New Haven Students Receive Google’s Rise Award Opening Doors to Computer Science Education

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Kids love video games and apps and now thanks to Google, some New Haven children are learning to build them from scratch. The Elm City’s LEAP program is one of 12 nationwide to receive Google’s prestigious Rise Award. The goal is to increase access to computer science education for children in high poverty neighborhoods.

LEAP is a New Haven based academic and social enrichment program for kids and young adults. Now that the program has won a Google Rise Award the focus will be on promoting computer science opportunities to girls and minorities who are historically under represented in the field.

LEAP’S Computer Learning Center Director, Shyrelle Spears tells News 8 what the award has meant to the program.

“That helped us with getting all the components for the robots, kits for the kids, and new laptops to be able to program so they could be mobile throughout the building,” she said.

Fourth grader Samaya Bright says Google’s honor means a lot.

“Because if i was someone in a computer lab that makes games and stuff i could know what to have in it, what to make, and to make sure to ask stuff that I know the computer would understand,” Bright said.

The kids are learning about coding, robotics, and design. Then they get to build their own games, apps and robots from scratch.

Myiah Pearse, a Freshman at Amistad Academy, showed News 8 what she was working on.

“This project we’re building a robot with different types of motors and materials to basically make it work,” according to Pearse.

Jaidyn Gambrell, a Freshman at Co-op High School, told us the program is generating plans for the future.

“What i’m getting out of it is how to work with electric wiring and programming which is really helpful to use because technology is rapidly advancing day by day so when i’m older i’m going to know what i’m doing,” Gambrell said.

The program is making an early impact with the hope of opening more doors to students in the future.

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