Tell me how climate change is a hoax again? I dare you.
Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.
While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.
That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.
"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."
The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.
Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.
Through the Capital One Coders program, girls can gain early access to computer science education which can directly inspire their confidence levels and interest in computer science.
In fact, a report from Code.org says that Black and Hispanic students who take computer science classes before college are seven times more likely to major in computer science.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Meeks Gombe helped to develop a virtual curriculum that included breakout rooms with custom games and quizzes. In her role as a lead teacher for Girls For A Change, Meeks Gombe's visibility as a Black technologist and leader is helping to create a lasting impact on her students.
"Just having girls see the variety of career opportunities led by people who look like them opens up that possibility. There's a connection made when girls see me in a role that they don't usually associate themselves with. I can't reach every girl, but I want them to know that they can do this," Meeks Gombe said.
Capital One Vice President of HR Technology, Maureen Jules-Perez echoed Meeks Gombe's perspective. For Jules-Perez, who served on the organization's board for a few years before becoming the new Board Chair of Girl's For a Change this year, the mission of the nonprofit parallels her motto of "Tech For Good" which uses tech to improve social, environmental, and economic outcomes. The organization's long-term programs give girls the option to see themselves as artists, entrepreneurs and technologists, among other career opportunities.
"I came from a similar background so I feel like I'm one of those girls," said Jules-Perez. "I know what it's like to have someone champion you, but also the opposite feeling of knowing someone who doesn't think you're worthy. I'm haunted by the thought that there's a Black girl or a person of color who doesn't feel seen or doesn't think the world wants them. Girls For A Change prepares Black girls for the world."
Beyond helping girls see their potential as future technologists, Girls For A Change's CEO Angela Patton is working hard on her action-oriented vision to help realize the unmet needs of all girls in Central Virginia.
Her focus is particularly on what she calls "at-promise" youth who have natural gifts and innate potential where their circumstances don't define their identities. For more than a decade, Patton has supported at-promise girls with incarcerated fathers through Dance With Dad, a rehabilitation program founded by a group of young girls who wanted to invite their jailed fathers into their lives on their own terms and define their futures. The girls, Patton explained, wrote to a police sheriff to allow them to hold a dance with their fathers in jail. More than a decade since the program began, not one of the fathers had been reincarcerated again.
"We're teaching girls to elevate their voices," said Patton. "We want them to experience the moment where they feel ownership and empowerment so that they can change their own lives."
Girls For A Change has partnered with Capital One since 2017 to connect girls with career and life opportunities for which they otherwise may not have access or insight.
Since the partnership began, Capital One has supported 15 different programs with Girls for A Change. Seven of these programs were Capital One Coders camps and nearly 80 Capital One Tech associates have supported Girls For A Change girls over the last few years through those programs.
"For some of the girls aging out of the Girls For A Change program, they had a chance to do mock interviews with Capital One associates and get feedback for entry-level positions," said Patton. "I love that I have resources to point my girls to so that they can have a chance at better outcomes."
All together, now: who runs the world?
Another week of 2021 in the books...and now we're fully into September. Holy moly, how did that happen? Pandemic time is so wild.
Another week means another chance for us to counter the doom-and-gloom headlines with some simple rays of sunshine. Need a reason to smile? Here are 10 of them.
Mercedes Martinez shared a story on Twitter about how her dad rented the biggest van he could find just before his flight was grounded on 9/11 because he knew people were going to be stranded. He ended up driving seven scared strangers from Omaha to Denver, took them straight to their front doors, and refused to accept any payment. She wants to find the people he helped. Read the full story here and follow her thread here for updates.
Shortly after takeoff, the pilot announced that the flight was being grounded. There was a breach of security and t… https://t.co/Hf6wS5hXbv— Mercedes Martinez (@Mercedes Martinez)1631242806.0
When he deplaned and heard what was happening, he made his way to either Avis or Hertz (we aren't sure which one he… https://t.co/rNu0xtYshr— Mercedes Martinez (@Mercedes Martinez)1631242807.0
He found 7 strangers, all scared (so was he), that just wanted to get home to their families.The 8 of them hopped i… https://t.co/F6eLOBb1m3— Mercedes Martinez (@Mercedes Martinez)1631242808.0
Frank Grasberger has been wishing he could meet Dashauna Priest for more than a decade. Priest wrote a letter thanking a WWII veteran for their service in third grade, and Grasberger has kept it as his most prized possession ever since. Priest surprised the 94-year-old with a visit, and the whole story is purely heartwarming. Read the full story here.
WWII veteran meets woman who wrote him thank-you letter 12 years ago youtu.be
You never know the power a simple note of encouragement can have, and these messages are so uplifting. Showing up at your desk and seeing "OMG TURN DOWN YOUR AWESOMENESS" or "YOU ARE A SUPERFLY SUCCESS MACHINE" would make anyone's day. Love this.
There was a sneak attack in our room last night by an incredibly kind, uplifting person!! 🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰 I have my su… https://t.co/7RQK0AorWI— 💜Central 6th Grade!💜 (@💜Central 6th Grade!💜)1631186335.0
Generous surprises never get old, and seeing Mr. Chris's joy and gratitude upon finding out the car belongs to him is no exception.
Unity Grove Elementary School — Henry County, Georgia: The teaching staff chipped-in to give head custodian “Mr.… https://t.co/GkeJaCUQfh— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@Rex Chapman🏇🏼)1631208414.0
Aww. How fun is this?
This little girl is soooo lucky. It doesn't get sweeter than this.
Good morning ☀️ I hope you have a beautiful Friday!! *adding a little happiness and sunshine to your tl!! https://t.co/8nBHdXRL1y— 👑Kim_Possible👑 (@👑Kim_Possible👑)1631287069.0
This pup seems super excited about going somewhere, and it's hilarious when you see where that somewhere is. Totally get it, pooch. At the end of a long day, when you've got some freshly washed sheets, and the bed is calling to you...yeah.
I tell you, I HOWLED. Click the right arrow to scroll through. It's so worth it for the commentary and the names.
Nature is a talented comedian, and these funny wildlife photos highlight some of its best material.
I mean, you can't. It's literally impossible. This level of cuteness is irresistible.
Spa day..😅 https://t.co/vhxMWAxdUv— Buitengebieden (@Buitengebieden)1631225219.0
If you've enjoyed these bright little beams, pass them along. The more light we spread, the better we'll be able to see the goodness and joy all around us.