For sixth-grader Emily, attending our evening afterschool program has opened a new world of possibilities. She’s in her third year in the program but this year is special with the launch of coding, her favorite afterschool activity.

Teaching coding in our afterschool programs is preparing Emily for the future workforce – 71% of new STEM jobs are in computing according to code.org. She’s learned how to debug computer games and is quick to emphasize it has nothing to do with insects. Her team is currently writing code to build a 3D diorama. The scene: the hospital from Pokémon, one of her favorite shows.

But Emily attends the evening program for a much bigger reason than coding – she’s here to support her mom who is taking continuing education classes. “While we’re here, our parents go and study,” Emily says, “I want to help my mom learn things as well.” Emily’s program is an ongoing partnership with a community college district to provide a safe, educational space for kids while their parents go back to school.

When you invest in Think Together, kids like Emily get to learn new skills with the support of qualified staff. “[My program leader] makes me feel like I am able to do things,” Emily says, “And I feel welcome here.” Coding provides her the opportunity to tackle technology with her friends – she gets to “work together with my groupmates.”

Emily will feature her coding skills on April 26 at Meet & Think, our student experience at Raise a Hand: “I’m excited to talk about coding and be in front of people.” We can’t wait for you to meet Emily and our other wonderful students. For ticket information visit www.thinktogether.org/raiseahand.

Little schoolgirl smiling at camera