Who We Are

History, Mission and Leadership

Equipping The Next Generation of Creators & Makers

CODE FOR LIFE is an exciting new collaborative initiative that unites Nyack CollegePraxis Connections, 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: Responsive Programming

Code for Life grew out of several conversations with neighborhood faith-based and community leaders who care deeply about the youth and young adults living in the neighborhoods they serve. These leaders requested that Chris Troy of Praxis Connections develop a neighborhood-focused effort that partners local churches and community organizations to equip youth and young adults with the skills they need to thrive in the new economy. A Design Team was established and Code for Life was then developed in partnership with Nyack College, the technology community, local church partners, and Praxis Connections. This model is a collective impact approach coalescing a range of stakeholders to reach shared outcomes for youth living in under-resourced communities through youth and tech development. 

The Code for Life design team developed the project-based Creator & Maker Cross Training curriculum framework, which not only equips sixth to 12th graders with web, mobile, and hardware development skills, but also exposes them to the creative process, collaboration, social innovation, and design that culminate in a Capstone Project that encapsulates their learning. The Code for Life staff then fleshed out an actual curriculum for implementation. Code for Life’s Creator & Maker approach seeks to transform the way youth and young adults view themselves and their futures by helping them become creators and makers of technology, rather than mere consumers and users.

Leadership

Chris Troy

Chris Troy

President, Founder

Chris Troy has over thirty-five years of non-profit, youth development, and ministry experience, and has seen his work impact the communities and lives of at-risk youth and families. During his time in Boston, as founder and president of the Boston Urban Youth Foundation, Mr. Troy established youth ministry programs in partnership with sixteen of Boston’s public schools that facilitated dramatic improvements in the lives of chronically truant students and became the subject of a Harvard Graduate School of Education study. Truancy among the highest risk students was reduced by fifty-three percent in the first year and by sixty-eight percent in the second year. Mr. Troy also created a successful scholarship program that placed students in parochial schools. As a result of both the truancy and scholarship programs, over two hundred youth from high poverty neighborhoods attended college. For these and other initiatives under Mr. Troy’s leadership, the Boston Urban Youth Foundation has received recognition from the Lumina Foundation College Pathways Network, EdVestors, and the Social Innovation Forum.

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 Baah

Brandon Baah

Lead Instructor

Brandon Baah combines full stack web development expertise with his youth development & case management skills to empower and equip young people with the life and tech skills they will need to thrive in life. Brandon states that coding teaches problem-solving skills to create solutions! Born in Brownsville and raised in both Atlanta & Brooklyn he is a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn and of SUNY College at Old Westbury with a BS in Public Health.

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 are kept busy with their two young children. They are active members of the Bridge Church in Brooklyn.

Industry Advisory

Aisha Taylor Google
Estelle Kone Goldman Sachs
Romanita Hairston Microsoft
Bruce Grant Applied Value
Nicole Valentine Synergy Business Development
Jeff Smith Smith LLC
Dawn Hayes Laguardia Community College
John Acevedo Harlem Village Academies

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