Young women in the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s dcConnectGirls Technology Club celebrated the end of their nine-month journey into cyberspace.

The eight-month program was designed to provide an ongoing technology experience that exposes girls to everything from creating web-sites to programming apps, while providing opportunities to explore careers in technology. The celebration included a luncheon for the young women and their families, an awards ceremony, and a guest speaker Sasha Ariel Alston.

Alston, author of “Sasha Savvy Loves to Code,” is a Washington, D.C. native who spoke to the girls about her love of coding. She also inspired the girls to set their sights on careers in science, technology, electronics, and math.

In addition to building their own Kano computers, webpages, and apps, the girls, in grades 6 through 10, also took field trips to see how local companies used various technologies.  The club, as well as the one for young men—dcConnectBoys, was created as part of the dcConnectHome digital inclusion initiative which is part of a national program to increase access and technology education for HUD-assisted families.

As part of the dcConnectHome digital inclusion initiative, the club was an extension of the AspireIT two-day summer computer coding camps held in 2016 and 2017. AspireIT is a program that connects high school and college-aged young women with girls in grades K-12 to cultivate an interest in technology. dcConnectGirls engages middle and high school-aged girls from the District of Columbia Housing Authority’s public housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs. 

dcConnectHome is led by the Office of the Mayor and DCHA, representing one of the original 28 communities nationwide selected in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in ConnectHome, a national initiative. Partnerships are the key to dcConnectHome’s success—national partnerships established by HUD ConnectHome, like Kano, have been instrumental in providing technology based opportunities for DCHA residents.  In addition, the dedicated collaboration between the local government and DCHA resulted in successfully connecting 1,785 households throughout DCHA’s portfolio to high speed internet. Nearly 760 school-age children live within those 1,785 households.

At the end of the program, each young woman was given her Kano computer, coding book, a signed copy of Alston’s book, a dcConnectHome t-shirt, and various AspireIT items.

Call 202-435-3382, email dcConnectHome@dchousing.org, or visit www.dchousing.org/connect for more information on dcConnectHome.

Sasha Ariel Alston sings copies of her book, "Sasha Savvy Loves to Code," for members of dcConnectGirls Technology Club.
Last modified: 7/2/2018 2:21:05 PM