During these summer weeks my Girls Who Code Students have graduated the school year and moving on to bigger and better things. I am proud of all of them and even hope to cross paths with them again one day. With that being said I now have more free time to focus on one of my other hobbies, entrepreneurship.
I was looking for volunteer opportunities in my area and came across one that was definitely unique from the rest. First impressions are that I have never seen a volunteer opportunity that had anything to do with entrepreneurship skills. Most volunteer opportunities that I see involve serving food to the homeless, volunteering at a children’s hospital, tutoring at a school, etc. With most of these, I have learned skills that I also apply with my job now. I enjoyed every volunteer position I ever took and each one has taught me something different or added on to shaping my character. I say that because if you are thinking about volunteering know that you can try out multiple! Just be careful not to try and do them all at once, I know how exciting! but overwhelming that can be.
The SCORE volunteer position from my understanding is a group of people who are willing to mentor small business owners. Now everyone does not have experience in mentoring, let alone how to mentor a business owner in that case, you yourself will receive a mentor to teach you how to do it. I think an awesome aspect of this is that most people, if not all the mentors actually have a self-started business as well. The mentors are speaking from experience and dealing with the current market themselves. Also for people who don’t have the experience to mentor a buisness you can use your hobbies and skills to help these businesses as well. For example, anyone who wouldn’t mind fixing a church’s computer for free could offer some services for them for a problem that could’ve been more costly and time-consuming. SCORE is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help those with small businesses. It also says on their website that they are partnered with SBA, the Small Business Association.
I am writing this to inform more people about this opportunity and if it is something that interests them, I dare them to take a chance and make a difference in their small business community.
if you have been following along in the GWC journey posts you would have seen that I have been volunteering at a local middle school to promote the Girls Who Code after school program. I decided to do this because I wanted to give back to the program that helped interest me in coding.
Now in this post, I want to share what our final day was like in the Girls Who Code afterschool club. Before this day came I gave the students a two-week reminder of when our last meeting would take place. I decided to do this to allow them to tell me what they would like to see included in our last few meetings.
The students loved this idea of participating in the decision making and threw out multiple ideas. After polling up to the votes we decided that on our last days we would do more get to know me activities while doing summer related activities and talking about their futures. It is so interesting to hear my students talk about where they would like to be after high school or after college as I know we change when we get older and our minds shift and mature.
So on our second to last day, we had Slime Day! Where, yes…..we MADE OUR OWN SLIME! It was so much fun and everyone was engaged and just like in our coding activities we talked about what we expected to happen, what actually happened, if we were to do this activity again what would we do differently. I really like to get students to think rather than just state only what they are observing. I think it applies in all aspects of life as in yes you could have had a bad day but was it really a bad day or was it a bad start to the day or a bad lunch hour? Everything that we do gives us an opportunity to think creatively and imagine what-ifs that are beneficial to the situation. That is a little off topic but I liked that they were doing more than stating the current situation and thinking about even the process of making slime because I think that is something that can help them our in life not even just coding.
Also, I again want to state that I enjoyed running this program this year with my students. Most of my students will be graduating middle school or continuing their education at a different middle school. I haven’t decided yet if I will do it again next year or if I will try something else. Anyways thank you all for reading up on the journey and hope you enjoyed!
GWC students met to create background scenes for mystery video game they are creating from Scratch & create a short presentation on inspirational leaders within the tech industry.
The student’s overall goal is to create, as best they can, a mystery game with some form of coding. Due to school systems regulating all websites and not allowing students to download other programming languages to learn with, I had to research many websites to code on. The first step though was to teach the art of pseudocode. This is where you get a piece of paper and as best you can plan out what you want your code to do. This helps to get students mind into thinking about each line or step that the code will have to take to get the sprites in Scratch to interact or move across the background. Scratch is an MIT coding program that is free to the public. Better yet it is also a website that is not banned for the school students!
The goal of this was to have the students start applying learned skills such as running into coding challenges and coming up with solutions to overcome them.
The second half of the meeting students were tasked with the project of finding inspirational leaders within the technology industry. Each student took the time to gather a short presentation to share with the other students what was most inspiring about the person they chose and how it can motivate them to pursue things that might look challenging in their future.
The second goal of this meeting was to help build confidence within the students by having them present out loud, find common ground amongst each other with what can motivate or inspire them, and awareness to other role models that they can now find interest in.
Hope you enjoyed reading about this project & thanks for reading!
This week in the Girls Who Code meeting we started working towards developing our Computer Science Impact Project. The students this year expressed that they would like to create a mystery game. A lot of my students from grades 6-8th grade. They expressed how they felt creating this game would show other kids in their school that coding can be fun and how even though they are young they can create something awesome to share with others.
To get this project started we planned what we wanted the end result to look like in the game. This was to give vision and creativity to the possibility of what we could come up with. It also helps me as the facilitator decide what platform might be the best to use based on the needs of the game. Because of this, I decided that GameMaker Studio 2 might be the best platform to create a mystery game with magic, potions, etc.
Teaching my students how to code one of the biggest challenges I am trying to avoid is the students feeling like the project is overwhelming. To dive right into coding the game I feel would not be the best decision. I decided to have them go through a walkthrough tutorial that we go through together where they create games that will give them skills to apply to the game they wish to create. The first game we are working on is replicating a shooter game. They created a sprite (or character) that can shoot out at enemies.
By creating this game students have learned how to create movement. They are learning to debug their code, find errors in their code. They are enjoying the process of building a game and I am proud of them for it.
Comment below if you have ever played any games? What types do you like?
Girls Who Code is a non profit organization that hopes to bridge the gap in the lack of women that have computer science degrees. The website GirlsWhoCode.com is very informative in the fact that they list a lot of facts and statistics about how successful the program is.
There are two parts to the program; one you can participate in the school club or secondly, the summer immersion program. I participated in the Summer Immersion program and it was AMAZING. I learned so many things about how computers work and how there are soooooooo many jobs that are computer related. The Girls Who Code program WAS NOT all about forcing girls into computer science. It was about bringing awareness to what computer science actually is. So many people think “omg thats about sitting at home in your mom’s basement hacking the world for hours all lonesome like”, but its really not. Computer Science coding has so much more to it. With this new segment on my blog I hope to share my experience and also bring awareness to computer science as well.
This year I have decided to start a GWC Club as an GWC Alumni. I feel it is the best way to give back to all that GWC has done for me. With that said while I live in Arkansas, I will be creating a GWC Club on the Air Force base I work at for a year and blogging the whole experience so look forward to it!
Comment below some activities or programs you have participated in that have influenced your life!
I went to my first baseball game! I was volunteered to help out at the local baseball game in the downtown area. I worked the concession stand helping customers order hot dogs, BBQ nachos, soda’s, etc to enjoy the game. I got to work along my shop members as well. Even though I did not see much of the game I still had fun and enjoyed the fireworks later that night! I also walked away with a neat souvenir cup.
Comment below some of your favorite activities or events to go to! Hopefully next time I will actually order a hot dog and get to enjoy the game too!
Volunteering is something that everyone should take a chance to do at least once. You might find that you really enjoy helping others and one day can start a non-profit organization. Some of you might find that uhhhh its not as fun as you thought but then I would just suggest trying out a different volunteer opportunity. Volunteering is honestly as fun as you make it. I would also suggest inviting your boyfriend or girlfriend and other friends because it helps the time pass by faster if the volunteer activity is requires physical labor.
The last volunteer opportunity Stefan and I took advantage of was August 1 2017 from 0800 to 1100 we were apart of the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store! You can see pictures on my Instagram account linked in the about me page or just view the pictures below!
The way that Habitat for Humanity works is that the houses they build are 100% from donations. The employees are paid through the efforts of the Re-Store which is basically like a thrift store items are donated and then sold to the public to pay the salaries of the employees so that houses can still be built for those who can’t afford one.
When I was growing up I almost always had a pet whether it be a rabbit, a dog, or fish. Now I can’t have a pet where I live because the only ones allowed are small fish, which I will end up getting anyway but you can’t have a pet that you can’t actually touch, am I right? I prefer to have a pet that can bark at me when he wants attention. My friend told me about this Animal Shelter in Arkansas called Jacksonville Animal Shelter. At this animal shelter they specialize in caring for rescue dogs. The other pets that they have are a variety of dog breeds and cats. Volunteers between middle school through high school are what they cater to. Which is great because if your child says that they want a pet you can see how they do with a dog at the animal shelter first or even if they aren’t allowed to have a dog. They also have a huge grassy area for the dogs to play and roam around.