Seeds of Light and CodeCombat Expand Partnership with Launch of Glow Academies for Middle School Students

MIAMI, FL / ACCESSWIRE / May 23, 2022 / The partnership, which began with the one-on-one scholarship Glow Fellows program that debuted in November 2021, enables Seeds of Light and CodeCombat to extend their reach to thousands of students, both in the US and internationally.

Leveraging their relationships with community leaders, the partnership furthers the organizations’ aligned efforts to bring accessible computer coding education to children from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in tech. With the rapid success of the individually-focused, virtual Glow Fellows program, the next step was clearly to bring CodeCombat’s award winning educational curriculum to an in-person setting, where it can benefit even more students already engaged with local partners.

“This is the next step in our mission to empower young children from disadvantaged backgrounds to build a better future through education,” said Dr. Edgar White, Director of Seeds of Light. “CodeCombat has been a great partner, and the skills students learn through their products can be crucial in getting them started in a career in technology and computer science.”

The first three Glow Academies were selected in late 2021 and started their pilot programs in Q1 of 2022. One program, at Lake Middle School in Denver, CO, faced the challenge of being the “worst school in Denver on citywide ratings, with many kids in poverty seek identity in gangs “, according to Dino Reyes from NPR. Today, under the leadership of program director Steven Smith, the kids are turning instead to coding at the school’s Glow Academy. “This is a tremendous opportunity and the kids are really excited about it. We need to equalize the opportunities these kids have, and we may find the next Bill Gates who would have never been found without these opportunities,” he said.

CodeCombat’s game-based learning platform Ozaria is the perfect tool for this effort. “We’re honored to be able to support this initiative,” said Valentin Briukhanov, Lead Game Designer for CodeCombat. “We specifically engineered this learning tool with a scaffolded approach, intending for those with no prior coding experience to be able to jump in, play and learn right from the start.”

Another Glow Academy launched in Omaha, NE, in cooperation with Emerging Ladies Academy, led by Executive Director Tiffany Gamble, whose mission of “Empowering Black Girls in Tech” aligns perfectly with the goals of the Seeds of Light and CodeCombat partnership. “The most challenging issues here are access and financial barriers. There are coding programs in our community, however they aren’t easily accessible and not affordable to the students we serve. This opportunity will give our marginalized, underrepresented youth access to computer science skills. where they wouldn’t have this resource. ” Said Ms. Gamble. The impact on young ladies of ELA has already been significant. According to the Executive Director, “The students have gained self confidence in believing they can learn how to code. All the students love the program. They get excited when they move to different levels. I have seen improvement from the students that struggle.”

One of the first locations where Glow Fellows was launched is the Bresee Foundation which battles poverty by empowering youth and families in Los Angeles, CA. Located in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood, the program faced initial challenges among its students. Before working with CodeCombat, “they already have it set in their minds that a career in anything computer related is not possible” explained Alexandra Mayugba, Education and Career Development Director at Bresee. Across the three pilot Glow Academy sites, students experienced issues including internet connectivity or even homelessness while in the Glow Felllows program. To alleviate issues like these and fulfill its mission to “give the students we serve a fighting chance”, Ms. Mayugba found that “our partnership with CodeCombat is the pair of gloves needed for that fight.” Today, “our students love Ozaria [the educational product offered by CodeCombat]. We’ve seen students who have never had experience with coding before get excited about tackling something outside of their comfort zone. “By launching the Glow Academy, students can now take advantage of all the coding and technology education offered through this partnership directly at Bresee , without having to worry about not having computers or internet connections at home.

Seeds of Light is also excited to launch the next Glow Academy in its home base of South Florida, in partnership with After School All Stars of South Florida. According to Richard McKinley, the Director of SFASAS, over 50 students will be participating in the program, and this Glow Academy will be a key component of SFASAS’s mission of “amazing services to at-risk youth to help them learn different skills that can assist them in making better choices towards reaching their goals in life “stated Mr. McKinley.

The participants in the Glow Fellows and Glow Academies programs have shown not only enthusiasm for what they are learning, but a true sense of appreciation and wanting to give back. Allison Chavez, a Glow Fellow from Seattle, WA was excited that she could “build something that would help people in need” as she pondered where her new skills would eventually take her.

The Glow Academies concept is continuing to expand not just in the US, but abroad as well. Recently, a new Glow Academy was inaugurated in Bali, Indonesia. Working with the Mulia Manise Foundation, a local nonprofit led by Edwin Hess which focuses on improving the lives of young women by teaching them career building skills. The inauguration was attended by local government officials and ministers, who see the value of such in demand skills can bring to improving the quality of life of the residents of their community, which has traditionally depended almost exclusively on tourism. Seeds of Light and CodeCombat are continuing to actively look for additional sites for Glow Academy programs in the US and abroad, with a focus on committed local partners who can provide organization, staff and facilities for students that are interested in learning these valuable skills.

Seeds of Light is a 501 (c) (3), religious-centered charitable foundation focused on promoting the growth of positive momentum by focusing on small, but meaningful initiatives. Founded as a private foundation by a family of technology entrepreneurs, Seeds of Light is based in South Florida but with a national reach, as well as being active internationally. It focuses on projects that drive clear, measurable and positive change in the community. One of its core principles is that the modern world empowers people from different backgrounds to better their lives through the development of technological skills. This allows them to make a positive impact both in their professional life, but also in the world around them by using their newfound skills to create new and imaginative solutions to some of the world’s oldest problems like poverty, malnutrition, and depletion of natural resources. To accomplish this goal, Seeds of Light is specifically focused on STEM education across age groups, from young children to veterans retraining for new careers.

CodeCombat makes computer science programs for students to learn coding while playing a real game. Since 2013, over 20 million people have learned to code using CodeCombat and Ozaria, putting them among the most popular coding games in history. CodeCombat was founded in February 2013 by George Saines, Scott Erickson, Matt Lott, and Nick Winter, who had previously developed the language-learning application Skritter. The company is based in San Francisco, California.


Seeds of Light
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SOURCE: Seeds of Light

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