Bahn Mi Bash for Coded by Kids

In a departure from the usual sit-down dinner format, our benefit to support Coded by Kids was more casual and our most collaborative event yet. Thanks to our sponsor, Inspire; our host, Rally Coffee Shop; our go-to chef, Sydney Louise Hanick; Cartesian Brewing; 13th Street Cocktails; and around 30 guests for coming together to learn about an influential local non-profit.

At Coded by Kids, students learn how to program games, build websites, and create apps through project-based entrepreneurial-focused lessons. They move from changing fonts and colors – the instant gratification stuff that gets them hooked – to learning programming languages like JavaScript. The organization has implemented their curriculum in more than a dozen schools, and at rec centers for afterschool and weekend classes.

“We’re trying to build the infrastructure so that the next big app can some out of a rec center in North Philly,” says Coded by Kids operations manager Maggie Deptola.

“A kid can go to a rec center to learn about soccer, baseball, and football, but there aren’t many places they can go if they want to learn tech education,” says instructor Ross Coley, who started as a volunteer and learned how to code along the way. He says his favorite part of working with Coded by Kids is building relationships with the students,  which is by design.

“Kids get access to education, and access to this network of mentors and volunteer instructors,” Deptola says. They get support and mentorship they might not have at home, plus the opportunity to work with professionals in the technology industry. “They’re not just building in a vacuum,” she added, “They’re actually part of the Philly tech scene.”

After guests enjoyed plenty of beer and báhn mí (the pressed and overnight marinated tofu sandwich converted more than one hater), executive director Sylvester Mobley told the crowd about two Coded by Kids students who are building a startup.

“When we sit down with them each week, they’re talking about how to raise venture capital, how to get traction for our users, how to monetize,” Mobley says, “To see two high school kids doing this is an amazing thing for me to watch.”

Often, people ask Mobley what happens if the start-up fails.

“Does it matter? You have a 15 and 17-year-old kid that are building a tech start-up,” he says, “They’re going through a cycle of failure that every entrepreneur goes through… as teenagers. If they fail now, imagine where they’ll be when they’re 25.”

Expressions were awed and slightly anxious as the young professionals in the room pondered this thought… Way ahead of me!  It’s a realization that underscores the impact Coded by Kids is having on Philly’s next generation. So yeah, you’ve got competition.

About 30 friends gathered at Rally Coffee shop in Queens Village to mingle while enjoying bahn mis, 13th street’s cocktail, and beer by Cartesian Brewing. Coded by Kids staff members were there to



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