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Youth Code Jam helps students imagine themselves in the emerging technology-driven jobs of tomorrow by introducing upper elementary through high school students to coding activities and programming languages and by providing parents a roadmap from early coding to digital literacy to future jobs.
Pillar One: Our Students
While offering programs community-wide, Youth Code Jam focuses on reaching four key populations:
- ethnic minorities
- gifted students, and
- teens with high functioning autism and Asperger’s.
Pillar Two: Our Parents
Getting kids excited is the easy part. However, we believe that if we are to be successful in building the pipeline to the more than 1.4 million tech jobs by 2020, we must engage parents and industry professionals, as well. We’re happy to report that Youth Code Jam has been successful in helping parents connect with their children over technology and find ways to continue to nurture their children's interest over time. In addition, we help them connect the dots from playing on a computer to creating on a computer to real world jobs. Parents attend our large-scale events with their children. In many cases, they watch as their child writes his or her first line of code. It’s an amazing experience.
Pillar Three: Our Volunteers
In addition, Youth Code Jam has recruited nearly 150 volunteers - from high school computer science geniuses to college students studying computer science to professionals in corporations all over San Antonio. These volunteers mentor our young students at events, in after school clubs and throughout the community. Their diversity is proof to our students that everyone can feel at home in the tech industry - regardless of gender, color or personality.
A Growing Program
Over the last five years, the original family-learning jam has grown into San Antonio's largest youth coding event and expanded into summer camps, after school coding club support, and popup events for special populations.
We are proud to be an SA2020 Partner and to have been included in the President's 2016 #CSForAll announcement, recognizing our commitment to reach 1,000 students.
Youth Code Jams
- Community-wide event
- Low sensory event for teens with high functioning autism and Aspergers
- Starting in 2016, camps across the city of San Antonio in collaboration with a number of tremendous organizations
After School Clubs
- To date, we’ve seeded after school coding clubs in six public and charter schools, supported by volunteer mentors
- We are currently finalizing plans to begin an after school, higher level programming weekend club for teens with high functioning autism and Aspergers
- Youth Code Jam volunteers participate in a variety of STEM outreach programs hosted by schools, libraries and other organizations, introducing coding at Scratch stations and through CS Unplugged activities.
- Pending funding, Youth Code Jam will begin a series of #ImagineYourself events to curate the most exciting STEM and programming-related projects on Kickstarter, such as PocketLab, a physics lab in your pocket that integrates with Scratch; Nurugo Micro, a powerful smartphone microscope; and Tio, wireless robotic blocks that you can use to build anything with stuff laying around the house.
- Debi Pfitzenmaier
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