students were then led through an exercise to help them start to explore life experiences that have shaped who they are to help draw clarity on their personal ‘why’.
- Developer Chat– Students split into smaller groups to meet with Counterpart developers and learn more about how they approach projects. They had an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback on any ideas or projects they were working on. These sessions helped students learn more about what a day in the life of a developer looks like.
- Hanabi– Students played the card game Hanabi to practice their strategic thinking skills and have some fun.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Some additional photos from throughout the day are here. We are grateful for the support from Mayor Fadness and Marlin Jackson, both of whom regularly champion the value of mentoring and giving back. Many thanks to the Community Launchpad team for partnering with us and challenging students to recognize opportunities for innovation and think outside the box. It’s exciting to see the ideas and talent of the next generation of programmers, entrepreneurs, and designers. We hope that other businesses and organizations will be motivated to join us in the spirit of giving back and seek out opportunities to connect with students from our community.