Burbank hackathon winners

From left to right: Yvette Herrera, Director of Philanthropy & Community Engagement with Burbank Community YMCA, Murriel Perez, Team 'Youth Act On It,' Erin Siggard - Team 'Youth Act On It,' Ana Khachatrian 'Team Youth Act On It,' Arik Cohen 'Team Youth Act On It', Moonyoung Ko, field representative for state Assemblyman Mike Gatto, Seated: Aurora Brown, 'Team Youth Act On It' (Photo courtesy of Gabriel Ford / May 6, 2014)

A hundred people, or 25 teams, spent several hours brainstorming, programming, designing and launching mobile applications over the weekend at a three-day hackathon in Burbank called Game+Hack 2014.

Co-hosted by the YMCA, the city of Burbank and Nickelodeon, the hackathon teamed up participants with mentors who helped them develop and build creative mobile applications in four categories: youth development, healthy living, social responsibility and open creativity.

The winning team, a group of nine people, developed a website designed to empower youth by organizing events that will have a positive impact on their local community that they can share with their friends, team members said.

Dubbed “Youth Act On It,” the winning project would allow young people to identify needs in their communities, and later organize events to fill those needs. For example, team members imagined that the events could include beach cleanups, graffiti removal and garden-planting gatherings.

“It allows youth to be able to create events and have an impact and create change,” said team leader Murriel Perez, 32, of her team’s application. “It’s promoting leadership and youth skills.”

After brainstorming and developing the idea, the group actually launched a website, www.youthactonit.org, to present to the panel of judges.

“The goal is to make it a community-driven app,” said team member Aurora Brown, 32, who works for a biotechnology company in West Los Angeles.

Eventually, if the team, which began as a group of strangers, decides to pursue the idea further, they imagined users could have their own avatars that they could customize by winning badges based on their participation.

“Everybody really came together with different skill sets,” Perez said. “We’ve had some emails going back and forth as a team, and there’s a lot of interest in being able to continue it.”

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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