Our mission is to reduce violence, and promote emotional growth, physical activity, economic opportunity, and roots culture.
The BOOM is a ground-breaking school-of-the-streets, on a mission to transform at-risk teens into homegrown engineers, entrepreneurs, and tradespeople. We teach our apprentices how to build a bumpin' boombox, using recycled and repurposed materials.
During our three-year pilot program, about 40 teenagers enthusiastically assembled circuit-boards and boomboxes! More than half of our participants were girls. We won awards, national press coverage, and hundreds of $thousands in donated supplies and grants (see sidebar).
UpgradeNow we're takin' it back to the lab. We pressed on youth-workshops, while we re-engineer our boombox for superior performance. Pro engineers joined our boombox design team. We've also laid the blueprints for a powerful youth-development curriculum.
The BOOM is connecting the dots, and raising the bar for youth achievement.
THE PEOPLE in Bayview Hunters Point have been struggling for decades, affected by the US Navy's radioactive waste dump, crack-cocaine, gun violence, substandard housing, and liquor stores. They are struggling with unemployment, homelessness, lack of access to health care, tainted soil, violence, mental illness, drug-addiction, severe health problems, and lack of appreciation.
BUT THERE IS INCREDIBLE POTENTIAL HERE. These soulful folk represent a deep history, including work in the trades. One unemployed young man from Double Rock, who has since died, described his father as a busy electrical contractor during the 1980's. Those days are gone-- many local employers hire mostly non-residents.
The young people are a precious creative resource, yet many lack the resources to be creative. The BOOM believes a revival of the trades may be the right prescription. We empower teenagers with the skills to build their own futures.
Our method is to develop a bumpin', road-worthy music product, designed to consumer standards, that can be built by-hand, at low cost, by our youth-apprentices. Then, we'll implement a street-savvy marketing strategy to get this product into the eager hands of B-Boys and B-Girls everywhere (that’s Bicycle Boys and Bicycle Girls).
Our boombox-electronics projects are highly appealing to hard-to-reach youths. Building an exciting and complex project engenders pride, and sense of accomplishment.
"I can feel the energy flowing through my body."- Jonathan M, on probation, 15 yrs old, after a successful system test.
"I'm on probation, and it's like court-mandated. Luckily we came across Johny, yeah, we well-connected now. Hopefully we can follow-up on this, and start making our own products in the future, and make money."
Mechanical and electronic assembly and repair involve constant problem-solving, troubleshooting, and improvising. This gives our participants the confidence and mental-skills to solve other real-life problems. Assembly projects provide unemployed or truant youths with a constructive, healthy alternative to unproductive activities. Building cool stuff is addictive; a healthy addiction.