Youth Code Jam was included in an announcement by President Barack Obama as part of his #CSForAll initiative at the end of January, recognizing the San Antonio nonprofit’s commitment to reach at least 1,000 students with the opportunity to learn to code.
In his final State of the Union address earlier this month, President Obama put emphasis on “…offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on Day 1.” Youth Code Jam couldn’t agree more. “We have a new reality,” said Debi Pfitzenmaier, founder and CEO of Youth Code Jam. “Computer science can no longer be added-on as an afterthought. There’s reading, writing, ‘rithmatic and running code. But there’s more to it than that. We must connect computer science to a career path in the eyes of the students, then provide meaningful opportunities throughout their school years to keep them engaged.”
Youth Code Jam’s White House commitment reads:
San Antonio Youth Code Jam commits to reach at least 1,000 students, 4th through 12th grade, with coding opportunities at events where youth, alongside their parents, can explore various programming languages and interact with volunteer mentors free of charge. Through support from the 80/20 Foundation, Rackspace, Google Fiber and others, the program will expand to include summer computing camps with scholarships for low-income and underrepresented students and opportunities specifically for teens on the autism spectrum.
In addition to hosting San Antonio’s largest youth coding event in September, Youth Code Jam will offer affordable computer programming camps this summer for tweens and teens. “To encourage more girls to participate this summer, we are excited to announce the new Conceptual MindWorks Scholarship for Girls,” added Pfitzenmaier. “We hope it will encourage more girls to embrace computer science and imagine the possibilities that exist for them in the world of science, technology, engineering and math.”
It was a true honor to be recognized by The White House.
(*image courtesy of the National Science Foundation)