Partnerships that matter: Chang School and Black Boys Code help black youth get into tech

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By Margaux Perrin

A Toronto-based non-profit organization funded to help introduce young black boys to the technology world is partnering with the Chang School organization. Black Boys Code conducts workshops that inspire youth to start a career in the field.

On March 2nd, Black Boys Code and Spanning the Gaps conducted a one-day hackathon where a group of young boys age 8 to 13 took part in a technology workshop. In teams of two, their task was to build orb-shaped robots and guide them through multiple obstacle courses. They gained points with every obstacle they overcame.

“The pinnacle of it is getting these boys inspired. That was a core goal and that was definitely achieved”

“The event was as involved as we had anticipated,” said Marie Bountrogianni, the dean of Chang School.  “The boys were keen and eager to learn and they worked really hard but they also had fun,” she added. Spanning the Gaps and Black Boys Code are now working together to see if a permanent collaboration could take place for the future, explained Bountrogianni.     

This initiative pushed these young boys to develop their passion for technology, and it is one of the many events that Black Boys Code plans on organizing over the next few months. Next month, they will hold an event to introduce these young men to software engineering, and following this event will be another workshop on how to develop a website, explained Jason Matthews—current leader of the Black Boys Code.

Matthews got involved in the STEM field when someone he knew guided him through it since, “a lot of young boys, especially young black boys, don’t have that,” he said.  Matthews plans on bringing further awareness and exposing these youth to STEM careers “so they have an opportunity.”

“The pinnacle of it is getting these boys inspired. That was a core goal and that was definitely achieved,” said Matthews. “Impact is measured by how many boys end up in this field,” he adds, “If five to ten years from now, a number of those boys find that technology is a career for them, then we can measure and say this was successful.”       

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