Inspiration

PennApps XV happens to have fallen on inauguration weekend this year. We would have liked to have been responding to the turnover of presidential leadership by protesting or participating in #womensmarch, but felt that hacking something for social purpose at PennApps was equally productive.

We are worried that, in the next four years, it will become even more difficult than it already is to access important resources like Planned Parenthood. Birth control might be more expensive, street harassment more common, etc. We wanted to mitigate the negative impacts of these possible changes by creating AccompanyHer.

What it does

AccompanyHer is a web app that allows users to either sign up to be a resource or request assistance with some everyday task. For example, if the nearby Planned Parenthood is swarming with belligerent protesters and someone needs to go to the clinic for a breast cancer screening, they can search for nearby resources and contact someone who can accompany them in moving past the protesters. When they find someone who they think can help, they can send an email to the potential resource with their contact information.

How we built it

We used Bootstrap to build the base website, then used Firebase and JavaScript to build the interfaces for collecting profile information from people signing up to be resources and assistance requesting and emailing.

Challenges we ran into

None of us really had any prior experience with JavaScript, so anything involving this was particularly challenging. We started out trying to use Flask (so we could use Python, which we're all familiar with), but had persistent and frustrating file errors that caused us to look for alternatives.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're really proud that we figured out how to do things like send anonymous emails from JavaScript, considering we really had no JavaScript experience before this.

What we learned

Installing dependencies is hard.

What's next for AccompanyHer

Currently, the personal information of the people signing up to be resources is not perfectly secure. This should be fixed. We would also like to add a map showing where the closest resources are to a user's location, and general resources that are available even if there are no people signed up as human resources nearby.

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