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July 14, 2016 05:18 PM

Computer Coding Class Geared Toward Diverse Students

A lot of kids are outside playing Pokémon Go, but there are a few boys and girls who are in the classroom learning to make their own video game.  A computer coding class is giving computer-savvy students the chance to sharpen their skills. The camp is a community effort to give diverse families in the area more opportunities for learning. 

It's really all just kids' stuff. 

"Right now, we're just learning how to make a Mario game," Gabriel Barajas said. 

Step by step, and a few buttons here and there, and 13-year-old Gabriel Barajas and his peers are getting closer to becoming video game designers.  This exercise is also bringing them to a higher level. 

"We're just learning," Gabriel said. 

"These kids are way ahead of me, so they're actually teaching me quite a bit," instructor Robert Johnson said. 

Code Bootcamp is teaming up with The Sioux Falls Diversity Council, the Boys and Girls Club and other organizations for this camp.

"It makes me so proud and happy," Stephanie Bolman-Altamirano with Sioux Falls Diversity Council said.

Bolman-Altamirano says she saw a need for this type of class for Native American families in the area. 

"When I started raising my daughter in that community, I started realizing that some resources were not available to diverse kids and it was only available to families that actually had the financial resources to go out and find these opportunities," Bolman-Altamirano said. 

She and the Diversity Council secured an $11,000 grant to make this three-and-a-half day camp free for the participants. 

"Together things get done.  This is exactly what diversity and inclusion look like," Bolman-Altamirano said. 

This camp for coding and computers may just look like a game.  For these kids, including Gabriel, it is helping them get ready for life as adults. 

"I just want to learn and really head for my goal.  I'm heading for my goal of engineering," Gabriel said. 

To learn more about more camp opportunities, For additional information please contact:
- William Bushee at 605-610-9455 / wbushee@sdcodebootcamp.com
- Stephanie Bolman-Altamirano at 605-626-1031 / Stephanie.Bolman@gmail.com

Additional Gaming Bootcamps are also being run in Sioux Falls this summer; details for those classes can be found at http://sdgamingbootcamp.com.
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