Girls Who Code is a global organization that’s “building the world’s largest pipeline of female engineers.” From partnering with elementary schools and high schools to create coding clubs to working with companies to sponsors coding events, Girls Who Code is doing important work.
Given our passion for helping people in need achieve digital equity and the demand for engineers at all skill levels throughout New England, Girls Who Code’s mission aligns perfectly with our values. Especially when the girls they’re working with come from households of limited financial means. When our Executive Director Jodi Martin heard Girls Who Code was hosting events in Maine, she contacted Angela Oechslie, Program Director of Educate Maine’s Project>Login program.
“Project>Login is the Girls Who Code Community Partner for Maine,” Angela explains. “What that means is we are the local connector-convener organization making things happen for rural schools and communities. When a school, library, afterschool program, or YMCA wants to start a club, they affiliate with Educate Maine to reap resources and benefits for students and facilitators.”
With financial support from HighByte and technology support from The Roux Institute at Northeastern University that came in the form of micro:bits, robots and other tech that campers coded, used, and built, Angela and her team organized six Girls Who Code events throughout Maine last summer.
The camps in Caribou, Skowhegan, Lincoln, and Brunswick had already finished when Jodi heard about them. Fortunately, she had enough time to ship 20 laptops to the following events in Biddeford and Portland. At the end of each camp, 20 girls got to keep the laptops to pursue their dreams of becoming engineers.
Joe Sanderson is the Technology Coordinator at McArthur Public Library and the Girls Who Code camp facilitator for the Biddeford event. “The laptops give IT. get IT. provided our Girls Who Code students eliminated one of their biggest obstacles – access to high-quality technology from home,” Joe said. “These laptops made them feel valued and provided them with the tools they need to continue experimenting so they can grow up to become adult women who code.”
The hand-made signs and smiles on the students’ faces in the photo above are the only thanks we need, but we truly appreciated Angela Oechslie sharing her thoughts on how our refurbished laptops impacted the two events. “The partnership this year helped get devices to the girls, and non-binary participants of the summer camps in Biddeford and Portland, and the best part is that they were exposed to the Linux operating system(some for the first time). Plus, they get to keep the device after camp was over!”
If you love this feel-good story, you’re not alone. When NEWSCENTER MAINE heard about the Biddeford event, they sent reporter Caroline LeCour to cover it.
Not only did Caroline produce the story above, she followed up with us at give IT. get IT. and did a story on our nonprofit organization as well.
Next year, we look forward to working with Angela again to provide laptops for ALL of Project>Login’s Girls Code summer events and any other programs she comes up with during the school year.
We covered the cost of these 20 laptops with donations to our scholarship fund that we receive throughout the year from individuals and businesses. If you’d like to support next year’s Girls Who Code laptop program or anyone who can’t afford the high-quality computer they need to achieve their goals, please consider a tax-deductible donation to our scholarship fund! Or sign up to access Girls Who Code’s Club resources at girlswhocode.com/clubsapply.