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When Sylvester Mobley returned from Iraq he wanted to find a way to make a community impact in his city. He really didn’t know what that would be, but when he began to really look at the issues of diversity in technology, something became apparent.

Most of the tech industry did not look like him or come from the same upbringing as he did.

“When I was really looking into why it there was such a lack of diversity in the tech industry, one of the things I kept landing on was education,” Mobley said.

Before joining the Army National Guard in 2006, Mobley was in the Air Force Reserves where he became a computer, network, cryptographic switching systems specialist. In this field of work some of Mobley’s responsibilities included setting up, troubleshooting and fixing computer systems. He also setup networks, servers and software among other things.

Mobley had the technical training and experience, but he was also college educated. He attended Temple University where he received a degree in finance.

With the skills he gained in the Air Force and the additional knowledge he received from his education at Temple, Mobley was able to return to Philadelphia with an idea in mind.

In order for Philadelphia’s inner-city youth to learn the valuable technical skills that would allow them to gain more opportunities in today’s advanced digital age, he would develop a program for those students himself.

“When I came home from Iraq and I started Coded by Kids, it was me in [the Marian Anderson Recreation Center] with one kid coming in on Saturday and teaching web development to this one kid,” Mobley said. “It was honestly like that for a while until we started to bring in more kids and as more kids came it started to get to a point where I couldn’t teach all of them.”

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Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia journalists and blogger. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis, blogger for The Huffington Post, and staff writer for Al DÍA News. Click here to learn more about Peak.