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Tech Non-Profit Spotlight: Girl Develop It

One of the major organs in WebDevStudios’ anatomy is its gigantic heart, and from it comes our contribution to the community in both charitable and educational capacities. As giving back is part of the core of WDS, it only made sense for us to turn the lens outward and shine a light on other people in the tech community who are similarly passionate and proactive.

As a result, welcome to our monthly spotlight on non-profits who are doing the good work–the meaty, meaningful stuff–and making the world a better place. Last month, we featured Hack the Hood, an Oakland-based organization that focuses on providing technical skills and training to low-income youth of color. This month, we’re highlighting Girl Develop It.

MEET GIRL DEVELOP IT!

Girl Develop It is a non-profit organization that provides affordable web and software development programs for adult women. They have forty-six chapters and 35,000+ members nationwide. Not only do they offer resources on their website, but each chapter also hosts classes that cover a wide variety of development subjects.

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Their various chapters offer classes on:

  • Mobile App Development
  • HTML, CSS, Python
  • Web Concepts
  • jQuery
  • Git and GitHub
  • WordPress theming
  • Security
  • Data Science
  • WordPress 101

And more!

Several of the chapters also host events that make coding education and socializing a night on the town, offering nights of Code and Coffee, Code and Cocktails, or even Code and Craft Beer.

One of the novel things about Girl Develop It, according to Natalie MacLees, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter, said that although the organization is geared toward adult women, the organization is “women-inclusive, not women-exclusive,” and that “absolutely anyone is welcome to attend our events and classes, to teach a class, or to volunteer with us as long as they agree to abide by our Code of Conduct.”

 

I’ve been most surprised by the diversity of our students – we have students of all ages and backgrounds interested in learning to code. It’s made me realize just how many people there are who are interested in learning web and software development and all they need is a chance – someone to make it easy for them to take a class and make a connection to the community. I’m so excited that we’re able to offer that access and provide a way to get started.
-Natalie MacLees, Co-founder of GDI’s LA Chapter

 

WHO IS BEHIND IT?

The organization was founded in New York City in 2010 by Vanessa Hurst and Sara Chipps. Originally, it was a call to action for women by women who wanted to see the representation of women in tech increase, and help other women feel empowered to learn web development in an environment that was friendly and non-judgmental.

Specifically, the Los Angeles chapter got started thanks to good ol’ fashioned blogging. Natalie actually found out about Girl Develop It through Sarah Chipps blog, and read about the early ideas for the organization there. Natalie said, “I got really excited about the idea and wanted to bring the same resource to Los Angeles. So, when I saw that Girl, Develop It! was looking for chapter founders, I jumped on board!”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

If you know anything about non-profits, you know that the number one thing they always need is the green. If you’d like to donate to Girl Develop It, you can click here.

There are also a variety of other challenges that Girl Develop It has faced, though, and there may be some ways you can assist. Natalie told me about some of the challenges specific to the LA chapter:

In LA, we’ve had a bit of a tough time getting the word out that our classes are available – and that they’re affordable and top-quality. Our classes are 70-90% less than comparable classes offered by other organizations, and are a tremendous resource for our local community. In such a huge city with so many things going on, it’s hard to grab someone’s attention and stand out. As a relatively new chapter, we have all the growing pains that all of the more established chapters have gone through – we’re looking for more teachers, more students, more sponsors, more venues and looking to grow the offerings that we have. The trick is growing all of those things at the same pace.

Help out by sharing info about their classes. Spread the word! Work that social media presence that you’ve got, and hey, if you’re a WordPress pro, why not take some time to give back and teach a class if you can?

Or heck, if you’re looking to advance your skills, take a class yourself–90% of their revenue comes from class fees, and that’s a complete win/win for everyone involved! They also always need more volunteers, event organizers, and TAs; find out more about how you can get involved by contacting your local chapter.

If you want to keep up with Girl Develop It, you can follow them on Twitter and “like” their Facebook page.

Know of any amazing non-profits that are using tech to save the world? Give us a shout in the comments and let us know who you’d like to see highlighted on the WDS blog.

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