SEATTLE -- Here at Q13 News, we recently lost our friend and coworker Gordon Hayes to cancer. He was only 62 years old.
Gordon loved his family, music and the Seahawks. He stood for civility and kindness and was a good friend to so many of us.
So we'd like to put the spotlight on a program that was important to him.
Here at Q13, Gordon was in charge of keeping our technology working. When he passed away, in lieu of flowers, his family asked donations be made to an organization called Black Girls Code.
We wanted to learn more about the organization, so we headed to Tacoma.
“Today I am here because I want to learn how to make my own app," said Morgan Hardeman, who arrived on a mission. “I’m always on YouTube and social media and other websites and when you look further into it, you never know what’s behind it.”
Curiosity motivates the girls -- age 7 to 17 -- at the Black Girls Code workshop. This was the nonprofits first-ever workshop in the Pacific Northwest.
“We have this big digital divide between the haves and have-nots. What I’ve noticed is the haves have more of a technical background," said Charles Anderson of Black Girls Code.
So together they're working to bridge that digital divide -- getting girls open to the idea of a career in computer programming and calling on women of color to be mentors.
Allison Suarez, a software engineer intern at Microsoft is one of those volunteers. Suarez is breaking into a field in which 90-percent of the jobs go to men.
“I do this mainly because I want young girls to believe in themselves,” she said. “They are able to see someone who looks like them, doing something that they never thought was possible for them.”
Since launching in 2011, Black Girls Code has engaged 37,000 girls in coding and technology.
One of the girls is a high school senior who just graduated and got a full-ride scholarship to UC Berkeley, where she will study computer science.
If you would like to learn more and honor the memory of our beloved friend Gordon Hayes, go to blackgirlscode.com.