"We were all there collaboratively to not only teach but to learn a new experience for ourselves. "
2019 THANKSGIVING DAY coding and robotics camp for foster childrens
CODING AND ROBOTICS CAMP FOR FOSTER CHILDREN
11/25/2019 - 11/27/2019
Hayley Song 11th Granada Hills High School During our three-day coding camp, I was able to gain a humbling experience by teaching children who have limited access to computer education. I also gained the experience of working hard towards a greater cause, despite the time constraint. During the time of our preparation, I vividly remember the noisy atmosphere of our center. Team members were running back and forth, making posters, fixing computers, setting up robots and creating lesson plans for the camp. I was in charge of printing the logos for our team shirts and overseeing the ironing of the shirts, as they were being made. Around me, I would see the frustration, but oddly enough, everyone was happy. Laughter filled the air, and it was evident that we were all there to have fun doing what we are told to do. Through this, not only were we able to bond with one another, but we gained support and trust for each other while thinking about the children we were going to face in a couple of days. Although I had school during the days of the camp, I was so eager to go and see the kids and to help them open their eyes to new experiences that they have not encountered before. As I open the door I hear the laughter and gratefulness of the children and see the great smile on everyone’s faces. We were all there collaboratively to not only teach but to learn a new experience for ourselves. As I sat down with some of the kids to help them code in Scratch, something caught my attention: the realization that they really felt excited and had a strong sense of appreciation for our team. Additionally, we held a robotics competition on the last day, and although it was nothing new for our team, it was encouraging to see that these children were actually thrilled and looking forward to this experience. Days before, preparing for the camp, I can speak on our behalf that we were lazy and dreaded actually doing the work, and it was as if we came to socialize. However, after the experience with the kids, it came to me that it is something I really enjoy and that we are very fortunate to have the resources and strong relationships. When I went home, I sat down to reflect upon not only mine but my team’s actions and what it really meant to me. The fact that these children were somewhat underprivileged, for they came from foster homes, I started to think that there are a lot of times where we take our lives for granted. Learning to code, entering competitions, and receiving this extra education almost feels like an obligation to an extent, however, from this coding camp, I was able to grow a consciousness towards my lifestyle. As a middle class to a privileged child, I have grown up to never second guess my household: what I’m going to eat for my next meal, what if I don’t have enough money, what if I don’t have friends to hang out with at school. My parents were always there to support what I did, and they provided for me, without question. Upon this reflection, I really felt for these foster home children. Regardless of social status, they are under a household, not knowing whose roof they would be living under in years to come. All in all, I am so thankful for this experience, and I am looking forward to planning future activities. I hope that in the future, not only will we able to hold local events, and grow awareness of foreign support in our community, but to empower children around the world and put smiles on their faces.
Essay of Coding and Robotics Camp for Foster Children
During the Thanksgiving week of 2019, a Coding and Robotics camp was held to teach foster children that were eager to learn. Our team organized the materials to make a robot, practiced teaching for coding class in front of each other, and salvaged used computers from different places. We then proceeded to make t-shirts to wear that day, produced a poster, and printed registration documents. The 3D printer constantly printed Minecraft items as fun little gifts for the foster children. Calling ourselves nervous the morning of, is an understatement. We were anxious about every little thing that could go wrong. “What if the computers malfunction?” “What if none of the kids pay attention?” “What if no one even shows up.”
However, the moment the first student came in, it almost felt like something clicked. Every member began to do their part to make everything move smoothly. Then, all 16 registered students entered our office one after another. As we practiced, we did our best to do 3 days of instruction. Every child came with their strengths and weaknesses, but with the dedication of our teachers, every single child left the camp every day with a smile.
On the last day, a Robotics Olympics were held as a culmination for past three days of hard work and learning. Teachers, students, and even parents collaborated in the games for an action-packed final day.
During the camp, we made sure to survey each foster child. “What is your dream?” we asked at the very start of the camp. On the first day, a child dreamt of becoming an Apple Store employee. When asked the same question at the end of the camp, he also had aspirations of becoming a computer programmer, which was heartwarming.
Although our teachers and the students came from different environments, we truly felt like one, joined together by the spectacles of computer science.
11/23/2019 T-shirt check! Computer check! Welcome board check! Name tag check! Robot check! 3D print check! Frame check! check! check! check! check!