Who We AreHistory, Mission and Leadership
Praxis Connections’ Collaborative Solution: Skill Building for a New Economy
CODE FOR LIFE is an exciting new collaborative initiative that unites Praxis Connections, Nyack College, the tech community, and local church partners. CODE FOR LIFE combines the proximity of (and therefore ease of access to) neighborhood churches, the resources of Nyack College’s math and science departments, and the expertise of technology professionals to bring practical tools for professional and economic success to kids living in high poverty neighborhoods. CODE FOR LIFE employs a theory and methodology of change that will transform the way young people view themselves and their future through vision casting, life and technology coaching, case management, positive peer group experiences, and skill building—especially as it relates to coding.
By participating in CODE FOR LIFE, young people in high-poverty neighborhoods can develop practical life skills and the technological proficiency they’ll need to thrive for the rest of their lives. Our mission at CODE FOR LIFE is to create an onramp to the new technology economy for the young people living in high-poverty neighborhoods by means of a church-based technology program.
History: Discovering the Problem & the Solution
Praxis Connections’ President, Chris Troy, met monthly with hundreds of pastors and community leaders who are deeply committed to the communities of Harlem, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East Flatbush, Hunts Point, Mott Haven, Morrisania, and Highbridge. They discussed how to best meet the needs in their neighborhoods and improve the prospects for residents of their communities. A lack of access to technology-based education and resources was identified as an ever-widening gulf separating rich and poor students and putting the latter at an enormous disadvantage. Thus, CODE FOR LIFE was born as a means to equip young people living in poor communities for a positive future through technology-focused education. It was also decided that churches would provide a safe and familiar location for young people in the community to receive training in coding and other technology skills. In addition, these churches would provide the opportunity for participants to develop spiritually, emotionally, and academically.
Collaboration, partnership, innovation, research, and creative programming are all part of Mr. Troy’s background. Since forming Praxis Connections, Mr. Troy has worked with the Luis Palau Association to develop twenty-four church-based, neighborhood-focused collaborations with over three hundred churches that work in the areas of justice, mercy, and education. Mr. Troy has also worked on several collaborative efforts in the high poverty neighborhoods of New York City to decrease poverty and increase opportunity. Code for Life is an effort that embodies Mr. Troy’s belief that we are all created with tremendous gifts & abilities and incorporates this to reduce poverty and increase opportunity throughout our city. Mr. Troy lives in his birthplace of Harlem and enjoys jazz & learning.
Brandon BaahTech & Life Coach
Prior to joining Code for Life Brandon worked as a Case Manager with the New York Foundation and in youth development as a volunteer with the Police Athletic League before becoming a Full Stack Web Developer through Actualize where he also worked as an Assistant Instructor before working at Blue World, Inc as an Application Developer. He now combines his gifts in youth development with his web development expertise to empower and equip young people living in under-resourced neighborhoods with the life and tech skills they need to thrive in today’s digitally driven economy!
Brandon and his wife Marika are kept busy with their two young children Tara and Titus. They are active members of the Bridge Church in Brooklyn.
Dawn C. HayesAdvisor
Dawn is the founder of COOL Labs (www.coollabs.org) and has taught at the City University of New York since 2010. She currently serves as the Lead Instructor and Program Associate at Laguardia Community College’s TechHire-Open Code (formerly TECH IMPACT) Web Development Boot Camp that provides career preparation for underemployed and unemployed young adults in New York City.
Dawn was born and raised in Queens where she started on her first computer at the age of 7. A Commodore 64 before earning a BA at Muskingum College and then pursuing graduate work at the ITP at NYU and Columbia University.
|Estelle Kone||Goldman Sachs|
|Bruce Grant||Applied Value|
|Nicole Valentine||Synergy Business Development|
|Jeff Smith||Smith LLC|
|Johnny Acevado||Coding & Robotics Instructor, New York Public Schools|
|Dawn C. Hayes||Adjunct Professor, CUNY & CEO of COOL Labs|
|Brett Sims Founder||Green Ready Alternative Energy Program|
|Melvin McCray||Columbia University|
|Andre Williams||The Williams Group|
|Rodney Soloman||Verisk Analytics|
|Pastor Charles Galbreath||Clarendon Road Church|
|Acknel Pierru||TRH Digital, LLC|
Community Connections for Youth
Murdock Charitable Trust
Dr. Charles Hammond
Exodus Transitional Community
67th Precinct Clergy Council
Dr. Marc Rivera
Primitiva Christian Church
Nicole Valentine Esq.
Synergy Business Development
Bishop Joseph Alexander
New Covenant Christian Ministries Worldwide
Dr. Harold Dean Trulear
Healing Communities USA & Howard University