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Building Community Through Code

How volunteering with Code Club helped one coder feel more connected to her work

Erin Johnston
14 April 2020

A typical day in Claudia Feochari’s life revolves around coding. Currently a Software Engineering student and Data Research Assistant at KCJ, Claudia first found her passion for code at age 18 and hasn’t looked back.

A couple of years ago, Claudia began looking for volunteer opportunities within the coding community and discovered Code Club.

“I was told that there was already a Code Club going on in a public library in my area and I was thrilled to find out that they needed an extra volunteer.”

Selfie of Claudia

Claudia Feochari, Code Club Volunteer and KCJ’s Data Research Assistant.

Code Club Canada is a nation-wide network of volunteer-run coding clubs for kids aged 8-12. Over 1000 clubs across the country meet regularly to explore code through creative, hands-on projects. For someone like Claudia who had experience working with children and the desire to share her love of coding, volunteering with Code Club was a perfect fit!

Never too young to learn a new skill

One of the things that surprised Claudia the most while working with the group of young coders?
“How fast the children learned! I only learned how to code at the age of 18 and I wish that Code Clubs existed when I was 8 - 12 years old.”

Even though many of the kids started Code Club with no coding experience, they constantly pushed the boundaries to find creative solutions to the challenges Claudia gave them.

“I assumed they would take longer to learn the lessons I had planned out for them but they proved me wrong. I was thrilled to see the excitement in the children’s eyes when I gave them the next instructions.”

A Code Club volunteer guides a coder through a project.

A Code Club volunteer guides a coder through a project.

Paving the way for the next generation of coders

As a woman working in STEM herself, Claudia is no stranger to the fact that women are a minority in the field.

“I remember there were fewer girls [in the club] than boys and I’ll never forget an 11 year old girl who came every Saturday and sat in front. She always brought her notebook and took notes and told me she practiced what I taught her at home. That was the most rewarding interaction for me as I served as a mentor for young girls who are interested in pursuing STEM careers.”

The long-term impact of volunteering

While encouraging the Code Club participants to expand on their problem-solving skills, Claudia realized that she was learning along with them.
“It made me a better coder!”

In fact, this volunteer experience has had a huge impact on Claudia’s life, which she still feels today.

“The experience I had volunteering really impacted me as it gave me additional skills in STEM and expanded my professional network, too.”

While volunteering, Claudia also learned about Kids Code Jeunesse. Fast forward to today, Claudia now ensures all of our programs and services run smoothly thanks to her behind-the-scenes coding in her role as our Data Research Assistant.

Want to make an impact in your community, too? Volunteer with us! It’s the perfect way to boost your own coding skills while helping kids discover a new passion. We’ll help you find a volunteer opportunity that fits your schedule and interests and provide you with all the resources you need. Whether you’re totally new to the world of coding, or you’re already a seasoned professional, we have a volunteer opportunity for everyone!

We’d like to give a warm thank you to CanCode, Ubisoft, and the Ministry of Economy and Innovation in Quebec whose funding and continuous support is helping us launch more free Code Clubs throughout Canadian communities than ever before.

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