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Organization brings computer science classes to kids in the urban core

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Posted at 8:45 AM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 04:24:07-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the tech industry continues to grow, one local organization is working to make sure kids in the urban core don't get left out.

We Code KC offers free classes to expose kids and teens to cyber security and computer programming.

The organization hopes to spark their interests and help increase diversity in the industry.

"Technology is a billion dollar industry and minorities are slowly getting involved," said Tammy Buckner, co-founder of We Code KC. "We felt that this was the best way to provide and offer a free program in the community so that kids can get exposed as soon as possible."

Buckner helped start the organization after dwelling on her own past. Her parents bought her a computer when she was a child, but instead of simply playing games or doing homework, she took it apart.

"I did not have a mentor to help guide me. I did things on my own," Buckner said. "I just knew I wanted to work with computers."

She later founded Techquity Digital, LLC, a solutions-based technology company that develops websites, mobile apps and software for project management and strategic business development.

It wasn't until the summer of 2019 when she and her business partner, Dr. Philip Hickman, started We Code KC to pour into the young minds of Kansas City. She said the response has been overwhelming.

"During the Christmas break, we shut down because we were thinking people were going to be on vacation and we wouldn't have the amount of kids that we needed, but no," Buckner said. "We were getting phone calls and emails, saying, 'What are you doing? My kids are looking for coding.'"

We Code KC serves youth ages 7-17. They offer classes every first and third Saturday at Thrive Health Connection, located 5008 Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.

While Buckner hopes to draw children and teens, she said they are also in need of mentors and volunteers with or without a computer background.

Mentors will assist the children in logging on to the computers and getting them signed in. Volunteers must have a background in technology and an interest in working with the curriculum.

To sign up a child or learn more about becoming a volunteer, click here.