Homeless Man Launches Eco-Friendly Mobile App (VIDEO)
By Tiffany Willis on February 1, 2014
A homeless man was taught to code. Now he has an app for sale. Y'all gonna go buy it or what?
“You give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. You teach a man to fish, and you watch him change the world.”
Thus began a Liberal America article in late November. We were reporting on 23-year-old software engineer Patrick McConlogue’s use of the classic phrase in speaking about his friend Leo Grand, a homeless man in New York City. From the article:
Leo Grand is a 37-year-old homeless man with a love for computers. He had been sleeping in shelters and on the street for the last two years, ever since condominiums built near his home drove up the rent and resulted in his eviction. McConlogue approached Grand one day and made him an offer — one hundred dollars, or a laptop and lessons in computer coding. McConlogue vowed to spend one hour a day for the next two months teaching Grand a job skill that could turn his entire life around for the better and give a leg up to one of the thousands of homeless people forced to use the streets of New York as their home, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.
How did Grand respond to McConlogue’s offer?
I came to an immediate decision… The hundred dollars will last you for a short time. Learning how to code will last you for a lifetime.
After Grand accepted the challenge, McConlogue bought him a used Chromebook laptop and three coding textbooks and began tutoring Grand, who was a quick study and wrote all 3,621 lines of code for his project: carpool organizing app Trees for Cars. McConlogue said:
The speed at which I’m going through these lessons is insane. We barely cover things twice. His memory is really, really good.
The project took longer than two months, but both men were committed, even through numerous challenges. In October, it became too cold to continue working outside and the duo received support from an unexpected source: Princeton Review founder John Katzman, McConlogue’s boss. Katzman not only allowed the two to continue their work at the office of his new educational search engine company – Noodle – but he also allowed McConlogue to work with Grand on Trees for Cars full-time for five weeks.
The app launched on Dec. 10, but this journey doesn’t end with the app. McConlogue is developing his mentorship program, with more than 150 programmers from around the world signed up to spend an hour every day teaching coding.
On December 4, McConlogue expressed a simple hope on the Journeyman Facebook page:
On this quiet night, say a prayer for him. I have no idea if this will work, if he will make enough to afford going back to school, but again thank you all for being here for this.
Well guess what? This, on the afternoon of Tuesday Dec. 18:
Leo has a solid plan. He told Mashable:
“My first application will be at Google,” Grand said. “It’s right up the block.”
Are you guys feeling like you’re a part of this story? Keep it going. Buy Leo’s app for Android or iOs and share this story far and wide. It’s a really great app. You can also buy the limited edition Trees for Cars hoodie or t-shirt – they are only on sale for a limited time and all proceeds go to help Leo get his start. Let’s all be a part of Patrick and Leo’s incredible journey.
Awesome story! Kudos to all involved!
Video about Leo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ2INl29sfc
Android "Trees for Cars" app here:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... cars&hl=en
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trees-f ... 49238?mt=8
The app is only $0.99 , please buy it to help support Leo... thanks!
While this project won't "get all the homeless off the streets", it is very cool and for those who are smart enough to code and have a desire to do so, this is a great way for them to get started... even if changes just a few lives that is still important!