'TechJam' Introduces Young Girls to Coding

Technology and engineering industries are male-dominated fields, but one nonprofit is trying to change that trend by introducing young girls to coding. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

When you think of girl activities, what comes to mind?

"Fashion," said one young New Yorker.

"Dancing and singing," said another.

A group of women is trying to add things like coding and building robots to that list. It is just one of the goals of TechJam, an event put on by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York and tech company Vidcode Saturday in Lower Manhattan.

More than 120 Girl Scouts were challenged to learn things like JavaScript and video manipulation, something that is really important to 10-year-old Thalia Benitez.

"When I grow up, I want to be one of those people who designs games," Thalia says.

It is also important for 11-year-old Alyssa Dass, who wants to be a cardiologist.

"Learning this is so important to me, and it is so much fun," Alyssa says.

The girls are learning to code using the software Videocode. It is produced by a company founded and predominantly lead by women.

"It's been such a big problem to get the women and girl involvement in computer science and technology. I think that it is slowly changing. But it is great to see we are moving in the right direction," says Melissa Halfon, co-founder of Vidcode.

Saturday's event is part of a bigger initiative by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York to introduce girls to science and technology at a young age. Some of the girls taking part in this event are as young as 5 years old.  

"You have to start very young. You also have to do it in a way for girls that speaks to their needs and interests. And so having this video-making tutorial is an excellent way for them to see, 'Coding is fun. I can do coding. I see myself there," says Tomika Rodriguez of The Girl Scouts of Greater New York.

It seems that their mission of empower young women is working.

"When I think of girl things, I think of almost anything because to me, there is not really a difference between girls and boys. Girls can do anything that guys can do, too," says Girl Scout Anyia Smith.

These young girls are using their new tech skills to invest in themselves. The second year of online Girl Scout cookies sales started Friday.

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