Students of the Zaban Center of Hope Bring Real Meaning to “Explosive Ideas and Powerful Connections.”

SuperNova South is more than just a week-long conference in October. While our conference is our main event, we believe in increasing accessibility to education and inspiring innovation all year long. Which is why we were thrilled to partner with General Assembly, Decode Academy, and the City of Atlanta to bring a full day of hands-on learning to 32 high school students from the Zaban Center, one of the Centers of Hope established by Mayor Kasim Reed.

Centers of Hope is an after school program that provides recreation for youth. As Mayor Reed puts it, “Investing in children to help them realize their full potential is a moral imperative”. With 33 recreation centers, the project is built on five pillars: academic enrichment, health and fitness, character and leadership development, technology, and community.

We here at SuperNova South are proud to lend a hand in furthering multiple pillars – technology, character and leadership development, academic enrichment, and community – by encouraging Atlanta’s youth to take part in the city’s thriving tech industry and to use their creativity to push boundaries and become innovators.

Valerie Bushar of Decode Academy summed up the spirit of the day :

“We want to prepare children for the technological revolution [that] is taking place. Teaching them 21st century skills is one of the best ways to do this.”

Students had a full day of learning these skills. The first speaker, Chuck Barlow, captivated the audience with his experience in working with students and contestants on Shark Tank.


Next, students heard from two of the founding partners of Brain Rain Solutions. They have helped to create apps for T.I. and Ludacris, which the students found pretty impressive! They tasked the students with identifying a problem and asked them to wireframe three screens of an app to solve the issue. In a mere seven minutes, the Zaban students brainstormed and pitched incredibly innovative concepts! We were blown away by their creativeness.


The students wrapped up the day with an entrepreneurial Q&A session with some pretty fabulous prizes, including an electronics learning lab kit .

We were so proud to be a part of a day filled with explosive ideas, where the next generation of techies got their chance to shine.

Please visit the Centers of Hope site to check out their volunteer opportunities. The folks over there are doing amazing things for the youth of Atlanta.

Thank you to General Assembly & Decode Academy for helping us to host the event, and thank you to Tacos and Tequila for generously working with us to provide food.

And of course, thank you to the students of the Zaban Center for inspiring us with your amazing creativity and passion. We hope to have you as SuperNova South speakers in a few years!

1 Response

  1. I love seeing technologists get involved with the city’s youth initiatives. Atlanta has an amazing brain trust to leverage for the benefit of our young people. I hope more events and partnerships like these occur more frequently, and it becomes an upward moving trend for our community.

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