Family Promise of Greater Savannah is contributing to a movement that aims to give girls and women equal representation in the technology field. Thanks to a generous grant from Comcast, Family Promise is facilitating the local launch of the “Girls Who Code” program in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, starting Tuesday, March 3.
Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, has a very successful Clubs program, which is a free after school initiative for girls in third through 12th grades. Through the Clubs program, girls learn to use computer science to positively impact their community, join a supportive sisterhood of peers within their Club, and connect with a network of 90,000 alumni across the US. And very soon, those opportunities and learning experiences will be available to young women in Chatham County.
To start, the Girls Who Code clubs will be established at Russell E.L. Butler Elementary School, Andrea B. Williams Elementary, Juliette Gordon Low Elementary, DeRenne Middle School, Myers Middle School and Hubert Middle School. Clubs will meet Mondays and Wednesdays in the elementary schools and Tuesdays and Thursdays in the middle schools. Female students in grades three and up will be allowed to sign up for a club, and volunteers will visit each school to facilitate sign-ups. As part of the 21st Century Community Learning program, the Girls Who Code club members will meet two days per week after school, and the two days will vary depending on each participating school’s scheduling needs and availability.
During their meetings, the young women will engage in fun and simple online tutorials to learn a number of different programming languages and build community with each other through interactive activities. Each session also includes a “Women in Tech” spotlight to teach girls about inspiring role models in the industry and show them what’s possible in the computer science space.
For the younger club members, elementary meeting curriculum features activities, characters, and vocabulary drawn from the best-selling Girls Who Code non-fiction book, “Learn to Code and Change the World.” All club members in third through fifth grades will receive free copies of the book as well.
To make these incredible, technology-based educational opportunities available to young women in the Savannah-Chatham Public School System, the staff at Family Promise of Greater Savannah has worked diligently to ensure all the logistics are in place before the program’s launch. Family Promise is recruiting club facilitators for each school, making sure to meet all requirements set by the national Girls Who Code organization, spreading the word to involve students and arranging training for those who will be working with the club members.
“We’re very grateful to Comcast for providing the grant that is allowing us to establish Girls Who Code clubs with our local school district,” said Katrina Bostick, executive director of Family Promise of Greater Savannah. “It’s so important that young women feel confident enough to pursue careers in fields like technology, which typically is male-dominated. To encourage their interest in computer science, though, we have to make sure girls are informed and understand all that the tech field has to offer. It can be intimidating at first glance, and these clubs will help members see how rewarding and fascinating it can be to hone technology skills and use that knowledge to contribute to society. We’re thrilled to be heading up the establishment of Girls Who Code Clubs locally, and it’ll be wonderful to see the relationships and successes that stem from this initiative.”