My name is Savaughn Jones and I am raising money for tuition into the Hack Reactor coding bootcamp in San Francisco.
After getting laid off from my job because of a computer system update, I decided it was finally time to pursue my dream of being a software engineer. I have wanted to do this ever since high school. It is hard for young people who grow up in poverty to get into the computer science field. I barely had a home growing up let alone a computer.
Poor black kids have trouble getting into fields like this because there is barely any information about STEM fields out there in those environments. When you grow up being surrounded by drug abuse and domestic violence as well a homelessness, nobody tells you to go and become a computer guy. Doctors and lawyers are the only high-profile professions that have any sort of cultural presence in poor communities.
I had to wait until I became an adult to gain knowledge about this field and I love it. It is very challenging and also very rewarding to me. With only 2 months under my belt, I have come a long way and I was able to get into the Hack Reactor boot camp program. The graduates of this program have a 98% hire rate with a starting salary average of 104k+ a year.
My friend / roommate has been trying to get me to do this for years. He is an alum at Hack Reactor and he says it changed his life. He has actually helped another friend improve his life greatly in the same way he is trying to help me. After the aforementioned layoff and a very uncertain living situation, I decided to take a leap of faith in myself.
I felt like all of the work I put in and all of the work I was going to have to put in was going to be worth it. All of the bad things in life that I have gone through and witnessed my family go through would be worth it because I was going to bust my butt and become a damn good software engineer. I was finally going to be able to help my family and friends the way they have helped me my entire life.
When I I was debating the decision to leave my life on the east coast behind to become a programmer, I was very hesitant because of the money. I knew it was going to cost a bit, but my roommate told me to just focus on getting in and worry about the money later. I thought the hard part was going to be getting in, but it was relatively easy compared to finding the money to pay for it. I’m looking into other channels and my roommate is trying to call in some favors to work something out, but it doesn’t look like there is much out there for me.
One of the other challenges that young people from poor backgrounds face is finding money for school. Growing up, it was just assumed that you could get money for school for being smart and being on welfare. When I got to college I was almost turned away because I had didn’t have enough money for school. I had to take some very desperate loans at a metaphorical gunpoint or have my grandparents send me money for a bus ticket to go back home. I wanted to be the first person in my family to graduate from college and I decided to go for it. I t was also assumed that you got a good job after college. I thought you just went to school and did your work that you would get a good job. There was so much I didn’t know about making college a worthwhile experience. I knew nothing about networking or getting into bio labs. Between this and being a 2008 graduate, I never qualified to get one of the few jobs in my field. I have been struggling with gainful employment and these loans ever since; My student loans from college have ruined my credit and I have been instantly rejected for every financing option presented to me by Hack Reactor.
There has already been so much support for this campaign from my friends and family. The people in my life are fantastic and I can’t give up on my dreams. For the first time in my life, I have a clear goal ahead of me. I actually know what I’m getting myself into; There no unspoken truths that I never had a chance of knowing. I just have to put in the work, which I am more than capable of, and I WILL succeed. The tuition seems to be the final hurdle between me and becoming the productive adult I know I am.
If you would like to donate instead of lend, please visit my GoFundMe page.