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Local non-profit looks to engage youth with STEM program

Children in the Black Kids Code program learn how to create their own app and in turn build their confidence through their work.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Through an initiative with local organization, Change Today, Change Tomorrow, children are learning some new skills.

It's a program called Black Kids Code teaching participants how to make their own app and how to believe themselves.

One of the program's leaders is CEO of J Computer Solutions Jyrone Parker. He has been interested in STEM related fields and started coding when he was a child and now as an adult he's teaching it. A mission that's personal for him. 

"Other Black kids in my school they saw me as an exception like they couldn't see that as a possibility for themselves," Parker said. "It made me sad that they didn't even see that as a possibility and I want to change that."

According to Pew Research, Black people account for about 12% of the adult population—yet only about 7% of workers in computer occupations. 

That's part of the reason why Black Kids Code started. This group of children is learning web development like making web games and how to develop a mobile app. All of complements that go into coding can get complex but what they're learning about themselves is simple.

Parker said once kids in the program begin to code they start to believe in themselves and wants them to keep that mentality. His six-week program introduces them to STEM in a way they may not have seen before.

"Representation really matters the more you see somebody who looks like you in a certain field the more you're going to associate yourself with being able to attain that field or status," Parker said.

So while they're here learning to code — laptops are out, thinking caps are on and self-confidence is on full display.

The plan is to have another session for children to sign up for but they are still working out the details for that.

For more information on the Black Kids Code program, click here.

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Contact reporter Kristin Pierce at kpierce@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook 

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