COVID-19 has had negative mental health effects on everyone. To reduce the effects of isolation, virtual socialization platforms have been essential in keeping us connected while we're all stuck at home. Retired seniors struggle with loneliness and depression even when there isn't a pandemic, so COVID has only exacerbated this issue.

Kids who are used to high levels of socialization during the school year are also struggling with developmental and educational setbacks due to isolation. We hope that through LinkedGen, seniors can feel valued and connected by teaching their skills or simply conversing with their new K-8 virtual buddies.

What it does

When parents sign up for LinkedGen, they can see a list of available sessions with seniors and reserve spots. A list of upcoming sessions appears, and they can also edit or delete their upcoming sessions. On the day of the session, students will video chat with the senior whose spot they have reserved. If the session has a topic/lesson already chosen, notes will be displayed to the side of the video screen with discussion questions/notes/fun facts about the topic. If it's a "just chatting" session, a randomizer populates general "getting to know you" questions in the notes area.

How we built it

We had a boilerplate of code pushed up to Github. One person worked on the video feature, one person worked on the Azure functions, two others built the sessions feature, and two others did the UX/UI design and prototyping through Figma.

Challenges we ran into

  • We tried to use Azure Functions to create a conversation topic generator modeled from the "joke generator" demonstrated by Jasmine Greenaway, but we could not get it to work. The person building it had never used Azure, but was intrigued by the possibilities and took on the challenge of refactoring Jasmine's sample code. Even with the help of a mentor, we were unable to figure out why it would not show up in the Azure Functions portal to be accessible.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

-We're proud of using Node.js and connecting to a Mongo database using GraphQL. -We also took on some lofty challenges for a group with several newbies, so we're very proud of how far we were able to get in our respective challenges, even if they weren't finalized.

What we learned

-One of our team members knows MUCH more about Azure than she did before. She'd never even heard of it. -Video chat features are very difficult to implement. -Three of us were new to hackathons, so we learned how hackathons work in general and how crazy the development timeline is when you're in the thick of it. We also learned that a good team is crucial. We all were able to learn new things from each other and help each other, while having lots of fun along the way.

What's next for LinkedGen

If we had more time to work on this, we would complete the features we were working on and get user profiles set up with reviews.

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