This post was authored by Eve Balick, regional partnership coordinator for Girls Who Code in New Jersey.
I’m excited to be guest blogging for JerseyCAN on behalf of Girls Who Code, a leading national non-profit with the mission to close the gender gap in technology. I’m going to update you on developments in our organization, in particular regarding the striking traction we’re gaining in New Jersey and where we hope to go from here. If you’d like to join our movement and start your own Girls Who Code Club (like I did, which is how I got involved with Girls Who Code in the first place) you can do so at www.girlswhocode.com/Clubs.
Girls Who Code – Striving to Encourage Girls in Tech
To accomplish our mission to close the gender gap in technology we focus mostly on 3rd-12th grade girls. We find that if they stay involved in computer science during those years, they continue in the field. Two avenues we use are our free after-school clubs and our Summer Immersion Program. We have 6,500 clubs in the U.S for 3rd-12th grade girls and dozens of summer program sites at top tech companies around the country aimed at 10th and 11th grade girls.
Girls Who Code in New Jersey – Onward and Upward!
My role is to help start new free Girls Who Code Clubs in New Jersey and to recruit girls for our Summer Immersion Program. When I started in this role in 2017 my task was to launch 100 new Clubs in our state. We did it! In this 2018-19 school year we currently have over 380 Clubs! I’ve just launched my efforts to start new clubs for the 2019-20 school year. Clubs can be hosted at schools, universities, non-profits, libraries and faith-based institutions. For school districts and organizations that hope to start five or more clubs, we offer free partnerships that provide additional resources.
For a 6th-12th grade Club, all you need is computers, internet access and a facilitator (someone over 18 years old). No computer science experience needed! We provide an online curriculum, $300 of grant funding per semester, t-shirts for our Club members, exposure to women in tech, and job resources for our students through our online job board #HireMe.
Our summer program is a free seven-week program teaching computer science skills and providing mentorship to the participants. The program will take place at top company sites in New Jersey in 2019.
Three years ago my then-ninth grade daughter wanted to start a Girls Who Code Club at Kinnelon Library. She needed an adult to serve as facilitator, so I offered to do so. Then, two years ago I decided to start working for Girls Who Code. Meeting educators, non-profit leaders, STEM network organizers, librarians and students interested in computer science has been very inspiring. I meet a lot of New Jersey girls who are involved in some way with Girls Who Code. It is highly rewarding work. Our Kinnelon Library Girls Who Code Club is going strong. I encourage you to start a Girls Who Code Club in your community too. At Girls Who Code we believe in inspiring girls to be brave and worry less about being perfect. I was a little bit brave to start a Girls Who Code Club and to start working for this wonderful organization. I’m calling on you to be a little brave too – join our movement and help more NJ girls gain exposure to an amazing career path.