On Saturday, October 19, 2019 AlbanyCanCode partnered with Girls, Inc. of the Greater Capital Region to host one of our MomUp! events, thanks to a grant provided by The Schenectady Foundation’s  Barbara J. Vivier Fund for Women. The event was held at Girls, Inc.’s Schenectady location, and included six pairs of daughters and moms who came to learn more about coding and careers in tech. AlbanyCanCode Program Managers Stacy and Greg led the event with help from volunteers Severina and Hillary. We were also thrilled to have Barbara J. Vivier herself in attendance to see how the program was run.

The girls and their parents came to Girls, Inc! excited and ready to learn! Greg and Severina led the moms in building a mental map of the tech world while Stacy and Hillary led the girls through building a story animation in Scratch. Their projects included bears, wizards and even centaurs, and we discussed building projects that are accessible to people with disabilities that may prevent them from hearing music and narration, or from reading text on the screen. They were very excited to share these project with their parents in the second half of the program, and to demonstrate what they’d learned about coding principles in Scratch.

The MomUp! Program gives the mothers in our local community the opportunity to learn more about the tech field, how different kinds of technology work together, and find out more about the wealth of different careers that are available in our area. This program provides a welcoming, low-risk way for local women to learn a bit about what it means to work in tech and find out more about the workforce education programs we offer. The basic Scratch lesson gives them a chance to try their hand at coding, which often leads to the discovery of a new potential that they didn’t know they had. These moments give our participants a new sense of confidence in their abilities. The empowerment that comes from this experience is the reason the MomUp! Program has helped us to welcome more women into our workforce programs, giving us the opportunity to prepare them for a new career with greater financial stability. 

While the moms are in their learning session, we also provide a similar program for their children, adjusted for their level and differentiated for the different ages in the group. These activities allow us to introduce coding to the kids, demonstrate that anyone can learn to code, and get them excited to learn more as they go through school.

 A big thank you to the Schenectady Foundation, Barbara J. Vivier, and Girls, Inc. of the Greater Capital Region for hosting us!