Many of us digital creatives don’t make time to give back to our communities. I’m not talking about trading code with fellow designers over coffee, I mean the community that butters our bread & gives us inspiration for the creative things we do. Some of us use the excuse that there aren’t enough hours in the week to finish all that we want to accomplish, but we know that’s rubbish. Everyone can find 5 hours out of 168 to volunteer. Everyone.
For CM, choosing to volunteer at high risk inner city schools is a priority because working with these kids gives them a fighting chance in the outside world. We code, build robots & sensors and work on curriculum. There were times they just needed extra hands taking special needs kids to the local pool. The major challenge that these schools face is access, especially to equipment, software and other tools of the trade. We take for granted the powerful (and expensive) tools we digital creatives have at our disposal and we forget that there are kids who won’t learn the depths of how technology works until it’s too late.
They are the demographic that is overlooked, in particular when it comes digital education AND especially when it comes to girls learning technology. These kids are ambitious, bright and eager to learn but there are a lack of mentors who are willing to invest in them…but things are changing. There are organizations like Black Girls Code and Girls Learning Code who are doing amazing things with high risk youth and they need people.
I encourage everyone in the design community to find a school or a local organization to work with because watching a 6 yr old’s face light up when they code their first ordered list is a beautiful thing.