Hour of Code Reaches 375 Students!

 Ilya Rehktor, CEO and Co-Founder of DoubleMap and TPF4Y board member, looks on while students learn the basics of coding.

Ilya Rehktor, CEO and Co-Founder of DoubleMap and TPF4Y board member, looks on while students learn the basics of coding.

Last Wednesday, students from IPS Sidener Academy had an opportunity to participate in Computer Science Education Week for the second year in a row thanks to the efforts of some dedicated TPF4Y volunteers! CS Ed Week is a worldwide grassroots campaign to encourage as many K-12 students as possible (with over 165 million served so far!) to participate in an Hour of Code activity. Students around the globe are encouraged to try their hand at coding by completing one of Code.org’s introductory activities:

 Nate Canada, Engagement Manager at DeveloperTown, helps a student with a question.

Nate Canada, Engagement Manager at DeveloperTown, helps a student with a question.

TPF4Y joined forces with 34 volunteers to take over Sidener Academy during the last period of the day for an hour of Star Wars and Minecraft coding for all 375 students at the school. Volunteers helped troubleshoot and answer questions as students programmed BB8 and R2D2 from Star Wars, learning the basics of coding while playing these fun games.

Hour of Code wouldn't work without the dedicated volunteers who come in to help the kids discover coding, something most of them have never considered despite the technology surrounding them in their day-to-day lives. The "behind the scenes" aspect of how their favorite video game works often seems out of reach.

"Suddenly writing code isn't quite as scary when you're directing R2D2 or helping an Angry Bird squash pigs," said Nate Canada, a DeveloperTown employee. "That's why I love volunteering for Hour of Code - it introduces the often 'scary world' of software engineering in a safe, fun way that allows kids to see the new worlds they can create with code."

 Chris Vaulter, User Experience Researcher at Salesforce and incoming TPF4Y board member, engages with students.

Chris Vaulter, User Experience Researcher at Salesforce and incoming TPF4Y board member, engages with students.

While CS Ed Week is over for this year, there are still plenty of kids who are excited to try their hand at coding and need dedicated volunteers to do it.

"When children get to meet people working in different areas of the tech industry, they can start seeing themselves on that career path," says Chris Vaulter, User Experience Researcher at Salesforce and incoming TPF4Y board member. "You you don't need to be an expert to inspire them - just come with a passion for helping them learn and the program will do the rest."

TPF4Y's current US2020 Initiative has helped to start eight CoderDojo clubs around Indianapolis in the past year, but there are still lots of schools and community centers that want to get started. If you are interested in volunteering to help facilitate a CoderDojo for underserved kids, please contact us at Volunteer@TechPointYouth.org. We need your help to inspire kids to become the next generation of STEM professionals.

 Emily Richards and Pat Adams, TPF4Y committee volunteers thanks to a partnership with the Orr Fellowship, enjoy their time with students during the Hour of Code at Sidener Academy.

Emily Richards and Pat Adams, TPF4Y committee volunteers thanks to a partnership with the Orr Fellowship, enjoy their time with students during the Hour of Code at Sidener Academy.