Introducing Amy: Supporting the CoderDojo Community in 2018

My name is Amy and I started my role at the CoderDojo Foundation at the end of November as the new Community Support and Experience Assistant. Previously, I had worked in education for many years as a Montessori Teacher and I had also recently completed a M.Des in Design Innovation. So while this was my first time working for an education-based not-for-profit organisation, I was immediately drawn to CoderDojo’s mission to bring learning opportunities to young people and have fun with technology using the ethos of inclusion, innovation and creativity.

My role centres around supporting our wonderful community of Champions, Mentors, Ninjas and anyone who is interested in becoming involved in the CoderDojo movement. It’s my job to manage various Community touch-points, such as processing and verifying new Dojo applications, answering queries and compiling and uploading articles to the Help Centre.

 

What I’ve learned so far

I was immediately struck by the worldwide scale of the CoderDojo Community and the strong sense of common purpose that binds the global network of Dojos. From verifying a Dojo in Vietnam and the Aland Islands, answering queries from Canada and India and watching the movement grow every day, I have been truly amazed by the global CoderDojo family.

It has been a hugely rewarding experience to walk new Champions through the ‘Start a Dojo’ process and to provide reassurance and support when they might have initial trepidations about the task. Each new Champion has arrived with tremendous passion towards bringing coding education to the young people in their local community, not to mention the dedication of existing Champions, Mentors and Ninjas. Hearing back from the Community about exciting new resources they are using, seeing photos of Dojos in action and attending a Dojo has also brought the whole mission to life for me even more!

I was welcomed wholeheartedly to the team at the Foundation and while I am still getting used to the role, I am very lucky to have such a kind, funny and eclectic bunch of colleagues to work with! Each member of the team has a wealth of knowledge on various aspects of the organisation, so I have been extremely well supported and learned so much in the few weeks I have been here. A recent highlight has also been attending Picademy, a training course aimed at bringing digital making to Educators, along with our colleagues in the Raspberry Pi team in the UK.

 

What I’m looking forward to in 2018

In 2018, I am really looking forward to supporting the Community, including new and existing members, as the CoderDojo movement grows. Wherever there is potential to start a Dojo around the world, it is my mission to ensure that new Champions, Mentors and Ninjas feel as welcomed and supported as possible and to help make sure more children have the opportunity to take part. Supporting the sustainability of existing Dojos is also hugely important to me and making sure that they have access to all the information and moral support that they need! Modifying our online Help Centre to ensure that there is a wealth of support articles available to the Community is also central to my goals for the new year.

Overall, I am hugely honoured and excited to be involved in the CoderDojo movement and to be present as first point of contact for our Community, without whom we couldn’t exist. I am amazed at the strength of the Community and at what I’ve already learned in the few weeks I have been here. I look forward to seeing what 2018 will bring!

 

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Yan Zhang says

Hi, Amy

Congratulations on your new position! This is Yan, from Overseas Chinese Service Center (Dublin). We plan to host coding program starting from the end of February 2018. We have the facility and classroom. If you could give us some advice in terms of recruiting volunteers to teach, that would be great.

Wish you all the best luck.

Amy O'Meara says

Hi Yan,

Thank you for your message and for your kind words! It's great that you plan on starting a coding club (Dojo) at your facility in Dublin. We are always delighted to welcome new members to the CoderDojo Community :)

It's good that you are looking for volunteers/mentors for your Dojo. It is important to have a team of mentors working with a Champion in order to run your Dojo in the best way possible and not just have one person carrying all the work! We normally recommend a ratio of 1 mentor to ten youths, however it is absolutely fine to have more if you can find them. In terms of finding suitable volunteers, you can find some useful tips and information in this Help Centre article: https://help.coderdojo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003582283-Finding-Mentors-and-Volunteers

We also have lots more information regarding volunteers/mentors here: http://kata.coderdojo.com/wiki/Mentors_and_Volunteers

I hope this is helpful Yan! Whenever you are ready to get started with your Dojo, you can fill out our 'Start a Dojo' application online: https://coderdojo.com/start-a-dojo/

If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Best wishes,

Amy