Grant Gives Hope To Low-Income Youth Interested In Giving Back To Their Community

Thanks to a Ribbon of Hope grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, the Code the Dream program will soon offer a unique opportunity to young people in Johnston County and eastern North Carolina.

Code the Dream provides free computer programming classes to low-income young people interested in learning to code their own apps. However, the program does not stop there. Top students then get paid to develop apps for local nonprofits serving the needs of the community.

“Code the Dream is a win-win opportunity,” according to Director Daisy Magnus-Aryitey. “Students gain real-world experience that looks great on their resumes, while local nonprofits get tools that help them do their jobs better – serving the homeless, people with disabilities, or low-income families.”

One app built by past Code the Dream students is a ride-sharing app for recently homeless parents who need to get to job interviews or doctor’s appointments. “It’s like Uber for people who really need it the most,” says Lead Instructor Ramiro Rodriguez.

Fernando Osorto lives with his family in Johnston County. Mr. Osorto moved to North Carolina from Honduras as a child and always had big dreams. When he heard about Code the Dream, he immediately applied to take the introductory class. He then when on to build a GPS-enabled mapping app that allows migrant farmworkers in North Carolina to find health and education services near the farms where they work. After that experience, Mr. Osorto was hired as a software developer by Duke University.

While a number of other nonprofits provide much needed opportunities for real-world job training, Code the Dream is unusual in its aim to prepare students for high-skilled, high-paid software developer positions. Code the Dream students are also unique in their diversity in a field where that remains a rarity, a fact not lost on many growing tech companies, as they search to broaden their pool of talent.

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation is an independent self-funding 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supporting activities that help meet the educational and health needs of today’s society and future generations. Since its creation in 1986, the foundation has granted $71.8 million to support North Carolina projects and programs that emphasize the understanding and application of science, health and education at all academic and professional levels.

Code the Dream is a program of Uniting NC, a North Carolina nonprofit that envisions a state and a nation in which all people, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, engage with their community, and fully contribute their talents – expanding prosperity and wellbeing for all.