Black Girls CODE Raises the Next Generation of Tech Innovators

Who runs the world? Girls. Black Girls CODE founder Kimberly Bryant ushers in the next crop of technology gurus by teaching young ladies computer programming and app development.

Girls are writing their future—in code. The non-profit organization, Black Girls CODE, is helping girls empower themselves through computer programming and app development.

Black Girls CODE partnered with HopeLine® from Verizon and Break The Cycle, a youth-led anti-domestic violence group, during a two-day “hackathon” at the 2014 ESSENCE Festival™ in New Orleans. Teens in the “Love Is Respect” hackathon created mobile apps and websites to educate their peers about abuse-free relationships.

The team that developed the top app received a scholarship and selected a New Orleans-based domestic violence organization to receive a HopeLine from Verizon grant.

Kimberly Bryant, a biotech engineer, founded Black Girls CODE in 2011 after her daughter, then 11, became a heavy gamer. Bryant wanted to create an environment for her that was not only educational, but also supportive.

“Our primary focus is to teach girls of color from underrepresented backgrounds to move from being just the consumers of technology to creators of that technology,” she says.

Black Girls CODE works with girls as young as 7 and as old as 17 to teach them skills in computer programming and graphic design. The girls love learning new skills and collaborating with their peers, Bryant says.

“We’ve had mothers that have called us and sent us emails to thank us for the opportunity to expose their daughters to this new and empowering concept,” Bryant says. “And the girls are really diving in, really taking it to the next level and looking forward to building upon those apps after they leave the class.”

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