Kids as young as 4 are learning to code in the back of a laundromat. And they love it.

This laundromat offers a whole lot more than clean clothes.

In Charleston, South Carolina, kids are learning code in the back of a laundromat.

In March 2016, the Charleston Women in Tech group, a nonprofit that supports women who are building their careers in the tech industry, started a program called CodeOn. The program's goal is to offer coding classes to kids who weren't being exposed to it at school or in their neighborhoods.

All images via Charleston Women in Tech, used with permission.


They were determined to give kids in the area the chance to learn a new skill without having to leave their community but didn't want to hold the classes at school because they thought it might be hard to get kids to commit to spending their evenings there. So when they learned about Laundry Matters — a laundromat that doubles as a community center, it seemed like a great fit. The two groups joined forces.

Their plan worked. The program kicked off on March 2, and kids ages 4 to 17 showed up, ready to learn how to code.

The laundromat where it all started.

CodeOn’s goal? To make coding accessible. And to show kids that in tech, there are opportunities.

Each week, the kids get together and work on their coding skills with their mentors, volunteers who work in various roles within the tech industry. They're given the chance to explore code — and through code, to see what they are capable of.

"The awesome thing about coding is that, if you just have a laptop and internet access, you can literally create a billion dollar company on your own," Carolyn Finch, the executive director of Charleston’s Women in Tech points out.  

Kids gathered into the back room at the laundromat, ready to learn.

"If you’re a kid living in an area in which college may or may not be on your radar, it’s something that you don’t need to have a college degree for ... it’s like a trade ... if you’re a rockstar in cybersecurity and you’re 16, you’re going to get hired by Microsoft," Finch explains.

The jobs are there. There’s an ever-increasing demand for technologists. And unlike other industries, the only barriers to entry are a computer, internet access, and a desire to learn. No college degree or even high school degree are required.

As accessible as technology can be, there are a lot of kids who don’t see a career in tech as a something that’s within their reach.

One girl tackles coding challenges with her mentor.

"There’s so many kids out there, especially from diverse backgrounds, and women and girls who may never even think they have the ability to go into tech," says Finch. "They’re never even shown that’s a possibility."

And they don’t expect every kid to love coding, but Finch says, "If they don’t like it, that’s fine. But at least they’ll have had the opportunity to try."

A young boy works on his coding skills with a mentor.

The program so far has been a hit. So many kids show up each week that they’ve outgrown the laundromat and are moving into a larger space down the street.

And in addition to gaining valuable career skills, the kids are using this as an opportunity to give back to their community.

A grocery store shut down in the neighborhood, leaving a lot of residents in a tight spot, uncertain about where to get the medications that they need. So the older kids in the program are working on building an app to address the need. The app will be a step-by-step guide to help these residents find the prescriptions they need online through trusted resources.

So focused!

"The goal is to have them work on apps that can help their community too, so that they can actually build something that they can see a tangible effect from," Finch explains. As their app comes to life, the kids are excited, and so is the rest of the community.

CodeOn has helped open the door for these kids and their families.

They’ve given the kids a skill and the knowledge that there’s an avenue out there for them. And they’ve shown them that their hard work can positively impact the people in their own communities. Coding doesn't have to be something that other people do. It's right there, at their own fingertips.

Badges of honor on their journey to mastering code.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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