A bunch of kids around a computer


July 13, 2016

Originally posted on ITP Techblog

“Excuse me, are you Vivian?”

“Yeah? Do I know you?”

“Well, it’s funny, because my name is Vivian too, do you remember? You taught me how to code in high school”

As I stared at the young woman, the memories came flooding back. I was a computer technician at a state-integrated girls’ secondary school in Mt Albert, deep in the ‘burbs of Auckland. As a computer technician, my job was to make sure all the tech worked, if there was a printer, a mouse or a desktop, it was my domain. As you can imagine, it wasn’t the most intellectually stimulating of roles. Don’t get me wrong, as a first job, the responsibility was amazing… a sole charge tech shop with over 100 seats to maintain. However, this was the early 2000s, it was a stock standard setup and there was very little that went wrong.

So rather than going home early every day, I started a code club at lunchtime. I opened it to any interested students and taught HTML/CSS.

I didn’t think too much more about this, until the She# event when I met Vivian. She told me that after my ad-hoc code club in Year 9, she became increasingly interested in tech, and is currently finishing off an undergraduate degree in Computer Science.

If you could’ve seen my insides at that time, it would’ve been a sunny beach with fireworks and unicorns dancing across the sky.

It’s not every day you hear that a small thing that you did mean so much to someone else, it changed the course of their life. I mean, yeah, I have no way of telling whether she would’ve gone on to tech without my influence, but one can dream.

This is why we need you. Yes, you! “Reader of the IITP blog”. Chances are you are in tech and have been there for quite a while. OMGTech Rangers have secured sponsorship to run an ICT mentorship program for 20 kids from a low decile school. What is OMGTech Rangers? We are a non-profit charity that has the sole aim of bringing future tech to kids. Our exciting events take kids on an adventure, showing them 3D printing, robotics, coding, unmaking and science.

This latest round of funding allows us to concentrate on a few exceptional kids. Match them up with some extraordinary mentors (YOU!) and hopefully spark that something to take them to the next level.

If you don’t feel that this is you, but you still want to help, we always need volunteers to run our regular events. You don’t have to be an expert, just someone that is enthusiastic and likes kids.

If that is too much still, you can sponsor a kid at the next event. In order to take future tech to ALL kids, at least half the kids at each event is a sponsored spot from a decile 1 – 4 school. We take them, and their teachers, and show them all how to take future tech back to their communities.

Vivian has been volunteering with OMGTech Rangers from day one and is the Science lead when the amazing Nanogirl is off doing superhero science things elsewhere.