UrbanDevelopers aims to address disparities in education and health by eliminating financial barriers and providing free programs to develop the mind, body, and spirit to bring long-term change.

Overview (Demographics): In 2019, 40.6 million people in the United States were non-Hispanic black alone, which represents 12.8 percent of the total population. Blacks/African Americans are the second largest minority population in the United States, following the Hispanic/Latino population. In 2019, most non-Hispanic blacks lived in the South (58.7 percent of the black U.S. population), while 35.8 percent of the non-Hispanic white population lived in the South. The ten states with the largest non-Hispanic black population in 2019 were Texas, Georgia, Florida, New York, North Carolina, California, Maryland, Illinois, Virginia, Louisiana.

Educational Attainment: In 2019, as compared to non-Hispanic whites 25 years and over, 87.2 percent of non-Hispanic blacks had earned at least a high school diploma, as compared to 93.3 percent of the non-Hispanic white population. 22.6 percent of non-Hispanic blacks had a bachelor’s degree or higher, as compared with 36.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites. More black women than black men had earned at least a bachelor’s degree (25.0 percent compared with 19.7 percent), while among non-Hispanic whites, a higher proportion of women than men had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher (37.3 percent and 36.5 percent, respectively). 8.6 percent of non-Hispanic blacks have a graduate or advanced professional degree, as compared to 14.3 percent of the non-Hispanic white population.

Economics: According to the Census Bureau in 2019, the average non-Hispanic black median household income was $43,771 in comparison to $71,664 for non-Hispanic white households. In 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 21.2 percent of non-Hispanic blacks in comparison to 9.0 percent of non-Hispanic whites were living at the poverty level. In 2019, the unemployment rate for non-Hispanic blacks was twice that of non-Hispanic whites (7.7 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively).

Insurance Coverage: In 2019, 55.9 percent of non-Hispanic blacks in comparison to 74.7 percent of non-Hispanic whites used private health insurance. Also in 2019, 43.5 percent of non-Hispanic blacks in comparison to 34.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites relied on Medicaid or public health insurance. Finally, 10.1 percent of non-Hispanic blacks in comparison to 6.3 percent of non-Hispanic whites were uninsured.

Health: According to Census Bureau projections, the 2020 life expectancies at birth for blacks are 77.0 years, with 79.8 years for women, and 74.0 years for men. For non-Hispanic whites the projected life expectancies are 80.6 years, with 82.7 years for women, and 78.4 years for men. The death rate for Blacks/African Americans is generally higher than whites for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and homicide.

 Source: www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=61

Mental Health

In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for blacks or African Americans, ages 15 to 24.

The death rate from suicide for black or African American men was four times greater than for African American women, in 2018.

The overall suicide rate for black or African Americans was 60 percent lower than that of the non-Hispanic white population, in 2018.

Black females, grades 9-12, were 60 percent more likely to attempt suicide in 2019, as compared to non-Hispanic white females of the same age.

Poverty level affects mental health status. Black or African Americans living below the poverty level, as compared to those over twice the poverty level, are twice as likely to report serious psychological distress.

A report from the U.S. Surgeon General found that from 1980 – 1995, the suicide rate among African Americans ages 10 to 14 increased 233 percentage, as compared to 120 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

 Source: www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=24 

Addressing These Issues Locally


Coding Programs

Teaching our young people coding is not only a good idea, it’s vital for their future success. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computing occupations make up 67% of all projected new jobs through 2028.

Yet Black students and other students of color, who make up 50% of Waterloo Schools’ population, aren’t finding those opportunities. Nationally, Black coders make up just 6.3% of those working in coding.

We can make the field of coding more diverse and equitable — and, in a metro area consistently labeled “one of the worst places to live if you’re Black,” can simultaneously lift the standard of living by matching skills to jobs, keeping our young people right here in the Cedar Valley.

Black residents of the Cedar Valley face a much higher unemployment rate than white residents, at 19.7% to 4%, in 2017. That leads to a much lower median income of $27,811, nearly half that of whites. Coding jobs are high-demand, high-paying careers that can be life-changing by moving people into the middle class.

UrbanDevelopers, with its focus on coding opportunities for Black youth in particular as well as other underrepresented groups in coding like girls, students of color and LGBTQ students, aims to reduce these inequities in Waterloo/Cedar Falls. Additionally, UrbanDevelopers positions youth for the jobs of the future and of the present that already exist in Iowa, keeping more of the area’s smart, educated residents here, instead of losing them to the coasts.

Fitness and Meditation Programs

Many of the health issues plaguing under-resourced communities can be solved through health and fitness education, however, access to these programs are unattainable. UrbanDevelopers seeks to eliminate financial barriers by providing free community gym and free workouts.

Benefits of meditation

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. You can also use it to relax and cope with stress by refocusing your attention on something calming. Meditation can help you learn to stay centered and keep inner peace.

And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day. And meditation may help you manage symptoms of certain medical conditions.

Meditation and emotional and physical well-being

When you meditate, you may clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress.

The emotional and physical benefits of meditation can include:

Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations

Building skills to manage your stress

Increasing self-awareness

Focusing on the present

Reducing negative emotions

Increasing patience and tolerance 

Lowering resting heart rate 

Lowering resting blood pressure

Improving sleep quality

Meditation and illness

Meditation might also be useful if you have a medical condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress.

While a growing body of scientific research supports the health benefits of meditation, some researchers believe it’s not yet possible to draw conclusions about the possible benefits of meditation.

With that in mind, some research suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as:




Chronic pain


Heart disease

High blood pressure

Irritable bowel syndrome

Sleep problems

Tension headaches

source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858#:~:text=Meditation%20can%20give%20you%20a,centered%20and%20keep%20inner%20peace.


coder dojo




The CoderDojo movement believes that an understanding of programming languages is increasingly important in the modern world, that it’s both better and easier to learn these skills early, and that nobody should be denied the opportunity to do so.

To that end, we’ve built a global network of free, volunteer-led, community-based programming clubs for young people. Anyone aged seven to seventeen can visit a Dojo where they can learn to code, build a website, create an app or a game, and explore technology in an informal, creative, and social environment.

Code Club



Code Club is a global network of after-school coding clubs for children.


Code Club have resources to teach children Scratch, HTML/CSS, and Python.
Learning to code is more than just a vocational skill: it changes the way children analyse and solve problems, and encourages creative thinking and collaboration.


Girls Who Code




Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.




In 1995, 37% of computer scientists were women. Today, it’s only 24%. The percent will continue to decline if we do nothing. We know that the biggest drop off of girls in computer science is between the ages of 13 and 17.
We’re reaching girls around the world and are on track to close the gender gap in new entry-level tech jobs by 2030.




Minecraft: Education Edition prepares students for the future, building future-ready skills like creativity, problem solving, and systems thinking, and nurturing a passion for play. 


Explore real-world issues in immersive, imaginative worlds

Computational thinking with in-game coding and curriculum

Build empathy and learn digital citizenship.




Shenae Rivers

Founder, Executive Director, CTO, CFO

 A Waterloo native and East High graduate, Shenae taught herself coding during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to position herself for a high-demand career. She knows there aren’t many Black female LGBT coders like her to learn from, particularly around the Cedar Valley, and through UrbanDevelopers wants to teach the skills of the future to kids that otherwise would not have the chance to see those opportunities for themselves.