Coding for a Cause: Taboola Joins Girls Who Code for Virtual Volunteering Event

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Messages like “My turtle is working overtime,” and “Finally, ‘t.pensize’ choose the size of the pen” might appear to be a nonsensical word salad — unless you were part of a recent virtual event led by Taboola and Girls Who Code (GWC).

This month, as part of our financial support of GWC, Taboola participated in a National Day of Service (DoS) event for Computer Science Education (CSEd) week. Taboolars from Mexico to New York volunteered their time to work with elementary and high school students on virtual coding projects over Zoom — continuing our support of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

GWC was founded in 2012 to close the gender gap in tech. Today, women make up just 21 percent of students with degrees in computing and 25 percent of the tech workforce.

GWC aims to change that by helping students access computer science education opportunities, building pathways to careers in tech, and changing the culture around women in tech.

In just nine years, GWC has reached more than 450,000 students through its programming. Its cohort of college-aged or post-college aged alumni is now nearly 90,000 strong.

Here’s a look inside the event that brought Taboola and GWC together for a good cause.

A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

GWC aligns with Taboola’s focus and commitment to DEI practices in our hiring, employee experience, and community outreach. As an ad tech company, it’s also a perfect fit for what we do.

That’s why Taboola donated $25K to GWC this year. Instead of sending physical gifts to clients and partners, we felt this was a more appropriate and impactful holiday gift to cap off the year.

Taboola employees also had an opportunity to work with GWC students directly and see the impact of the organization first-hand through our joint virtual event.

Using Code to Learn Something New

The event spanned about two hours and, since it was virtual, volunteers were able to participate from anywhere in the US — no prior coding knowledge required!

Taboola employees are allotted a total of eight PTO hours for volunteer work per year. Many Taboolars were excited to participate in GWC’s National DoS event, which included:

  • An icebreaker to welcome volunteers and students
  • A brief training session to bring volunteers up to speed on GWC’s educational values, what to expect, and how to get the most out of this chance to meet students
  • A collaborative project designed by GWC and Share Out
    • 3-5th-grade students personalized a maze game in Scratch
    • 6-12th-grade students created their own spiral patterns in Python using simple commands and the Python turtle library

The event took at least one Taboolar back to her school days. Montserrat Berlango, Advertising Account Manager, said:

“I really enjoyed participating in the GWC session. As an attendee it reminded me of when I was younger when I did the same activity with crayons and stencils. It was such a nice feeling doing the same activity but using code while learning something new.”

Supporting the Next Generation of Tech Leaders

This event was just the latest in Taboola’s ongoing efforts to support future generations of coders, engineers, and change-makers in tech. We look forward to spending more time with GWC in 2022 and beyond.

Who knows? There may even be a future Taboolar in the group!

As Rob Hitt, Operations at Scale Developer for Publisher Professional Services at Taboola, said:

“I always wished I had someone encouraging me to get into coding earlier in life. It makes me happy to give encouragement back to others to hopefully help people fulfill their future goals and aspirations.”

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