Pillar One: Our Students
Youth Code Jam serves as a unique opportunity to spark interest and build confidence, especially for those who might not think of themselves as "math and science kids.” Helping these students build an identity as a successful STEM learner is especially important if we want to attract a diverse technology workforce, particularly when it comes to students under-represented in technology today – girls, low income students and students of color. But it’s more than just attracting students to the tech workforce. Coding accelerates the learning of all kinds of useful skills – like computational thinking, critical problem solving and logic.
While offering programs community-wide, Youth Code Jam focuses on reaching four key populations: girls, 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 throughout 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 recognized in President Obama's 2016 #CSForAll Initiative for our commitment to reach 1,000 students in 2016.