Unite girls to teach coding

Girls in grades four through eight in Flathead County who want to make a difference in their communities through technology are invited to join Code Girls United.

Code Girls United is a free after-school program for girls who meet weekly to learn the basics of coding and develop apps, including one that will tackle a problem in their community. The girls will spend the first half of the year learning computer basics, then form teams and choose service projects to develop an app and business plan. The girls will then have the opportunity to present their projects in national, national and international competitions. As participants continue with Code Girls, they build on the basics to develop more advanced projects.

“We want to give girls a foundation to understand computing. It’s so pervasive,” Code Girls United executive director Marianne Smith said. “It affects all types of jobs in the future. We want to encourage girls to see if a career in technology is something they would like to do.

Girls will also learn from women who have work experience in IT and business.

“We feel it’s really important that girls aren’t scared or intimidated by this and we make sure that happens in a way that girls love. They’re working on something they’re passionate about. she said, giving an example: “They want to solve the waste problem and make the world a better place.

Registration is open for Code Girls United and space is limited to 25 students per time slot. There are in-person and online options. Flathead County girls can attend in person, Kalispell or Bigfork. In Kalispell, girls can register to attend from 4-5 p.m. Tuesdays or Wednesdays at the Gateway Center, 1203 US 2. In Bigfork, Code Girls United will meet from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursdays at Bigfork Art and Cultural Center. , 525 Electric Ave. Online participants will meet from 4-5 p.m. Thursdays in a Google classroom. Online participants will need to have access to a computer and high-speed internet.

Those interested in volunteering for the association are also encouraged to contact Code Girls United. Volunteers with a background in technology and business are a plus, but people with other skills that can benefit the program are also welcome. Last year, for example, a volunteer with a background in graphic design taught students basic design principles to help with the presentation and appeal of their apps, according to Smith.

“It’s great if people can help with these things because you can have the best technology in the world, but if nobody can use it, it doesn’t matter how great it is,” she said. .

One of the highlight events of the year for the nonprofit is hosting the Northwest Regional App Challenge on April 30, hosted by the nonprofit. Teams participating in the challenge have a chance to win scholarships in the amount of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000. The competition will be held online again this year after organizers realized the competition could have additional reach in the state and remove potential barriers such as travel costs. During the challenge, contestants from across the state present their applications to the judges, which include industry professionals.

“It’s like Minnow Tank,” Smith said with a laugh, a play on the TV show “Shark Tank.”

Sign up at codegirlsunited.org. For more information, call Code Girls United program director Brenda Reiter at 406-334-3183 or email [email protected]

Reporter Hilary Matheson can be reached at 758-4431 or by email at [email protected].

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