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Saeed Jabbar’s Bringing Coding Opportunities to His Community and Beyond

Many people dream of using their professional passions to help the world, but figuring out how to do so can be tricky. That’s why it’s so special—and inspirational—when we meet someone who’s done just that. But that is exactly what Saeed Jabbar’s done and then some. After teaching himself to code as a child and some early success working for VaynerMedia, the Guyana-born, Queens-based Jabbar realized people in his New York community were being left behind in the tech race and vowed to do something about it. So, he founded Inclusion, a non-profit school focused on teaching coding, as well as Microsoft Office and data analysis using Excel, to underserved communities in New York City. And Inclusion’s been a roaring success, educating students of all ages in sought-after programing languages, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python. To hear a bit about his personal history, goals, and how he grew Inclusion from idea to real-world success, we sat down with Jabbar a couple of weeks ago and asked him some questions.

So, as we get started, how to did you first get into computers and coding?

It all started with my love for video games. I wanted to build my own games and quickly discovered through the Homebrew developer community that I needed to learn how to code to do so. I picked up a few books and learned a programming language called Lua which I quickly put to use to build my first game, the classic title “Snake.” The rest, as they say, was history.

And then what were your first coding jobs before you founded Inclusion?

I was very fortunate to work at Gary Vaynerchuk’s company, VaynerMedia in its very early days. I then tried my hand at a few technology startups and eventually ended up in the music business where I led the branding and marketing initiatives for a very successful music festival.

Inclusion is a non-profit that offers coding education to underserved communities in order to help bridge the “digital divide.” Can you talk a bit about what that means and how you knew your could help people by teaching them to code?

Eight-hundred million jobs will be lost due to automation by 2030. Underserved communities with very little to no access to technology and coding skills are quickly becoming technology deserts. As people lose their jobs due to the forces of automation and biases in the technology industry continue increase, the digital divide continues to widen. At Inclusion we’re ending the digital divide by providing our coding classes for free and at scale to communities that need it the most. We’ve served refugees, immigrants, and a diversity of people from all across the world. We go beyond coding and teach our students life skills like leading with empathy and emerging technologies like the blockchain. Our graduates leave with the tools and mindset to become creators of their life’s work, participate in the information economy, and pay it forward to their communities. 

Talking to you, you’re such a down-to-earth, friendly guy. Can you talk about the aspects of your personality that helped you found Inclusion?

The aspects that helped me found Inclusion go beyond that of personality or identity. On a deeper level it is about tapping into the ever present now, to surf the waves of chaos and order that comes with founding a world class organization like Inclusion. This is one major skill that is very rarely talked about by entrepreneurs and could be cultivated through a daily practice of meditation.  

I know Inclusion recently hosted a graduation ceremony for a group of students. Can you talk at all about what that means to you, to see those people you’ve helped achieve something like that?

It’s very empowering not just for me but for our incredible team and everyone who is behind our mission. It’s an extraordinary bonding moment that cements our work is having an impact on the lives of the people we serve, their families, and their communities.  

Lastly, what’s up next for Inclusion? And outside of Inclusion, do you have any personal goals you’d like to achieve?

At our core, Inclusion is all about bringing people together to do good for others and make a dent in the universe. We strongly believe that we are all better together and we’re happy to announce that we will be focusing on a variety of new initiatives in addition to our coding classes to further our mission which has quickly become a movement. As for my personal goals, I’m very interested in how society will be impacted by emerging technologies like the blockchain, crypto-currencies, and the current resurgence of research into psychedelics. While still in their infancy, these technologies and consciousness expanding tools might be exactly what humanity needs to pull ourselves out of our current dark age and transform our socio-economic and political systems.

To keep up with Inclusion.org and Saeed, follow on IG here.

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