For the last three summers, Albuquerque non-profit Cultivating Coders has been teaching students who have extremely limited access to technology about computer coding and other STEM programs.
“We parachute into a community. [We] bring all the laptops, all the equipment all the software, whatever the kid needs. We provide it all for free,” said Cultivating Coders founder, Charles Ashley III.
The vast majority of the students in these daily, eight-week classes do not have the option to take any kind of computer classes at school.
“We try to target areas where they might not have a robust STEM program. We go in and we do computer science, coding, we’re implementing some robotics next year,” said Ashley.
This summer, Cultivating Coders is hosting camps in Albuquerque’s South Valley, Espanola and on the Navajo Nation.
KRQE News 13 visited a class in the South Valley, made up of dozens of students ranging in age from 11-18.
“I really want to learn how to code and I want to become a coder when I am past college,” said 11-year-old, Richard Bates.
“I want to be an animator for a famous movie company,” said 14-year-old, Annalicia Sena.
Bates and Sena say their schools do not have computer classes but knew a career in STEM is what they’re interested in, so they applied for the class.
“They had classes but none of them had to do with computers,” said Bates.
Ashley says the classes are more popular than ever.
“We’re beyond capacity a lot of the times,” said Ashley.
Thanks to new partnerships with Facebook and PNM, the classes are continuing to grow.
“We’re growing and growing. Our goal is to get kids interested in computer science and coding and hopefully unlocking those ideas,” said Ashley.
At the end of the course, all the student’s parents come in to see what they’ve learned.
“I knew it was going to give me something for when I get older. So, I can do more things with what I want to pursue,” said Sena.
For more information on Cultivating Coders, click here.