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Volume 5, Issue 55  |  July 10, 2020


Newport Charity League’s donation benefits underserved youth at Shalimar

On an old desktop computer he received as a gift from his dad when he was 10, Alan embarked on what has grown into a passion for coding. On that first computer, he learned as much as he could using free online coding activities.

Growing up in a rough neighborhood in Costa Mesa wrought with gang violence, prostitution and drugs, Alan found hope thanks to an after-school academic support program that started 25 years ago in a small apartment and has since scaled up to become the statewide nonprofit Think Together, which supports hundreds of thousands of children each year. 

Today, as a high school sophomore at Newport Harbor High School, Alan is able to enjoy innovative new coding programs at Shalimar Learning Center, thanks to substantial funding from National Charity League (NCL), Newport Chapter, which has partnered with the center for almost all of the organization’s 25 years. Shalimar holds coding classes on Monday through Thursday from 4-5 p.m.

Newport Charity League Alan with laptop

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Submitted photo

Alan, a Newport Harbor High sophomore, embraces innovative coding programs at Shalimar Learning Center

The center launched a “Coding for All” initiative this year to ensure that all students in Shalimar’s program have access to high quality, age-appropriate coding curriculum. Without NCL’s $20,000 donation to support the growth of coding, Shalimar Learning Center students would not have access to 24 new laptop computers, more stimulating online activities, “coaches” to teach programming languages such as Java and Scratch, and team competitions that hone their skills and prepare them for college and future careers. 

Shalimar looks at the coding initiative through the lens of equity, social justice and economic empowerment, knowing that young people who are engaged in coding have access to what is widely considered to be the second most important language a young person can learn. In fact, skills such as mobile app development and user interface design will be in high demand in the near future, yet STEM education stats show that 2.4 million STEM jobs will go unfilled.

Alan’s generation represents the next wave of college students and employees in the digital age. With his newfound interest and proficiency in coding instilled by Shalimar, Alan’s sights are set on attending UC Irvine or Cal Tech to study computer science or engineering.

For more information on Shalimar Learning Center, visit www.thinktogether.org

For more information on National Charity League (NCL), Newport Chapter, visit https://newport.nationalcharityleague.org.

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