Happy Appapalooza 2020! Today we would have gathered 1500 people to celebrate. We would have celebrated the girls who thought about challenges in their communities and built mobile applications to provide solutions to those challenges. We would have celebrated their mentors who are educators, business professionals, and parents and who are so passionate about inspiring girls that they dedicated their ‘free’ time to help. We would have celebrated judges who would have listened to live pitches and provided valuable feedback to hundred of girls. We would have celebrated all the volunteers who made the day run with efficiency and fun. We would have celebrated our sponsors who provide the funding and support to make all this hard work and celebrating possible.
But wait…we are celebrating…it just looks a little different this year. While COVID-19 has driven us to quarantine, technology has become an even more important tool for business, education, and connecting. The Technovation[MN] program has continued, despite quarantine, with an online framework for app submission and communications. It has continued because a group of girls were determined to build solutions to address the needs of their communities, and haven’t those needs been many. Our mentors have managed their families, home, and careers then dedicated several ‘zoom call’ hours each week providing leadership and direction to their teams. Our judges have signed up to watch video pitches but on a global scale, participating to review applications from the entire Technovation Girls global program. Our sponsors have continued their support to enable the sustainability of the program. Not only have we survived, but we have thrived with our mission being more important that ever. And, we are celebrating!
While we can be sad for those things that COVID-19 have taken away from us, we should also be looking at the opportunity before us. We should be preparing for a future that will look different and be better than what we were used to. Diverse teams will look at problems in new ways. They will challenge each other. They will push boundaries. Designing for the marginalized will remove unnecessary obstacles in everyday life, making life better and easier for everyone. These times have proven how important technology is to our life. Girls deserve to be inspired, to be given the tools to succeed. Our communities will benefit. We all will benefit.
So today, Technovation[MN] is celebrating. Thank you to the girls who completed the program. Thank you to the girls that signed up and learned a little about technology but didn’t have the time or resources to complete the challenge. Thank you to the mentors that took on this extra role when they were already wearing many hats. Thank you to the judges who will be reading, rating, and providing feedback over this next month. Thank you to our many volunteers, our board members, our partners and those that made our early events possible. Finally, thank you to our sponsors, we cannot do it without your support.
Today we celebrate! Enjoy the video. Happy Appapalooza 2020!