Girl Develop It led coding classes in a Delaware women's prison - Generocity Philly

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Feb. 1, 2018 10:26 am

Girl Develop It led coding classes in a Delaware women’s prison

The tech education nonprofit taught 12 women at Baylor Women's Correctional Institution to build their own websites — sans internet.

Girl Develop It at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution.

(Courtesy photo)

Girl Develop It (GDI) is upping its commitment to serving the technically underserved.

The national, Philly-based nonprofit that helps women develop their tech skills visited Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle, Delaware across three weeks this past December to teach a handful of its inmates and correctional officers the basics of HTML and CSS.

The volunteer instructors faced a few challenges, including that some of the incarcerated women hadn’t been online in years — “Last time I was online, the big thing was MySpace,” said one — and indeed, the most glaring challenge was no internet in the prison; coding, of course, typically requires web access. But the team got creative and figured out a way for the 12 women in the class to create their own mock websites.

GDI’s leadership wrote about the experience on Medium, including why they planned the classes in the first place. Simply put:

“At Girl Develop It, we believe in including people who have been left out of technology education. Teaching incarcerated women is fully aligned with our mission to provide accessible and judgment-free opportunities for diverse women from all backgrounds interested in learning web and software development.”

The authors noted, too, that once they’re released, the inmates can stay connected to the GDI community via local chapters, including one in Wilmington. And as returning citizens and service providers know well, recidivism rates are high — but what can help lower them are employable skills and a strong community ties.

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