What do you get when you teach others what you love to do, and have the support and encouragement of your company to do it? Fulfillment. That’s what several of us experienced this summer while teaching girls the basics of coding at the Girls, Inc. of Carpinteria’s Eureka! summer program. It feels good to make a difference in our local community by giving back and inspiring others. When we asked the Teen Programs Manager at Girls Inc., Kenya Rodriguez, why she decided to partner with Procore, we were delighted by her answer,
“Our mission at Girls Inc is to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold. The Eureka program is designed for girls who are specifically interested in STEM. We knew working with Procore would make a great addition to the program as we’ve seen a direct correlation between hands-on experience and these girls believing in their ability to achieve in this arena.”
The girls we taught for three weeks ranged from ages 12 to 14 years old. We taught Java and covered basic computer science topics including “if statements” and “for loops.” Their learning led to creating more geometrically complex pictures by using their ever widening toolset of programming concepts. We taught in pairs and trios so that we could take turns teaching at the front of the classroom and assisting the students side-by-side. This combination of teaching and mentoring was a challenge and allowed us the opportunity to improve our coaching skills. When we asked Procore developers why they chose to participate, this was their response,
“I thought it would be fun! And I want to do something to help get kids interested in programming early on. I like that Procore supports this effort to positively impact the community.” -Zaira Tomayeva, UX Researcher
Our effort is known as the Procore Code Corps. Code Corps is a joint effort between Procore Engineering and Procore.org to help improve the quality of computer science education in our local area. Jessie Davidson, educational content developer for Procore.org, has supported and championed this effort and developed the partnership with Girls Inc. for this teaching engagement.
It’s one thing to know how to code, but it’s another thing to know how to teach others how to code.
Procore recognizes this and the challenge that is teaching. We also realize how important it is for the success of our company to have a team that is well-equipped to teach others, so we decided to invest in developing this skill further. To accomplish this, Procore.org partnered with the Southern California based non profit, Teaching Kids Programming Labs, run by Jessica Ellis and Justin Valley. The TKP Labs training team leverage a TKPJava curriculum created by the organization, which is an open sourced curriculum that matches what our local students need. The program includes experience with Java and computer science fundamentals. Jessica and Justin came to Procore and met with us monthly to teach us about the curriculum and to share best practices for teaching kids how to code based on their collective experience of having trained CS teachers world-wide for several years.
This was a good opportunity to give back to the community. We were given the time away from the office to make this contribution and it was powerful to see the impact it made on the students.
And we’re just getting started.
This is the first of many teaching engagements we plan to have in our local community. Know of a way we can make a difference? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always looking for a way to make a positive impact in the community through education and mentorship.