‘Scratch Day’ workshop teaches young girls computer coding skills

Learning the code: Imani Ray got an intro to coding at a free workshop for elementary and middle school girls on Scratch Day in Crown Heights on May 13.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

They’re starting from “Scratch!”

More than a dozen young girls flocked to a free workshop in Crown Heights on May 13 to learn computer coding on a program designed with kids in mind.

The event held in the Crown Heights Apartments community room on St. John’s Place was a local observance of “Scratch Day.” Scratch! — a software developed for children and teens — teaches them how to use computer coding to create animated and interactive projects. Each year, thousands of educators and children worldwide hold free “Scratch Day” workshops in May to teach young people how to navigate the program and learn cool ways of coding.

“They learned how to make games and mazes, and build their own programs, which is very creative because coding takes a lot of effort,” said Jahnia Cherenfant of Digital Girl Incorporated, a Brooklyn-based outfit that sponsored the Crown Heights event. Digital Girl focuses on encouraging girls — who they say are under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics classes — to pursue computer education.

The girls were enthusiastic about the “Scratch Day” opportunity, but so was at least one parent, who learned about the event online and brought his 11-year-old daughter.

“I just wanted her to experience computers and know how to use programs,” Herb McGarrell said of his daughter Jahzara. “She said she’s interested in computers and now we are looking into classes for her to take. She really loves learning how to create games and things that she didn’t know about and I’ll absolutely bring her back here next year.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.
Question and answer: Toni Robinson, left, the director of Digital Girl Incorporated, helps 11-year–old Jahzara McGarrell.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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