OCRA Students Launch Village of Larchmont App

To fill the communication gap between local government and residents, MHS OCRA students utilize technology.


Fatimah Khan

The home page of the new Village of Larchmont app, created by MHS OCRA students.

Rebecca Herzberg, Formatting Managing Editor

On January 15, 2021, MHS seniors Calle Harwin, Kate Coughlin, Halle Myers, Samantha Murabito, Sydney Grodin, and Jacobi Kandel from the Original Civic Research and Action (OCRA) program released the Village of Larchmont App, the product of three years of development, hard work, and perseverance. The idea for this app came during the students’ sophomore year when their OCRA class conducted a community concerns survey that yielded surprising and intriguing results. A significant number of community members felt that the local government did not communicate well with its citizens. Coughlin says that it quickly became clear that “communication between residents and local officials was a very prominent issue in the area.” This information inspired these six OCRA students to develop a solution in the form of an app. 

The content of the app is based on the Village’s website which includes information about the local government, public services, parking, and other resources relevant to the community. It also includes information collected from a series of meetings with the Village Board and community leaders. Once this information was gathered, the six students worked alongside Mr. Sammartano, the technology coach for MHS and Hommocks, to translate their ideas and data directly from Google Sheets to an app using the Glide program – a platform which enables users to build apps quickly. “We could not have made this app without [Mr. Sammartano’s] help. He was with us throughout every stage of creating the app – from choosing colors and fonts all the way to launch day” reflects Harwin. All six students are extremely grateful for his guidance throughout this process.

Prior to the creation of the app, the primary means of communication between the local government and community was the Village of Larchmont website. However, the Village’s website can be difficult to navigate, so these students decided that an app would be the perfect remedy.  “Apps are handier and more convenient” explains Murabito. The app provides a simpler means of information delivery through a modern platform. Coughlin describes it as a “newer, easier [way] for residents to learn about what’s going on in their community.” It should not be difficult to find the dates of different town events or basic news updates but on the Village website, it often is. Fortunately, this new app effectively solves this issue. 

Harwin describes a multitude of reasons why residents should download this app. “It is an easy and informative product about the Village of Larchmont” because it strategically lays out information and resources in an understandable and accessible manner. Also, users will “always be informed on upcoming events and news” within the Village. An additional aspect of the app is that it creates a sense of connection between residents and their local government representatives. If interested, community members can “see who is running the Village government and learn a little more about them.” In a time where interaction and connection have become much more appreciated, this part of the app provides a great way to learn about and connect with community members. 

Although this app is specific to the Village of Larchmont, it can be useful for residents of nearby municipalities since many programs overlap. The app includes a variety of resources such as a news bulletin, a calendar for town events and meetings, contact information for municipal services, information about Village officials, and more. If you are interested in exploring or downloading the app, click here. If you would like to watch a quick instructional video on how to download the app, click here.