Why volunteer with CoderDojo?
This year, there are 12,000 volunteers involved in CoderDojo clubs in over 100 countries, helping young people to learn and create with technology. It is truly amazing how people are willing to share their skills, experience and time so that young people can learn for free in an inclusive and social space! But why do they do it?
In 2018 we asked over 550 volunteers around the world why they started volunteering at their local Dojo, and why they keep coming back year after year. More recently, we held a series of focus groups with mentors and champions. Thanks to these insights, we can share the eight key benefits volunteers gain from getting involved in a CoderDojo club in their community!
1. Opportunity to share your skills and experience
Of those who participated in our volunteer survey, 58% noted how they became a volunteer because they wanted to share their skills with young people. Others saw volunteering as a chance to practice the skills they have, which they don’t have the opportunity to use in their work. These could be technical skills acquired through practicing HTML and CSS in a Dojo while helping a child create their first website, or social skills like facilitating groups to brainstorm ideas for projects.
2. Learn new skills
A quarter of volunteers started helping out at their local Dojo because they wanted to learn new skills. This was also a key reason for many people to return to mentoring year after year. Volunteering isn’t just about giving; champions and mentors learn a variety of practical skills such as team building, leadership and mentoring skills through the experience.
“It’s an opportunity to learn new skills yourself, transferable skills, social skills, IT skills, communication skills” – Volunteer participating in focus group
Many parents and non-technical volunteers use the Dojo as an opportunity to develop their own coding skills too. This may be by picking up the logic behind coding and basics of Scratch, HTML or Python so that they can mentor beginners. The CoderDojo Foundation provides written guides, advice articles, free online courses, and regular webinars to help you along the way!
3. Great way to give back to your community
The most highly cited reason volunteers gave for continuing to mentor was the opportunity it provided to give back to their local community. By volunteering their time, mentors ensure Dojos are free to attend for local children — regardless of the young people’s economic circumstances.
In these uncertain times, one thing we can be sure of is that technology is rapidly changing the world we live in and how we live in it. Dojos empower young people and volunteers to participate for free in an increasingly technology-driven society.
“As someone who came out of college in the middle of the recession, there’s something so appealing about the idea of helping to make young people employable” – Volunteer participating in focus group
Over half of our volunteers noted how CoderDojo is something they would have loved to be part of as a child. Now that it is an option for others, how could they not get involved?
4. Meet like-minded people who share your passion
Almost a third of volunteers got involved because they wanted to meet new people. CoderDojo volunteers are nothing short of passionate. By joining a club, you’ll meet others who are enthusiastic about enabling young people to express themselves and create with technology, regardless of whether they have previous experience with computers or youth work.
5. Be part of an ethos-driven movement
More than half of volunteers told us that they began volunteering because they were motivated by the CoderDojo ethos and cause. These include the following key principles: Everyone is welcome at a Dojo; It is free to join and attend; Collaboration and teamwork are encouraged: Dojos are informal and fun; Ninjas are encouraged to use what they learn to enact positive change in the world.
Our open and inclusive ethos is shared across our entire community — anyone can start a CoderDojo club. Yohei from CoderDojo Japan described it well when he said CoderDojo is like a public park — once you obey the park guidelines you can enjoy the park however you wish. This allows Dojos to operate in many different countries in a way that aligns with the local culture, and empowers those involved to make the club their own.
6. Activity you can do with your child
A fifth of those who volunteer do so as an opportunity to connect with their child or children. Being a parent can be tough, so it’s nice to have the chance to connect and learn with your child in an informal setting. Your child can even teach you a thing or two about coding!
“There’s something that everyone can do, you don’t have to have any tech knowledge or know how.” – Volunteer participating in focus group
7. Be part of a global community
Being part of the community was the second highest rated reason for volunteering again and again. CoderDojo is more than one individual club; it’s a global network of volunteers and participants! When you’re involved in a CoderDojo club, you can connect with others across our dedicated channels, as well as our regular community webinars or Twitter chats!
8. It’s fun!
Again and again volunteers reminded us that helping young people develop new skills and explore their creativity is very rewarding. While managing a club can have its challenges, they keep coming back because it is a lot of fun!
Learn how you can get involved as a volunteer with your local Dojo!