Today’s Solutions: February 05, 2023

Antoine Patton had a difficult childhood. He got his first full time “dead end” job when he was just 14 years old. He became a father when he was still a teenager. And a few years later he was committing crimes. But Patton sought inspiration in the darkest place — prison — which he describes as “a reset button.”

Determined to break the cycle of poverty and crime, Patton got to work while he was still behind bars — teaching himself to code. He read an article about a “mobile tech explosion” and became determined to learn the secret language that would unlock the tech world.

When Patton returned home, he continued studying side-by-side with his teenage daughter, Jay Jay. It was Jay Jay that helped him create and launch Photo Patch, a non-profit program and mobile app that connects children with incarcerated parents. But they didn’t stop there.

Just last year, Patton and Jay Jay launched Unlock Academy to teach others like them to code — the complex language that helped the father/daughter pair to bond. In an interview with Freethink, Antoine Patton talks about his motivation to learn coding in prison:

“I was naturally always a nerd. I ran away from it. I didn’t tap into it. I barely graduated high school, and I failed a couple of classes in college just because I wasn’t serious about it. When I had all that time in prison, I would read all kinds of books. I was in the library every other day. It just took me to tap into what I call my higher self and higher knowledge, higher education. I started taking that seriously. And it wasn’t just me. I may look like an exception, but I was incarcerated with so many other people who were doing the same thing for themselves.”

Want to see the full interview from the inspiring father-daughter duo Antoine and Jay Jay? You can find it right here.

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