Innovation Schools and Youth

Chorely offers new way for teens to connect with neighbors

Anand Chandra, creator of Chorely, an app that connects teens and neighbors. Photo by Teri Vershel.

When it comes to bringing the community together, many people turn to block parties or potluck dinners.  But Gunn High School Senior Anand Chandra had a more humble idea: connect Palo Alto teens with their neighbors to do small projects, or ‘chores.’

While a generation ago teens might have hung signs to advertise their interest in mowing laws or raking leaves, Anand’s approach was based on the digital age: He built an app called Chorely, where teens could search for odd jobs in their neighborhoods.

A modern solution for an old-fashioned idea

Chorely’s logo was designed by Gunn High School student Jeffrey Yao.

The idea for Chorely originated when a family friend of Chandra’s suggested that local teenagers should congregate to do chores in the neighborhood.

Chandra then discovered a service called fiverr, where people can find low cost help with business needs such as making a logo for a company.   “I thought, why can’t I do this for in-person projects?” Anand said. “And that’s how I built Chorely.” Chandra also worked with Jeffrey Yao, another senior at Gunn, who designed the app’s logo and icon.

Don’t know how to make an app? For a Palo Alto teen, no problem, just teach yourself…

Chandra had the idea for Chorely, but faced one significant obstacle: he didn’t know the coding language required to write apps for iOS, which is Apple’s operating system for phones. But in the world of online learning, that was a simple barrier to overcome. To learn Swift, the language Apple uses for iOS, Chandra used an online course created by Stanford University called CS193P, where all the lectures, homework and reading are posted on YouTube.

Anand started working on his app in early June, but the process was not always smooth. “I had to learn [many] things just on my own, and figure out how to get through,” Chandra said. Some of these technical difficulties included the nuances of working with databases. challenge of creating the user-friendly app he envisioned for Chorely. “There’s a ton of apps that can just function, but they look really bad, or they don’t flow well, or are confusing [to use],” Chandra said. “There were times I scrapped and re-wrote the code just to make sure it was easy-to-use and intuitive.”

Next step: add users and ‘chore’ listings

Currently, Chorely has between 200 and 300 registered users. “It has the potential to expand really well and I hope to see it grow,” Chandra said. His next target is to get more people to using Chorely to both post jobs and signing up for tasks, and to gather feedback about their experience.

Anand taught himself the programming language Swift to build Chorely. Photo by Teri Vershel.

A vision of connecting teens and adults to help both

“My end goal is for teens to be able to make money doing small jobs if they don’t have too much time, and at the same time, to help busy adults,” Chandra said.  He emphasized the app’s benefits for both teenagers and adults. “It’s a convenience thing and a money thing for adults, and the same goes for teens too,” Chandra said. “They can make their own money and start becoming self-sufficient, and in that sense I hope to help both parties involved.”

Advice for other teens who want to build an app? Don’t give up

Chandra had advice for anyone wanting to turn their idea for an app into a reality. “It’s going to be really hard, and there will be moments where you’re going to want to quit, give up and slam down your laptop in frustration because you’ve been working on the same thing for a week with no progress,” he admitted. “But those are the times where it’s most important to stay committed to what you want to do and if you’re committed enough to your idea.. you’ll be able to finish it.” And if you get really stuck, post a job on Chorely looking for a local teen to help you!

We tried using Chorely and it was awesome

Facing a mountain of sneakers that no longer fit anyone in our house and were too worn to donate, we hired a teen through Chorely to pick them up and find a place to recycle them. Our Chorely helper arrived on time, picked up all the shoes and let us know where she planned to take them. It was a great way to knock something off our to do list and connect with a local young person in Palo Alto.

Check that off the list! Our Chorely helper loads her car with outgrown shoes to donate and recycle. Photo by Palo Alto Pulse.

Got a small job around your house? Connect with Chorely

Download the app on iTunes’ app store. Or contact Anand by email: anandchandra50@gmail.com.

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About the author

Soumya Jhaveri