This week marks National Volunteers’ Week in the UK, and we are celebrating the 18,000 volunteers across the globe who give their time each week to help inspire the next generation to code.
Allow us to introduce you to two of our volunteers in the UK: Jeff, who has been a Code Club volunteer for six years, and Lisa, who started her Code Club because the children she taught wanted to learn more about coding outside of the classroom.
Jeff is a Code Club volunteer at a Code Club in Salisbury who has been volunteering with us for over six years! Jeff became interested in computers when he himself was a child:
I started my computing journey aged 12, with the home computer revolution of the 1980s. In those days, it was expected that you would write your own programs, and we were enthused by stories of teenagers becoming millionaires after creating popular games!
Jeff had two reasons for deciding to give his time to support Code Club:
I was taking a career break, and Code Club was a way for me to stay in touch with the essentials of my industry, especially as I’d moved away from programming. Also, I’d recently moved to the area, and volunteering was a way to get involved with the local community.
As he is one of our longest-standing volunteers, we asked Jeff what motivates him to keep on supporting Code Club and our vision to give every child the skills, confidence, and opportunity to change their world.
It’s nice to see the children developing their skills and especially to be able to encourage and mentor the ones who really ‘get it’. Our club has been running long enough that we’ve had many children returning year after year, and even some who have followed their older brothers or sisters through the club.
For everyone who has just started on their volunteer journey with Code Club, Jeff has this advice:
Different children enjoy different aspects of the projects, and you need to give them a bit of space to explore this, whilst also keeping them moving ahead on the overall task. We’re not trying to turn them all into programmers but to give them an understanding and a flavour of what programming is.
Say hi to Lisa
Lisa teaches Computing to Year 1–6 students at the Arches Community Primary School in Chester.
A lot of the children Lisa taught wanted to do more coding outside of the classroom. While she attended Picademy, Raspberry Pi’s professional development programme, she found a great way to give her students that opportunity: setting up a Code Club at her school!
At Lisa’s Code Club, three quarters of the participants are girls, and all her learners support each other in the sessions:
I love seeing the relationships the members build. They all go to the same school, but the Code Club members are like a little family. As a volunteer, I love watching their creativity, resilience, and collaboration blossom — all the aspects of computational thinking that underpin everything we do in life.
While volunteering, you sometimes come across club members who are nervous or unsure whether they can code. Lisa gives this advice to all her club members:
We love hearing about the moments when you as volunteers see the difference you are making to young lives. One of Lisa’s favourite moments is this:
I taught a girl in Year 5 who cried every time I said we were going to do coding. She really struggled with the concepts and thought this was because she’s a girl. I reminded her that I am a girl, and I can code. I invited her to Code Club and paired her up with a more confident girl. Now she’s in Year 6 and mentors new starters to our club! She is an incredibly talented programmer and is so creative.
If you are one of the 18,000 people who support Code Club each week, we want to say an enormous THANK YOU to you!
Jeff and Lisa support young learners, and so can you!
Could you give one hour a week to inspire the next generation to code, like Jeff and Lisa do? Then sign up and become a Code Club volunteer today.