On a hot summer evening, a group of students from DISD’s Conrad High School and the Science and Engineering Magnet School huddled over computers, perfecting a project they started over winter break.
"We created an app called ‘Klinik’," said senior, Alejandro Maldonado. "The purpose of ‘Klinik’ to help people that are below the poverty line."
The app helps users find medical care, educational resources, and healthy food options nearby.
"Our school itself is 66-percent disadvantaged," said senior Kenna Tanaka. "A lot of us do understand, like, see first-hand the problems ‘Klinik’ addresses."
Tanaka and Maldonado worked along with fellow seniors Ethan Helfman, Janavi Chadha, and Tara Kuikel to create the application that is one of 6 finalists in the Lenovo Scholar National Contest.
"We were surprised and somewhat in awe of ourselves," said Maldonado. "It’s a dream come true."
A recent study by UT Dallas showed one in three children in Dallas County live below the poverty line. Nearly 25-percent of the population is food insecure. For the students, their inspiration came from the neighborhoods in which they live.
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"To see some of my closest friends or neighbors worry about when their next meal is, worry about if they’re going to be able to pay for their bills, worry about if the kids will get the education they deserve," said Maldonado. "It’s heart wrenching."
The student developers hope their app helps break down economic, social, political, and language barriers.
"When they open this app, they should know they’re in better hands," Maldonado said. "We want them to feel hope."
The students are going to Washington D.C. in July for the national competition. You can help them by voting online for their app. Just click here.