The La TechLa Project: Teaching 1,000 Latina Girls to Code

La TechLa-BlogLook around you and it won’t take long to see a young girl with her smartphone, busily texting her friend or reading the latest news about singer Katy Perry on the Internet.

The challenge is to teach these 12- to 17-year-olds about the ways tech can enhance their future work lives, particularly when it comes to coding.

Coding is the language of the future–the future of everyone, including girls. Including girls of color.

Such is the vision of the La TechLa Project, which aims to teach 1K Latina girls to code via bilingual workshops held in eight U.S. cities, plus Puerto Rico and Mexico. The parents of these kids will be taught the importance of mobile tech entrepreneurship in their daughters’ lives, too.

MEDA is proud to announce that one of these classes will be held at Plaza Adelante, the Mission neighborhood center, on Saturday, October 18th, from 10am-4pm (event page). There are plans for 60+ girls to be in attendance.

Jesse Martinez, a MEDA Board member, is the CEO of the Latino Startup Alliance (LSA), which is partnering with Black Girls Code to make this project a reality.

“We have an obligation as Americans and need to ensure that we develop the next generation of innovators that are our Latina youth,” explains Martinez of his vision.

Plaza Adelante’s Tech Center is sure to be abuzz with activity and learning opportunities on that Saturday, with volunteers teaching the coding classes.

Technology Training Coordinator Leo Sosa speaks of the day’s curriculum: “We are very excited to run this La TechLa coding day. This workshop will teach Latina girls to build their own web page in one day, using fun games and activities to introduce HTML, CSS and basic web structure.”

MEDA’s new Technology Manger, Jacinto Noriega, who is looking to build on the three years of work in the community started by his predecessor, Richard Abisla, echoes Sosa’s enthusiasm by stating, “Mission Promise Neighborhood is very excited about being able to support Latino Startup Alliance and Black Girls Code in bringing a hands-on workshop designed for girls of color. These youngsters are going to be empowered to choose technology as a vehicle to make a lasting, positive impact on their own lives, plus that of their families.“

Deldelp Medina, President of LSA, knows all too well how Latina girls can feel ostracized for their love of all things techie. As a youngster, Medina was the sole girl in the after-school computer club at her school. She loved computers, idolized Steve Jobs and wanted to learn to code; unfortunately, all the boys wanted to learn how to play video games. After a couple of weeks, Medina quit the club out of frustration—the same frustration she knows girls still feel today.

Medina walks the talk of making tech entrepreneurship a priority for the Latino community: she is the founder and CEO of Avion Ventures, a Latina-focused accelerator for mobile platforms, thereby making the Colombia native a perfect role model.

On October 18th, 60+ girls will be taking a step into the world of tech. The future is looking bright.

Event page