Steve Harvey inspires a future generation of coders through mentorship and exposure
Most people know Steve Harvey as a comedian and the host of several popular television shows, such as Little Big Shots, Family Feud, and Showtime at the Apollo.
Steve and his wife Marjorie also give back to the Black community. Together, they lead The Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation, and partner with public and private organizations to offer programs that build relevant development skills for diverse youth in cities. This involves connecting young people with relatable mentors, providing educational scholarships, and exposing kids to meaningful cultural experiences. Recently, the Harvey Foundation organized a screening of Black Panther for hundreds of youths.
I met Steve recently in Atlanta, Georgia at The Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp for Young Men. Steve shared his insights on how strong, positive role models in media and entertainment can inspire kids to pursue their academic goals and achieve career success in technology, an industry with strong projected job growth.
Interview edited for clarity and length.
How can we empower more kids from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in tech, and what role does the media play in encouraging that participation?
I think we have to show them more examples of people in tech who look like them. Exposure is everything! Kids in our community excel in basketball, baseball, and football, because that’s what they see as the way to be successful. If more kids could be exposed to technology at an early age and see that if you know how to code, you can create apps and video games, they would get excited. Some of these kids never get exposed to anything outside of their current environments. They come from dilapidated neighborhoods and schools that don’t even have a computer for every kid.
What’s your long-term goal for The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation?
My plan in general is to raise money to support kids. I’m so disappointed in the lack of care and resources for people who are less fortunate. It’s very aggravating.
Marjorie and I have a goal of sending 10,000 kids to college with full paid scholarships through our foundation.
How can tech companies show up for the community?
By caring! When you care about the less fortunate, they remember that when they’ve made it in life. They think, "They gave me a leg up, they helped me, I’ll never forget them."
If given the opportunity, these young people can be such an asset for tech companies and can offer insights into new markets. Google can actually fuel its own future workforce and develop some of this home-grown talent by reaching out to youth in inner cities and teaching them the skills that are relevant to the future growth of our country. Coding and software development - that’s where the world is headed. It’s a tech world and these are tech kids. They’re on those phones all day, man...