At Next Jump, we care about giving back to the community. That’s why we started our Adopt-A-School Initiative in New York and London, to “adopt” a school in need and help run their after school program. If every for-profit corporation were to adopt a school, the impact it would have on kids’ education would be huge.
Two of our summer interns, Tom and Andrei, helped captain the Adopt-A-School programme in London. They were enthusiastic coding role models, making a huge impression on the kids. We asked Tom to share his thoughts on being a part of the initiative and fostering students’ excitement in STEM topics.
The world is quickly becoming more and more technology dependent, so learning the programming skills that we teach enables kids (who might not normally have the opportunity) to explore programming and equip themselves with the tools to succeed. Adopt A School also focuses on creativity, which is an innate programming skill, and in general, a key area of the mind that needs to be exercised regularly if you want to push yourself to grow! Honestly, I don’t think the kids see it this way at the moment, but at the end of the day we’re happy because they are learning this, and they’re happy because they’re having lots and lots of FUN!
One of the greatest things we learnt was that it’s very easy to over plan, and before you know it you are not changing what you do to fit how the kids learn. Learning this was key to successfully helping the kids get to where they did. Our best lessons were when we started the classes by getting stuck in with the kids straight away, doing what they NOW do best, programming!
I think that our last few lessons with the kids were some of our best and the main theme they followed was that we were adjusting what we did on the spot. When we started teaching the kids our lessons were very rigid and didn’t allow ourselves to deviate and explore what the kids really wanted help with. After we realised this the kids’ growth really started to accelerate so that’s something we would definitely have started to do earlier.
For both of us our most memorable and proudest moment was when one of the newest starters came up to us at the end of the competition and said, “I’m going to go home and teach my brother programming for life!”. This really stood out for us because we initially thought we were just helping these kids, but actually we were also setting them up to help others and spread their passion for programming, which was something we definitely didn’t expect!
Although we’d like to mention a few kids, we were both impressed with the evolution of one in particular. During our first few lessons, Asia was quite shy and didn’t seem like she wanted to engage in the missions and challenges with the other kids. What we didn’t realise was that she had a very competitive mindset that we weren’t yet engaging. Once we started to re-align the focus of our missions and challenges to incorporate this competitive mindset we soon saw a change in Asia. Not only was this a learning point for us on how everyone’s different and how they learn best in different environments, but we hope it was also a lesson for Asia in how when she engages her best mindset she can really learn a lot and have a lot of fun at the same time. Oh, and did we mention? With the help of her teammates she WON!
During the competition, I felt so nervous, excited, proud… We really were on a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the competition. The nerves came every time each team started, as we knew the pressure they felt performing in front of all their friends and family. The excitement came every time each team smashed their missions and added even more points to their scores. Finally, the pride when we saw not only the winning team but everyone smiling and happy with what they had achieved… We hope that was why anyway, but to be fair, the hot dogs started to get distributed at that point, so who knows!
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Tom and Andrei for taking on the challenge and improving the lives of these amazing young people, as well as learning a lot about themselves in the process.
We are looking for another tech company to adopt a local school (to go in consistently to teach their kids technology / robotics).
We will support you, share our lessons over the last couple of years so that you learn from our mistakes. We will also share the curriculum we’ve built (so you will not need to reinvent the wheel). We can also connect you with other schools we’ve met who are crying out for help.
Then, this time next year: we will host another competition at Netley – but this time – with you and the school you’ve adopted – a forum for the children to showcase what they’ve learnt and also a chance to demonstrate the proactive role business can play in education!
To start this movement, we challenge you to join us. We’re interviewing various companies who are interested. There’s immense purpose in “paying it forward” to the next generation. We also believe we have the capacity (and responsibility) to help our local communities, and add real value to the education system through making tech more accessible.
Get in touch with us on social media or visit nextjump.com for more information.