By Bobinec, Greg on February 21, 2020.
YWCA Lethbridge & District, in partnership with Destination Exploration, is hosting a Girls With Tools session focusing on robotics for ages eight to 10 years this weekend.
Girls With Tools started as a way to help encourage and teach young women and non-binary youth about trades and skills that will help them in the future. Through various sessions throughout the year, youth are able to gain valuable life skills in trades such as mechanical, engineering, building and more.
“Girls With Tools is all about teaching young women and non-binary youth independence and skills that will help them in their life,” says Jordana Knelsen, Girl Space facilitator, YWCA Lethbridge & District. “When it first started, it was to teach them trades specifically because the trades are places where women are often not encouraged to participate and so it was more teaching them useful skills in all areas of life, but especially those where women aren’t really encouraged to participate such as math, science and trades.”
On Saturday from 1-3 p.m., the YWCA will be hosting a robotics learning session where participants will learn to code with Sphero. The baseball-sized robot is a perfect way to learn coding through hands-on experience, even for those who haven’t coded before.
“This one will be learning how to code and specifically using code to control a small robot,” says Knelsen. “It is completely free which is great because that means kids are getting some really incredible opportunities, regardless of where they are at in their socioeconomic status. This is in partnership with Destination Exploration at the University of Lethbridge; they run science programs for youths as well.”
Since the inception of Girls With Tools, the YWCA has seen a positive response from the number of young women and non-binary youth who are looking to gain science, maths and trade skills to enhance their skills for the future. Knelsen says there has also been a good response from local businesses and groups who want to create or help with programs.
“It has been awesome, we have had so many partnerships over the years and we have had some that we have every single year, like we partner with Lethbridge Auto Value to teach car mechanics every September without a fail,” says Knelsen. “Sometimes other organizations hear about our programs and they reach out to us saying they would like to partner to run a program, so it has been really great having those local organizations reach out to us and want to participate in this mission.”
Saturday’s Girls With Tools: Robotics class is free for participants and registration forms can be found online at ywcalethbridge.org. For more information contact Knelsen at 403-329-0088.
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