A story:
Growing up, my family didn't have a lot, and college was never a topic of conversation in our home. A few weeks into my senior year of high school, the art teacher walked through my computer class and saw me drawing. He asked my name and why he had never seen me in art. I told him what everyone else had told ME:
"It's too hard to make a living with art, and I should focus on something with more of a future." ...

The first FIND Cohort

Some stats:
90% of low income families only have access to information and technology via mobile device.
Only 3% of minorities make up the design and tech workforce.
Less than 30% of women make up the technology and art (STEAM) employment pool.
There are many factors, but a generationally perpetuated lack of access and/or support is common.

The mission of FIND is to close the innovation and wealth gap by providing the job skills and environment for under-recognized communities to grow their strengths and find a prosperous future. 

The very first FIND cohort in 2016 was only five students, and somehow, the universe dropped ME in front of them to teach design. Since then, the organization has expanded many times over. We have partnered with incredible tech companies, and have raised enough money to be able to hire paid staff. A lot has changed, and although I'm no longer in the classroom, I still get to volunteer as a board member. 
Where is she now?

Isabel was one of the original five FIND students. Before the program, she had not even considered working in tech, but once that door was opened to her, she charged through it…
Upon graduating from FIND, Isabel earned a scholarship to a coding boot camp and went on to get a programming certificate from the University of Utah. She is now building websites professionally and developing an indie video game on the side.
I have not asked her what her salary is, but she has said that her new gig is MUCH better than the minimum wage retail job she thinks she would still be in had it not been for FIND.
Since that first cohort, FIND has now served hundreds of young adults, and expanded to serve communities in rural Utah that used to depend on coal mining as the center of their economy. 
...my story continued:
That high school teacher arranged to have me transferred into his commercial art class (which I did not have the prerequisites for). He told me not to worry about specific projects, but when he called for assignments to be turned in, I would hand in whatever I was working on at the time. He introduced me to art shows and took me on tours of the art departments at local universities. Most importantly, he told me I COULD, when everyone else was saying I couldn't. It wasn't easy, but a few years later, I was the first one in my family to graduate college.
A mentor changed my life. If I can help just one young person find their path, that is worth more than any other project I might work on.

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