AUSTIN, TX — On Saturday, June 8, Central Texas high school students will come up with solutions to address the real world issue of human trafficking at a unique hackathon hosted by the nonprofit, Whatever It Takes.
High school students from Austin-area schools will team up at the Smart City Saturday youth hackathon at the Google Headquarters in Downtown Austin. In collaboration with the City of Austin and local nonprofit organizations, these teens will leverage innovative thinking to develop solutions to address this community crisis.
With more than 79,000 minors and youth victims of sex trafficking in Texas, the hackathon challenges these young entrepreneurs to solve an issue that strikes close to home.
“If we want to solve the problems that are facing our youth, we need to bring them to the table to help find the solutions,” explained Sarah Hernholm, founder and president of Whatever it Takes, the nonprofit leading the hackathon “Smart City Saturday was created as an opportunity for teens to use their voice and to make tangible impact in their city,” she continued.
“Our youth are extremely vulnerable to traffickers,” explained Allison Franklin, a community advocate and human trafficking survivor who is the featured speaker and volunteering as a judge at the event .”Those who are closest to the problem are often the closest to the solution. What better way to empower our youth against this travesty than to give them a voice and engrave them in finding innovative solutions to this critical human rights issue.”
“The City of Austin sees real value in events like Smart City Saturday,” said Charles Purma, a City of Austin staffer also volunteering as a judge at the event. The City of Austin is partnering with the nonprofit leading the hackathon, Whatever it Takes. “For us, it is an opportunity to collaborate with citizens and the community for civic good,” Purma added.