Holland Bloorview

Interview with Possibility Engineering and Research Lab team

1. Who are you and what do you do?

The Possibility Engineering and Research Lab (PEARL) at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital develops and evaluates technologies that help kids with disabilities participate more meaningfully in arts, music, physical activities, and therapies.

2. What was your involvement in Gift the Code 2016?

PEARL, representing Holland Bloorview, worked with teams of hackathon participants to develop a series of switch-activated, accessible mini games and a web application for creating accessible, kid-friendly surveys with the aims of improving services and making it easier to collect data in research studies.

3. Why did you get involved?

We got involved to take advantage of the diverse range of talent and perspective of the hackathon participants, and to raise awareness of Holland Bloorview’s role in leading research in childhood disability.

4. What was your experience like at the event? Was it different from your expectations?

The experience was very positive. There were many of energetic, passionate participants, and what they produced in a weekend exceeded our expectations.

5. What were some of the positive outcomes from the event?

We have a couple of games that have been entertaining kids in the hospital all year.

6. Is there anything you want participants for this year’s Hackathon to know that you wish you had known?

Make sure your problems are fully developed – participants have many questions and want to be working on something worthwhile.




Prosper

It was an honour for Prosper Canada to participate in such an innovative initiative. We were impressed with the planning and execution of the hackathon. The dedication and energy of so many creative minds volunteering their time to solve our technology challenges was amazing to see. The solutions that were presented helped broaden our perspective on how technology can improve our operations and engagement with stakeholders.




Blake Boultbee

Interview with Daniel Egan

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Blake Boultbee Youth Outreach Service (BBYOS) has been providing long-term psychotherapy and counselling, life skills training and outreach for high-risk, vulnerable youth and families in Toronto since 1989.

2. What was your involvement in Gift the Code 2016?

BBYOS was one of six non-profit organizations invited by Capital One to participate in Gift the Code 2016.

3. Why did you get involved?

We came to the hackathon with the modest goals of finding someone to build a new, more dynamic website for BBYOS and to help us launch a social media presence to support our fundraising efforts.

4. What was your experience like at the event? Was it different from your expectations?

We didn’t have any experience with hackathons so we didn’t know what to expect. On Friday night, our hackathon teams probed us with insightful questions, drawing out technology needs that we hadn’t even identified yet. Sure, they would help us build a new website – but they would also start to build other tools, like a client management system, to help BBYOS become more effective. There was such an amazing spirit of generosity and creativity throughout the weekend. We were inspired by the hackathon participants’ intelligence, passion and drive to build something new and interesting.

5. What were some of the positive outcomes from the event?

One of our hackathon teams (TWG) continued volunteering past the weekend event by starting an in-depth process with us to rebrand BBYOS and build our new website consistent with the new logo and design concept. We’re launching the new logo, brand and website in September 2017.

6. Is there anything you want participants for this year’s Hackathon to know that you wish you had known?

Identify resources ahead of time that will help you follow through with ideas that emerge from the hackathon – build on the momentum created over the weekend. Keep the spark alight.