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Accenture makes coding fun for local kids

3 MIN READ
Kids at Britannia Woods Community House’s after-school program recently had the opportunity to experience an ‘Hour of Code,’ thanks to our partners at Accenture. 

Justin Mahoney, Data Science Consultant, and Jad Chami, Business and Technology Delivery Associate Manager, explained the many ways coding influences our lives and the things around us, like computers, video games, electronic devices, cars, and more. 

Most of the third-to-fifth graders had never learned about or tried coding before. They worked with the Accenture team to explore basic skills using interactive games on tablets provided by Britannia Woods. The kids didn’t want to leave at the end of the session but were thrilled to find out they can log in to the Hour of Code website from any tablet or computer, any time. 

“I come from a software engineering background—any opportunity to help students and give back to the community and introduce them to code I find is really rewarding … It’s a fun way to introduce it to them through a game. It’s not even about the coding it’s the problem-solving skills and creativity that we can help develop as well.”

Accenture believes that every student should have a chance to learn coding and computer science. Since 2014, they’ve held a global partnership with Code.org to help empower every student to succeed in the digital world. 

United Way East Ontario shares a similar vision—we believe in the importance of preparing kids with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in school, and in life once they venture into the job market.  

Programs that introduce children and youth to the foundations of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) have been prioritized in our impact strategies for many years, especially for kids who may not have access to this type of learning. Enhanced after-school programs, summer achievement gap camps, and even STEAM-focused activity kits distributed to kids during pandemic lockdowns have helped spark new interests and develop skills for our future generations. 

Putting the pieces together 

United Way’s promise is to invest resources where they’re needed most and where they’ll have the greatest impact and Accenture saw the Hour of Code program as an excellent opportunity. So, they collaborated with us to determine which local students could benefit most from Hour of Code sessions.  

A long-time partner of United Way, the Ottawa Coalition of Community Houses has dedicated more than 25 years to addressing issues of poverty, lack of access and other challenges affecting various communities in the capital region. Thousands of residents, particularly kids, have benefited from the safety net and opportunities that community houses provide, so they were a natural partner to work with for this type of experience.  

Justin explained to the kids that “coding is like a puzzle.” Making an impact is like a puzzle too, and United Way is proud to have a hand in putting the pieces together—connecting those wanting to make a difference with our communities’ greatest needs.  

With partners like Accenture, we’re: 

  • Giving kids an introduction to the high-tech sector and providing kids with fun, new learning opportunities. 

  • Enhancing existing programs for United Way partners, like Britannia Woods Community House.  
  • Preparing our future generation with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue careers in STEAM or any other field they choose.    
Give local kids opportunities that set them up for success.
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