Black Girls Code, Cristina Jones, Kalani Jewel

Black Girls Code Announces Coding Program For Young Coders

Code Along Jr. is an outgrowth of Black Girls Code's Code Along program and is aimed at young coders ages 7 to 10.

Black Girls Code recently continued its partnership with GoldieBlox in their shared mission to educate and inspire the next generation of coders through a free video-based academy, Code Along. According to an April 2 press release, their latest collaboration, Code Along Jr, launched at a live event in March in Los Angeles, is aimed at young coders. Child actress Kalani Jewel will host it, and it has been designed with children ages seven through 10 in mind.

Black Girls Code CEO Cristina Jones said in the press release that the group’s latest venture and its host are perfectly aligned.

“Together, we can change the face of technology,” Jones said. “Kalani, as a vibrant and energetic 12-year-old, is the perfect host for Code Along Jr. She shows girls that tech is fun, not scary. She reaches them at their level and shows them that they can do anything they want. This is so important because tech is at the center of everything we do, and Black girls absolutely have a lot to offer as entrepreneurs, executives, creators, and artists of the future.”

GoldieBlox Founder and CEO Debra Sterling said in the press release that the partnership with Black Girls Code employs a similar synergy as the collaboration between Jewel and Black Girls Code.

“GoldieBlox lives at the intersection of technology, play, and girl power,” Sterling said. “A partnership with Black Girls Code on Code Along Jr. is a natural fit for us. We are thrilled to help expose girls to the magic of tech-enabled creativity and support them on their learning journey.”

GoldieBlox is a toy company that focuses on interactive toys designed for girls. According to its website, its mission “is to reach girls at a young age, and introduce them (and oftentimes, their parents) to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.”

Black Girls Code is filling a critical need in the technology industry. As Fortune reported, only 2% of STEM workers are Black women. Furthermore, only two Fortune 500 companies have Black women as their CEOs. 

Jones told Fortune that the group’s mission is to prioritize inclusion and diversity by empowering Black girls to feel like they belong in the tech industry despite the dismal representation numbers of Black women in the space. 

“We need girls in the room; we need more inclusion in the room,” Jones said. “But the way that we go about it is by creating space for people themselves to understand what their own value proposition is—that they are in the room because they are smart, they’re capable, they’re creative.”

Jones continued, “I really can’t tell you how inspiring it was to be standing there to see little Black girls coming in saying that they’re excited to code and leaving saying that they wanted to come back every day for the rest of their life.”

Jones also described her ambitions to Fortune, “I want to create tables for these girls so that they can create tables so that we can affect change at scale. Because it’s the momentum—once we get going hopefully, it’s like a snowball effect.”

Young coders are encouraged to follow and subscribe to the Black Girls Code YouTube channel and to follow it on social media to receive updates about both Code Along projects. 

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