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January 14, 2016 / cdsmith

Help 25 to 30 girls learn computer programming in Mountain View, CA!

If you live around Mountain View, CA, and love kids, programming, and/or Haskell, read on!

Empoder is a non-profit organization established to teach computer science to underprivileged kids.  They are looking for volunteers to help with a coding club called Empower Girls Through Code, at Graham Middle School in Mountain View, CA.  This will be 25 to 30 girls, of middle school ages.  The club is led by a teacher at Graham, and we have some teaching assistants already there to help.  Empoder would like a couple more volunteers, to make sure there are enough people to give one-on-one help when it’s needed.

  • Who: A teacher, some fellow TAs, you, and 25 to 30 middle school girls excited about learning to code.
  • Where: Graham Middle School, Mountain View, CA
  • When: Wednesdays, 7:50 to 9:20 am, starting January 27
  • Why: Because it’s amazing… easily the most fun thing I have ever done.

The class will use CodeWorld, a web-based programming environment using a dialect of Haskell.  But you don’t need to know that to volunteer.  We can all learn together.

Hope to see you there!  If interested, email


Leave a Comment
  1. Rendall Crew / Jan 15 2016 12:02 am

    I am not trolling. Do the organizers felt there was a specific need for segregation? Do underprivileged boys harass code-loving girls underprivileged girls?

    • cdsmith / Jan 15 2016 9:29 am

      Good question. I’ve taught using CodeWorld in several schools, and always mixed gender in the past. I wouldn’t say there’s harassment, no. But when there is a girl or two that impresses everyone, the whole class works on getting better. When it’s a boy or two that turns out to be great at it, half the class can become convinced they can’t do it, because of their gender. In a world where television and social cues are constantly hinting that boys are just better than girls at technology, a lot of girls are willing to take any shred of evidence as a sign it’s not worth trying. Of course, programmers know that learning programming makes everyone feel dumb sometimes, so there are plenty of opportunities for them to take this as a sign that they shouldn’t even bother. So I always hope the strongest programmers in my classes will turn out to be girls.

      Empoder wanted to do something else, and try an all-girls class. I support them in trying it.

  2. cdsmith / Jan 22 2016 9:25 am

    I’ve been told there are now plenty of volunteers. Thanks, everyone!

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