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DIY Girls InvenTeam gets the recognition they deserve!

DIY Girls InvenTeam gets the recognition they deserve!

Thanks to the generous donation of over 200 people, we've exceeded our $15,000 goal on GoFundMe! At MIT, we'll be shining a spotlight on our innovative contribution to helping the homeless population of Los Angeles. The girls will get the once in a lifetime opportunity to show how their innovative use of technology and engineering can make an impact on the homeless population. 

The team and their invention has been featured by various media outlets! Please check out the stories written about our team below:

This media attention sheds a light on the homelessness issue in Los Angeles, particularly in the San Fernando Valley. This also brings attention to the need to have programs like DIY Girls that encourage young people to come up with solutions to problems they see in their community. 

DIY Girls beta-testers for Two Bit Circus

Two Bit Circus brought our girls into their workshop this October and reminded us all that technology really can be the stuff of cartoonish adventure. DIY Girls from GALS, the Girls Athletic Leadership Schools, spent a day as game beta testers for Two Bit Circus, an organization that’s always “blurring the lines between technology and spectacle”.

Spending hours in a game lab full of large interactive consoles, virtual reality, and brightly colored lights may seem like a day at the arcade, but our girls kept their thinking caps on. In between bouts of  exploring virtual outer-space, the girls were gathering important intel for the game development staff.  The girls impressed the game designers and engineers during lunch with their thoughtful feedback, emphasizing the importance of resolving game bugs and fostering team-building mechanics. The girls even left staff a bit speechless with deep questions their personal journeys to Two Bit Circus.

The day ended with a tour into Two Bit’s workshop lot of wood, steel, re-purposed go-carts, and virtual reality prototypes. Floored by all the potential for creativity, the girls were hesitant to leave. The girls left eager to work on their projects at their after-school DIY Girls Club, taking the zany and creative message of Two Bit Circus back to their own work.

A big thank-you to Hera and Ryan of Two Bit Circus, the GALS team, and long time DIY Girls supporter, Councilwoman Nury Martinez, for making this event happen for the girls!


DIY Girls Awarded Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant

DIY Girls is proud to announce that, in partnership with San Fernando High School, has been awarded the Lemelson-MIT Grant. We are one of 15 InvenTeams of high school students nationwide that will each receive up to $10,000 in grant funding to solve real-world problems through invention. As part of the Grant, the DIY Girls InvenTeam will have the opportunity to travel to MIT for EurekaFest in June 2017 to present their work.

Read what girls are saying about what drives them to act:

As adolescents, we never thought we could take action to solve the issues we were passionate about. Whenever I thought about the social issues that plagued the U.S and how much I wanted to resolve them, I always thought of myself accomplishing it as an adult.
— Aracely Chavez, 12th grader at San Fernando High School

“As adolescents, we never thought we could take action to solve the issues we were passionate about. Whenever I thought about the social issues that plagued the U.S and how much I wanted to resolve them, I always thought of myself accomplishing it as an adult,” says Aracely Chavez. However, this all changed when we were introduced to DIY Girls. Through DIY Girls, we learned about coding as we volunteered at Creative Coding summer camp and about the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams, a grant opportunity available to teams that created an invention geared towards solving an issue in their community.

After weeks of deliberation, we decided that homelessness in Los Angeles is an issue that we should focus on because it is a daily reality we all must confront. The San Fernando Valley saw a 36 percent increase in homelessness this year, to 7,100 residents. It is with a corresponding sense of urgency that we have sought to apply engineering principles and processes toward the development of a device that we believe will go a long way in serving the homeless population in Los Angeles - a system to provide temporary shelter for homeless people.

Because this issue is very close to home, we have made it our goal to make this backpack happen. We’ve let ourselves ignore this issue for far too long. We must act to make LA a better place to live.


Los Angeles Mayor Appoints DIY Girls Founder to Board of Public Works

Los Angeles Mayor Appoints DIY Girls Founder to Board of Public Works

Dear Friends and Supporters of DIY Girls,

We are excited to announce that our Founder and Executive Director, Luz Rivas has been appointed to serve in a full time position as a Commissioner on the Board of Public Works by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Luz has been dedicated to public service throughout her life, and this new opportunity is a great way for her to continue her work increasing girls' interest and success in technology and engineering.

The DIY Girls Board of Directors is deeply proud that the leader of our organization has been recognized by our City's leadership to take on this new role. We have been inspired by Luz's passion and vision from the very first day we joined DIY Girls and we know she will continue to make a meaningful difference in this new position.

Luz spent the past 5 years building an organization with a strong team. She grew the organization from serving 32 girls at 1 school to over 500 girls at more than 10 schools. We are committed to continuing the path that Luz has blazed and therefore we have appointed Evelyn Gomez (currently Director of Programs) as interim Executive Director while we work on the next steps for DIY Girls. Like Luz, Evelyn is an engineer and educator that graduated from MIT and Harvard. She has worked as a Math and Physics Teacher and has led DIY Girls programs for over 2 years. We are confident that Evelyn has the knowledge, passion, and commitment to carry our mission and vision forward.

We want to thank you for supporting DIY Girls throughout the years. We are excited to embark on a new chapter of DIY Girls with all of you. We hope you will join us in wishing Luz the best of luck in her new endeavor. Stay tuned for more.

Megan, Jesus, Grace, Jeff, Cassy, Liliana and Jo

Board of Directors - DIY Girls


DIY girls Experience Virtual Reality

Last week, DIY girls from our Creative Coding summer camp visited Rabbx Inc., an independent game production company located in Arleta, Los Angeles. Rabbx Inc. specializes in virtual and augmented reality—a topic introduced to our girls as they learned how code can be used to create interactive art experiences. 

We left Rabbx that day feeling like we had visited another world. Girls went to space and the deep sea virtually with the HTC Vive, a virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. This device turns a room into a 3D environment using sensors. The sensor set up allows users to navigate a space naturally using their entire body. 

It’s hard to explain how you feel when experiencing virtual reality for the first time. For me, I felt like I found my happy place — completely enraptured in the world of art, technology, and magic. When I asked our girls about their experience, I received a resounding, “IT WAS SO COOL” (my first thoughts as well). Girls had similar words to express their feelings, however, so much more was communicated to me with the excitement in their eyes and smiles. I could tell that they had just experienced something they had never seen before— and that is important. 

Girls also got to play with an augmented reality game created by Rabbx Inc. called, Ghostly Mansion. In this game, you become a ghost imprisoned inside your home. In order to release your spirit and be at peace, you must unravel the mystery of your death. The girls absolutely love this game — although many asked Tori, co-creator of Ghostly Mansion, when “the scary parts happen”. 

Speaking directly with the creators of the product made their experience whole. They were not just playing a game. They were actively analyzing its design and engaged in conversation with awesome engineers. 

To top off what was already an amazing tour, the neighboring production studio gave us the opportunity to see a REAL spaceship…prop studio and the largest green screen I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen so many selfies taken in my life. It was an unforgettable experience for both DIY Girls staff, and the girls. 

We ended the tour with a Q & A with Tori, Aaron, and Joe —innovative entrepreneurs in the field of creative technology. I was impressed with the questions our girls asked and thankful for the openness of our hosts. Girls learned about the different ways VR can be used to change the world. They learned about importance of internships and education, but most of all, girls learned how critical it is to follow what you’re passionate about in life.

A big thank you to Jo Wright, our DIY Girls Board Member, for connecting us with Rabbx. 

- written by Sylvia Aguinaga, Director of Curriculum

Girls Gain STEAM This Summer

Girls Gain STEAM This Summer

This year, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena awarded 30 of our girls scholarships to attend a summer program on its campus. With the support of generous donors we were able to provide a bus and a chaperone to get the girls to the Art Center each day. 

The following was written by DIY Girls program assistant, Verenice Martinez. She accompanied the girls each day to the Art Center and shared the experience.

Girls Gain STEAM This Summer

Working for DIY Girls, I get to see the excitement that girls express when they figure out how something works and when they get to explore something new. This summer, I rode a bus for a week 26 miles each way to and from Pasadena with a group of our middle school girls so that they could take courses at a world-renowned institution for free! I had the opportunity to observe them during their classes and witnessed the impact it had on them. They learned about architecture, design, self-portraiture, comic book storytelling and photography - all art skills that we think are important to integrate with our STEM programs.  The girls were fortunate to explore the “A” in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) and I’d like to personally thank the Art Center of Pasadena for providing this great opportunity.

In the Imagination Workshop, the girls were so excited to tell me how they were challenged to draw characters by just using shapes. After each class, they couldn't wait to tell me how they drew from still life and live models to create characters. Every day the girls had a new drawing and were eager to show me their new work.  

As a part of Comic Book Storytelling course, the girls learned to ideate storylines, created characters, learned to build focus on characters by shading and outlining to build their own comics.

Architecture allowed the girls to think and explore more about the interior and exterior of their ideal homes. I was able to see their creations come to life daily as they carried their projects with them. I saw them develop spaces that reflect in their personalities.

In Photography, girls explored their surroundings and were encouraged to be outdoors. They each created a personal photography book with photos based on a theme of their choice. One girl took initiative to ask her parents to go out to take pictures and as a result spent the day on a family outing to a Japanese Garden!

In the Self Portraiture class I watched a girl discover a talent she didn’t know she had. She learned contrasting techniques and learned to capture expressions. Watching her light up at seeing her own talent and how excited she was to go to every class was priceless.

The week at the Art Center was a success and all of the girls were so grateful for the experience. Most of them are currently enrolled in our Creative Coding camp where they are learning Processing, a language for learning how to code within the context of the visual arts.