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Chacha Sikes: Why I’m Coding for America

I found Code for America while searching for projects that combine software development with public service.

Personally, I am interested in how we create workshops for citizens to participate in co-creating tools that will benefit our communities. Specifically, I am interested in working on issues connected to land use, parks, community gardens, food and other living systems.

I used to work in science museums. City partnerships often seemed out of scope. But it was obvious to me that facilitating collaboration between museums, cities and schools, citizens and business development – these collaborations might just lead to solving the many problems we face.I like event organizing, and I hope to learn how to blend large city-wide events with real, but informal learning opportunities.

This past summer, I organized a project-based learning project. As a group, we discussed and specified a social media platform for documenting city-wide gardening events. This platform was relatively simple, and I was able to use this platform as a guide for teaching learners about open source development.

A project that played with us this summer, was the Hayes Valley Farm, an urban farm sponsored by the City of San Francisco. This farm is an experimental launchpad for how vacant land might be used by communities as new green space. It is a crazily successful farm. Through collaborating with this farm, remotely, we generated lots of technology ideas that can integrate with experimental urban agriculture spaces.

In both of these instances, there are so many opportunities for learning and engaging while also building community. I hope to expand this.

I am passionate about the resource-sharing movement. I see resource-sharing in little ways, everyday – in my open source community, in community farms and gardens. My goal is to help more people get on-board: empowered and able to contribute.

I like the Code for America idea very much, and know that having the support, challenge of other smart developers, and passionate leaders will enable me to give my unique voice to help improve our country for all.