One of our team members, Stephanie Kim, is having a profound impact on Hood Code’s mission.

Stephanie’s journey highlights the life-changing power of coding education coding education creates opportunities in underestimated communities.

Stephanie grew up in the St. Nick and Washington NYCHA developments in Harlem, where opportunities were limited and police presence was high. Despite these challenges, she did well in school, encouraged by her mother, who believed strongly in the power of education. However, Stephanie didn’t have a clear career path in mind — she considered being a mathematician, lawyer, or doctor, but none of these options really appealed to her until she found coding.

When she was in high school, her interest in coding grew during an internship at the Museum of Natural History, which included a free laptop and the chance to use coding to solve real scientific problems. Thinning back on that experience, she said, “That’s what really sparked my interest because, with coding, I realized I could help this woman figure out how old the universe is. That’s amazing,”

This was further enhanced by a transformative summer at Carnegie Mellon, where she sharpened her coding skills and saw the change she could effect.

A flyer from Hood Code was a turning point for Stephanie. It showed a diverse group learning together, which resonated with her. She reached out to volunteer, quickly becoming essential to the program. She upgraded our curriculum and mentored students, showing them how coding could open new doors.

Stephanie shared, “Seeing these kids’ lives change right in front of your eyes… some of these kids really like, they really get into coding afterward.”

At Hood Code, Stephanie has moved from volunteer to a part-time staff member. She has helped us navigate the difficulties of COVID-19 and beyond, improving our program and inspiring students to see new possibilities in technology.

As she thought of the impact of Hood Code, Stephanie said, “Coding is more than programming. It’s a tool that opens doors to endless possibilities,”

Stephanie’s story shows the power of education to transform lives. It’s why we work to empower, inspire, and uplift young people from NYCHA communities, giving them the tools they need for success.

Looking ahead, we aim to reach every NYCHA complex and inspire more students like Stephanie, but we need your help to do it. Your support helps us continue offering free coding classes and changing lives.

Thank you for being part of our community and believing in our mission. Together, we can make a big difference.