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Youth Code Jam Keeps Kids Engaged All Summer Long

Posted by execdirect

Youth Code Jam is a nonprofit SVPSA has invested in. We are excited to share an update with our donors!

Youth Code Jam turned the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic into opportunities and found new ways to engage with hundreds of young people from San Antonio and across the United States. They plan to keep that momentum going this summer by inviting youth to participate in one of many summer camps, each a week or two long, including the popular Virtual Code Jam that runs the entire month of July.

As educators struggle with ways to overcome the learning loss students have faced over the last 18 months, many are even more focused on ways to avoid the typical “summer slide.” Youth Code Jam makes computer science fun, and its programs promote digital literacy, problem solving, and strategic thinking to help students build their confidence. Every camp is an inclusive and judgement-free zone where learners of all skill levels and abilities participate, regardless of learning style, background or economic status. And because of the generous support of Youth Code Jam donors, no student is ever turned away because of inability to pay. No computer? No problem. Youth Code Jam works with partner organizations to find devices for students and Bexar County’s Bibliotech will lend out WIFI hotspots.

The Virtual Code Jam is a self-paced program open to students K – 12th grade. Participating students will identify a problem they want to solve and then set about solving it through on- and offline activities and optional weekend workshops. Last year’s Virtual Code Jam attracted more than 300 participants from around the world.

Youth Code Jam shifted to an entirely online model in COVID, which attracted new students from all over the U.S. and gave many local students the opportunity to form new friendships in what may have been an otherwise lonely time. As health and safety concerns ease, Youth Code Jam will once again find ways to get back to in-person events in the community, while striking a balance with the virtual format that proved so successful.

Partner organizations make it possible to expand the work and attract youth from all over San Antonio with a variety of different interests, with a focus on underserved and underrepresented communities including students of color and neurodiverse students who wouldn’t normally have access to these kinds of programs. They include organizations like Spurs Give, Girls Scouts of Southwest Texas, Girls Inc., HEB, GoogleFiber, CodeUp, Port San Antonio, the Jewish Community Center, the Alamo Colleges, UTSA, and other area universities.