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The story of how one librarian brought new career possibilities to kids in their neighborhood.

 

Code: Grow Neighborhood is the evolution of Parkman Coders a program aimed at teaching K-12 youth in the Oakman Boulevard neighborhood on Detroit's far west-side. The program teaches physical computing and computational programming skills using Microsoft's Make Code microbit lessons. This pop-up program was developed by librarian Qumisha Goss, who grew up in the neighborhood and taught herself to program in Python so she could teach youth coding classes at the library.

The Program has grown significantly over the past few years and over the summer the students created and maintained a tech urban garden. The garden not only provided the students with an opportunity to raise their skill interaction levels with coding, but they were also able to provide the surrounding neighborhood with a small amount of fresh vegetables openly available for picking.

Code: Grow serves about 80-85 students a year and has now expanded with an offering of a compensated intern program. This has added an necessary next step to the children that are aging out of the program yet still hold a passion for coding. 

This summer Code: Grow Neighborhood is launching at three community sites in Detroit.

Many of the original Code: Grow students are now applying to college and credit the coding program with guiding them down the path towards pursuing it further through higher education.