Albert Hong, a contributing reporter for Generocity, writes about TechGirlz’s recent expansion into Camden, New Jersey’s waterfront. He focuses on “how the move exemplifies the tech education nonprofit’s mission to empower girls” to look into the possibility of a career in technology. The full article was originally published on Generocity’s website, as a part of “Technology” month for the Generocity Editorial Calendar.
You could say that TechGirlz’s first outreach into Camden, via two coding workshops on July 22 at coworking space Waterfront Lab, was a success.
That’s because, for one, there was originally meant to be only one workshop. Danica Pascavage, outreach coordinator of the the nonprofit focused on exposing middle school girls to the many possibilities of technology, said demand was so high that host Waterfront Ventures helped organize the same workshop a second time for other girls and parents who wanted to take part.
That, and the fact that getting the word out about the workshop was pretty much all handled by groups already present in Camden, including Waterfront Ventures and Hopeworks ‘N Camden, showed TechGirls founder and CEO Tracey Welson-Rossman how her org can best expand into other communities.
Granted, TechGirlz has been focused on its “push strategy” into other states and even around the world for the past two years. Chicago-based IT services company CompTIA granted TechGirlz $125,000 earlier this year to help with getting the nonprofit’s tech curriculum and lesson plans to instructors in the state.
But the recent Camden expansion, for which Pascavage is already working on hosting a third workshop soon, made Welson-Rossman particularly excited, especially with how fast the workshops filled up and how enthusiastic the volunteers, groups and children all were. It spoke to how, at the end of the day, it’s the local community that’s pushing the agenda forward.
“This was a community-driven effort. We’re here to provide the materials and the roadmap for an event,” Welson-Rossman said. “There’s this power that the community is able to provide and hopefully, what we’re able to give is the structure and the opportunity to bring dreams into a reality.”