Shavonnah TièraNeon Initiative is an organization formed in a collaboration with the Las Vegas chapter of the National Urban League to introduce Las Vegas students to computer science and other STEM fields. Neon Initiative is a holding company for audacious ideas, projects and initiatives by #VegasTech’s own Shavonnah Tièra.
“The current name for the umbrella organization is iTech702,” explains Shavonnah Tièra. “Our first program is teaching students how to use HTML, CSS and Bootstrap to build a simple portfolio site.”
The Neon Initiative website calls those who are brand new to coding or have tinkered around styling pages in the past, to come together and register for the 5-week course.
“If you’re currently an 8th grader this is for you!” it reads.
Neon Initiative
“Our next step is partnering the students up with local small businesses in order to build simple websites,” Shavonnah Tièra says. “And pay them to do so! Experiential education is our core mission. If they can’t use it later or benefit someone while they’re learning, what’s the point?”
She explains that in the United States, only one in ten schools teach students how to code.
“Unless you are lucky enough to win the local magnet school lottery,” she goes on, “the opportunities in Las Vegas are even fewer. Our goal is to introduce 8th graders to computer science by showing them how to make real world projects that they can utilize beyond the workshop. As VegasTech grows, we must cultivate the next generation of developers, engineers, and all around doers to continue the type of growth in technology that will sustain long-term.”
Interested in getting involved?
“One of our main focuses is to incorporate the greater community as much as possible in our workshops,” Shavonnah Tièra  explains. Cash is of need, but if you are looking for other ways to get involved, she shared 5 ways you can help with this project:
#1 – Time! Volunteers with any level of front-end web development skills to help teach students
#2 – Advanced developers to help with a summer program to teach javascript, iOS and android development
#3 – Opportunities for students to build basic sites or landing pages for companies
#4 – Mentoring of students who want to continue their exploration into programming
#5 – Licenses for software is helpful too!
About The Las Vegas Urban League: The Las Vegas Urban League is a 501(c)3 non-profit and was previously designated by the governor to be Nevada’s premier Community Action Agency. They provide services from nutrition to education to low-income families and are well on their way to introducing more programming to raise economic opportunities for their constituents.