By Kathy Chouteau
Yaphet Yonas, a local youth learning technology, entrepreneurship and leadership skills in The Hidden Genius Project’s Intensive Immersion Program at RYSE Youth Center, earned the Baba Eugene Lemon Award for Outstanding Technology Projects at the nonprofit’s “2022 End of Summer Celebration” Sept. 22 at Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar in Oakland.
A Salesian High School student who participates in The Hidden Genius Project’s Richmond Cohort 5, Yonas was honored for his emerging technology project in self-driving Al cars via an app. The nonprofit stated that the award “was created to acknowledge the exceptional hard work these young men put into the program, including their projects, and to highlight the impact of computer science education and advocacy.” Chevron Richmond is a local sponsor of the organization’s program.
Throughout the youth-led event, student participants from Oakland and Richmond—a.k.a. “geniuses”—shared their experiences developing tech, businesses and gaming projects spanning the gamut from clothing brands to social impact-focused mobile apps and more. “The geniuses presented their final projects and business proposals to an enthusiastic audience and expressed their heartfelt sense of community with their brothers in the program,” said the nonprofit in a statement.
The event also marked the Oakland-based organization’s 10th year of empowering young Black males via a student-centered and project-based approach that ultimately aims to not only see them transform their own lives, but also their communities. More than 400 family members, friends, investors and partners of the nonprofit came together for the celebration.