NEWARK, NJ - Mobile APPs to promote healthy activities - both physical and mental - for kids was the goal behind the ideas explored at the Boys & Girls Club in Newark this week.
Chatham High seniors Amira Mouline and Liam Healy represented JerseySTEM in teaching APP development to kids in the pilot program sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services.
Mouline's group worked on building an APP, using MIT APP Inventor, to empower young girls from bowing to peer pressure.
"It has to do with mental Health or body image issues," Mouline said. "At the tender age of 11, they feel pressure to wear makeup at school. They thought it important to empower other women so they don't have to feel they have to conform. It's really impressive that they're thinking about things like that at the age of 11."
Mouline was recognized by the National Center for Women in Information Technology this past school year for her work in the community. She has been teaching a coding class for middle school girls in Chatham. Mouline also works on developing curriculum for coding classes in Elizabeth, Dover and Newark.
Amira Mouline talks about the JerseySTEM pilot program she helped teach in APP development
NJIT student Haard Shah led a group which developed the APP "Snaply", which promotes exercise through dancing and other activities.
"The idea is to take pictures of an exercise activity, like dancing," Shah said. "in order to post your photo, you have to do the exercising that you said you would do. We've worked on the demo for it the last the two days."
Healy's group put together an APP named "Healthy Shake" that helps keep people from stress eating. According to research done by the students, 25 percent of adults eat to manage stress.
"It's for obese people, middle age people who want to get healthy," student Yasyn Cox, 12, said. "It's going to ask you how you are feeling today. If you're in a good mood, it might ask you if you want to go to the gym. If you're in a bad mood, it will ask if you want a healthy snack or to hang with friends."
Liam Healy and his group at the Boys & Girls Club worked on an APP to deal with stress eating
According to Hillary McDonald of Tata Consultancy Services established, the company began promoting STEM programs in 2009 in for communities that didn't have them in their schools.
"Now we're in over 50 cities," McDonald said. "Through JerseySTEM, we're brining our curriculum of APP development to the Boys & Girls Club."