Please note: Entries within this blog may contain reference to instances of domestic abuse, dating abuse, sexual assault, abuse or harassment. At all times, Break the Cycle encourages readers to take whatever precautions necessary to protect themselves emotionally and psychologically.  If you would like to speak with an advocate, please contact a 24/7 peer advocate at 866-331-9474  or text “loveis” to 22522.

Teen Girls Develop Healthy Relationships App for Break the Cycle

This past weekend (June 7th and 8th), over 200 girls on two coasts between the ages of 12 to 17 got to work at the Black Girls CODE Hackathon titled “Love Is Respect.” The two-day hackathon held in Oakland, California and Brooklyn, New York was powered by Black Girls CODE, Break the Cycle and Verizon Wireless, focusing on empowering the girls through consciousness and technology.

With help from dedicated volunteers and experienced coders, the young developers worked on creating an app about building healthy relationships. They strategized, learned the obstacles of building apps, what specific language to incorporate, and developed the overall design, including functionality, visual layouts and audio cues.

The girls were divided into groups and generated storyboards, coming up with many great ideas. A healthy relationship memory game, meme creators, quizzes, avatars and music apps. These apps would break down healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships, as well as offer interactive functions, teach concepts like communication and respect in a fun way, and offer help for those who need it.

“It was a blast!” said Diane Santana, Director of Development at Break the Cycle. “The girls were super creative.”

The winners were chosen by a panel of tech gurus, including the first place prize of a $1,500 scholarship for each participant and a $2,500 donation to the charity of their choice.

With so many teenagers affected by dating abuse — one in three teens experience some form of dating abuse and about one in 10 experience physical violence from a partner — it’s an issue that speaks directly to the young coders. Moreover, these young women got the chance to gain real-world experience, working for a nonprofit client and creating a mobile app that would provide social good.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks for helping prove, in the form of an app, how everyone deserve a healthy relationship!