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Vijay Daita

By Stacy Gittleman


At 14, Vijay Daita of Bloomfield Hills already understands that people spend lots of time working, shopping, and socializing in the digital world while also wanting to give back and improve upon the real one.


The Bloomfield Hills High School sophomore was recently recognized for his computer coding savvy by winning the Congressional App Challenge for the 9th congressional district with his entry, Click for a Cause, an experimental JavaScript app that connects would-be consumers to socially minded companies and products. A record-setting 6,000 students across the country participated in the competition which was judged by the industry’s leading experts.


In his second year of entering the competition, Daita said this time around gave him the chance to create an app that could provide value to his community.


“I wanted to create an app that can help leverage the new awareness in our country around social issues,” said Daita. “More than simply giving out small, one-time contributions, I wanted to help businesses develop and sustain during these tough times. Then these businesses can create jobs and that will help the society at large.”


Daita designed Click for a Cause to connect people to businesses that match their values through an easy-to-use interface that allows users to search for businesses associated with causes like social justice, public health, and environmental justice. As a prize, Congress will showcase Daita’s app in the United States Capitol at a future date.


Click for a Cause allows the user to choose a charity and then find corresponding businesses and services that donate to it. Daita proposed that this app would be a “win-win” because it would help companies locate and retain customers while increasing charitable giving. The app has search bars to locate companies and corresponding causes and even has a map feature to locate smaller businesses that fit in with a user’s charitable giving goals.


To create a digital community, the app also features a section to share information with others, publicize and recruit for volunteering efforts, and allow users to enter information about companies that are giving back. Now in an experimental phase, Daita hopes Click for a Cause can be someday fully developed and used by the public.


Daita’s zeal for coding started at an early age when he developed a love for computer games. For Daita, it was not enough to play games but to learn about the multitude of lines of code from their back end that make them work.


He started by teaching himself Scratch, a beginner’s programming language geared for the youngest coders, and progressed to more complex programs such as JavaScript, Python, and Android App Development. To share his passion for coding with his peers, in 2019, he and some classmates established Todocode, an organization that introduces children in metro Detroit and elsewhere to the art and skill of computer coding and web design. Before the pandemic, in the summer of 2019, he taught middle schoolers who had developmental disabilities coding with the Little Stars Foundation during a summer coding boot camp.


Over the past summer, Daita explored advanced computing classes, including learning how artificial intelligence programming can help researchers and scientists battle the coronavirus pandemic. When Daita is not coding, he plays tennis for the Bloomfield Hills Blackhawks tennis team and enjoys playing violin in the school orchestra.


“I think a lot of kids enjoy programming,” said Daita. “The workshops I give go beyond teaching programming languages and show how coding builds real-world programing applications.”


Photo: Laurie Tennent

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