DC Youth Code their Way to Success

Young men in the dcConnectBoys Technology Club recently learned how to use Python and Scratch to code simple video games on the new Kano computers that they built during the club kickoff in March. Following the success of the dcConnectGirls Technology Club, dcConnectHome started a similar club for young men in grades 6 through 10. Both clubs were created under the dcConnectHome digital inclusion initiative, part of the ConnectHomeUSA national program to increase access and technology education for HUD-assisted families.

 EveryoneOn's Joojo Ocran leads a participant through a coding challenge

EveryoneOn's Joojo Ocran leads a participant through a coding challenge

“These coding languages are different means through which kids can create applications,” said EveryoneOn’s Joojo Ocran, who was leading the April Saturday session. “There are different ways of viewing the code and understanding it. These are different tools for them to express themselves and different avenues for them to make things.”

The club, which meets every fourth Saturday of the month, began March 24th and will teach the young men how to build a computer, coding basics, photography, and photo editing. Each class, held at the Frederick Douglass Community Center at 2000 Alabama Avenue, S.E., also gives the participants an opportunity to explore various careers in technology. 

Volunteer photography facilitator, Shingai Mazonie, plans on teaching the young men about photography and digital editing.  Mazonie works in the information technology field as an IT Service Technician and recognizes the importance of providing youth with opportunities to explore technology.

 Examining Kano's instruction booklet

Examining Kano's instruction booklet

“I like to put in volunteer time with my community that will impact the lives of young, black youth,” he said.

One young creator, 12-year-old Isiah, said he joined the club to avoid boredom at home. “This is my first time building a computer,” said Isiah, as he was using the newly built Kano to create artwork.

 

Diozze, 14, agreed the club was a good way to pass the time. “I’m learning how to code and discovering stuff right now,” said Diozze as he was working his way through Kano’s programs on the computer he built.

dcConnectHome is led by the Office of the Mayor and DCHA, representing one of the original 28 communities nationwide selected in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in ConnectHome, a national initiative. Partnerships are the key to dcConnectHome’s success—national partnerships established by HUD ConnectHome, like Kano and EveryoneOn, have been instrumental in providing technology-based opportunities for DCHA residents.  In addition, the dedicated collaboration between the local government and DCHA resulted in successfully connecting 1,785 households throughout DCHA’s portfolio to high-speed internet. Nearly 760 school-age children live within those 1,785 households.