Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Courtney Cox & Reginae Butler (Central High School)
In groundbreaking technology companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, only a very small number of employees are minorities. CODECREW is a new organization in Memphis hoping to that knock down barriers by teaching kids how to code and change the face of technology.
Petya Grady, one of the founders of CODECREW spoke to Teen Appeal about their six week training camp built to push and inspire young people interested in technology. The program funded by the Memphis Grizzlies, challenges students on the technology that they use so often.
It is reported the only two perfect of African-Americans work in corporations such as Google and Facebook.
Grady, who is from Bulgaria, moved to the South after being accepted into the University of the South Sewanee, originally studying political science. After taking a digital arts class just for fun Grady began to think of ideas to talk to her friends from her home.
“Back then there weren’t as many sites like Facebook to talk to people that easily,” she said. So I made one.”
Right after creating this website, Grady received a job straight out of college as a project manager. She went to take the role of many jobs in the tech industry but in April 2015, she and other thought of a different idea.
“That’s when CODECREW started. We wanted kids to get an early start in the tech industry and diversify the industry and corporations.” The students, seventh through ninth graders, were in a six-week workshop. They learned the fundamentals of tech such as: research, storyboarding, and finally prototyping.
CODECREW operates by its mission statement, “CODECREW empowers kids from underserved communities in Memphis, TN to be tech innovators and leaders through practical, hands-on computer science training.”
For their final assignment, the students were asked to build an app to enhance the experience of the Mississippi Riverfront’s exercise area for the public. The winning team had their app, RiverFit, put into the Google Play store and received prizes for their hard work. “Whatever idea you may have, whether it seems stupid or not. You should just do it and see where it goes,” Grady said.