Home - SMACKING 4Change

Welcome to SuMmit's hACKING for Change

Join us to Create a Better Community Through the Use of Technology & Data

"On June 4, 2016, thousands of people from across the United States will come together for National Day of Civic Hacking. The goal of National Day of Civic Hacking is for residents, community groups, and government to collaborate to make their communities stronger."

"The National Day of Civic Hacking is organized by Code for America with coordination from NASA and SecondMuse, as well as additional support from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and other Federal, state, and local agencies." -  Data.Gov - National Day of Civic Hacking  DJ Patil - Chief Data Scientist and Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Hacking: "Hacker (is a person) who combines excellence, playfulness, cleverness and exploration in performed activities" - "A hacker is one who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming and circumventing limitations of programming systems and who tries to extend their capabilities .... Hacking entails some form of excellence, for example exploring the limits of what is possible, thereby doing something exciting and meaningful."

2015 EVENT REPORT: Smacking 4 Change at Mondo (Saturday June 6, 2015)

Imagine having a cross-generational tutoring program with seniors helping youngsters with school subjects like math, science, first-hand XXth century history or even career guidance and life-skills and on the other direction, young people helping seniors to set up their digital world and take full advantage of new technologies.

Or think about getting a personalized text message with just the relevant information on local traffic conditions or local events for you and your family. One of the uses of these text messages would be helping high school kids find safe and healthy options on what to do with their free time; ... well those that have free time for not being on myriad camps, clubs or sports teams.

Or how it would feel not having to drive to downtown - resolving parking problems and helping the environment along the way - by using shuttles circling around town or even Segway hubs where people can pick them up and drop them off, like the citi-bike program in NYC. And what about free Wi-Fi and charging stations in all of downtown area?

These were just some of the ideas literally "flying" around during SuMmit's hACKING for Change event held at MONDO on Saturday June 6.

Smacking 4 Change was part of the National Day of Civic Hacking organized by Code for America with support from NASA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and others.

Local organizers included Jean Carlos Carvajal a sophomore at Summit High School, Natalia Pinzon a teacher at the elementary schools in Summit and Irvy Pinzon, a resident and member of C.H.A.T. por Summit - a group promoting education, integration and cultural activities of the Community of Hispanics in AcTion for Summit.
Smacking 4 Change Team
JC - Natalia - Irvy

Session 1: Brainstorming & Prioritization

We started the conversation with some background on the National Day of Civic Hacking, now on it's third year, as well as some of the trends behind it, including how technology is opening the door for young people to learn how to code and start making a difference in the world. As an example, please watch this videos:

WSJ - Mission Control .... Into the Next Big Thing

USA Today - Next Generation App Developers at Apple's WWDC

... and we witnessed it first hand: Here is Matt, the youngest participant at our event, trying to call the attention of city officials to present his and his sister Iara's ideas !!!

Next in the agenda: Summit's Mayor Ellen Dickson, council member Al Dill, Newton town manager and Bernards Township committeeman Thomas Russo plus several Hispanic families and some members of C.H.A.T. por Summit used paper planes for a brainstorming session ....

 Mayor Dickson's plane about to take off with her initial idea
  Councilman Dill's ideas on his plane flew the farthest of them all
  Andrea's reaction when her plane almost hit someone
  Teresa's plane was so full of good ideas that she had to carry it along to its destination

... then we prioritized all ideas in terms of "Impact to the Community" and "How Hard it Would Be to Implement Them".

Everybody focused on prioritizing ideas ...
   ... under JC's leadership

Here are the ideas on their respective place in the matrix. WARNING: Many items overlap in terms of their location in the matrix,so they have been moved around for clarity.

We also discussed apps already developed by Code for America and identified some that would be of interest for Summit:

 Possible Use in Summit
Adopt a Hydrant

Adopt-a-hydrant allows citizens to claim responsibility for shoveling out fire hydrants after heavy snowfall.

Adopt a hydrant – winter

Adopt a street drain - fall

Adopt a “landmark” tree - all year long


Mindmixer offers community leaders a chance to crowdsource ideas, share assets and manage feedback.

Increase community engagement and enhance how suggestions are captured, evaluated and implemented.


BizFriend.ly is a learning and sharing community that helps entrepreneurs start, run and grow great businesses.

Help local businesses.

Encourage entrepreneurship.

Hacking 4 Change Challenges: Unfortunately we ran out of time to work on the challenge we had selected: Local Digital Services Census

We will work with others to complete the assessment for Summit:

Throughout the event, we learned about the many things already available or being created for Summit's community.

Session 2: Prototype Requirements & Design

With a smaller group, we decided to develop a prototype or proof of concept for "MySummit" app that integrated several of the ideas around allowing people to receive personalized, relevant information, consolidated from many existing sources. 

We will conduct a limited, controlled assessment of a text-message prototype from Thu 6/11 to Fri 6/19. It would work like this:

"Help us test a PROTOTYPE of MySummit app by sending a text or voicemail to ###-###-#### (Google Voice number) with YOUR NAME and info of interest:

1 Traffic

2 Events

3 Soccer fields


Here are examples of the information that will be provided

Local traffic (e.g. News 12 NJ - Traffic Report)

Events (Several local & global websites)

Join the Bioblitz 2015 starting Friday 6/12 @ 5:00PM at the Trailcenter (old museum building) in Watchung reservation


Enjoy the Copa America - Chile 2015


Availability of soccer fields (Rec Center infor or Sport Teams websites)

Conclusions & Next Steps

A gazillion thanks to ALL participants for making this such a successful event. We had fun, generated many good ideas, and were able to demonstrate one of the Principles for 21st Century Government around which the National Day of Civic Hacking was organized this year:

"Make it easy for Everyone to Participate"

These are the steps we are taking to close this effort:
  1. Complete the event report and distribute it to all participants
  2. Complete the summary report to the national organization
  3. Send the report to the High School and Summit's Technology Advisory Committee and ask if they would be interested in promoting the creation of a Brigade for Code for America
  4. Complete the prototype assessment of "MySummit" app and send the report to interested parties
  5. Final closing celebration for Smacking 4 Change team :-)

Muchisimas Gracias a todos los que hicieron posible este evento - The Smacking 4 Change Team

"Anyone can participate. You don’t have to be an expert in technology, you just have to care about your neighborhood and community."

TED - Coding a better Government

TED - Coding a Better Government

Local Organizers

 JC Natalia

Organizers Code for America    

Local Sponsors


CHAT por Summit - Community of Hispanics in Action for Summit