(Photo by Roberto Torres)
Coded by Kids just turned 3 years old. To celebrate, the youth coding nonprofit is launching a crowdfunding campaign that, if successful, will allow it to serve triple the amount of kids currently enrolled in its programs.
Yowza. That’s a lotta threes.
The nonprofit has been steadily developing its model and honing its programming since Iraq War veteran and software developer Sylvester Mobley founded the organization in 2013. Coded by Kids’ mission, though, has remained the same: Bring quality technology education to inner city kids at no-cost, giving them the coding skills they require to find gainful employment in the 21st century.
“We want to make sure we can offer these programs at no cost to students. Students should be able to access this regardless of where they live, regardless of what resources they have access to at a given time,” said Operations Manager Maggie Deptola. “It’s about parity. It’s about being in their neighborhood, but also about being free and accessible in their neighborhood.”
Coded by Kids' goal is to make tech education as 'ubiquitous as youth sports.'
And they’ve been able to be exactly that, largely due to a lean model that relies heavily on partnerships with rec centers, schools and community organizations. It’s part of Coded by Kids’ stated goal of making tech education as “ubiquitous as youth sports.”
“We’ve spent the past three years really refining our processes. We’ve tested to see what works in the classrooms and what hasn’t worked,” said Deptola. “We’re ready to take on more programs. We have the infrastructure in place to run more programs and we want to run more programs.”
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More programs it is. Before now, the nonprofit has only been able to take on 90 to 100 students per week. Thanks to a recent grant from AT&T, Coded by Kids will be adding 60 more students with programs in two new rec centers this fall.
And with the Indiegogo campaign, Coded by Kids will seek $50,000 to add 12 new programs in new neighborhoods.
That’s 14 total new programs available to 300 students across the city. If Coded by Kids is able to get the cash it needs, its expansion will make its the city’s “largest youth coding program,” according to a statement.
It’s quick growth, but Deptola said it has to be: By partnering with the city on the two new rec centers and bringing programming to new organizations such as Mighty Writers and three Friends groups, Coded by Kids is able to have programming in schools this year rather than next.
Education can’t afford to wait on grant cycles.
“This should be a citywide initiative,” said Deptola. “Our ultimate vision is to be able to make community centers, centers of innovation.”-30-
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