Imagine a space of belonging, transformation, liberation, and learning… At Geeking Out Kids of Color (GOKiC), we work to cultivate this space for BIPOC youth through technology education created by us, for us. Our mission at GOKiC is the liberation of BIPOC youth by creating decolonized tech education and providing mentorship to nurture leaders of change. Since our founding five years ago, we have expanded our reach to engage more than 400 youth across South Seattle and South King County through our afterschool and summer programs, and community-building opportunities.
With funding from the City of Seattle Human Services Department invested in Supporting Youth and Young Adults for Success, GOKiC launched Collective Youth’s new program model this past year, supporting high school and college students across the city. Seeing a lack of BIPOC representation in tech fields, a group of youth in our programs founded Collective Youth in 2020 as a space for BIPOC youth to collectively pursue internships and careers in tech through a social justice lens. Starting this year Collective Youth staff and interns, who are young adults themselves, are providing guidance, support, and a safe space to navigate the challenges of finding their voice and pathway to achieve their goals.
As one of the youth in the program shared about her experience, “Joining this program, gave me the big idea of computer science and the possibilities—you can do computer science in the medical field or in the law field or immigration…. I really liked it because they taught us how to code but they also give us some grace when we didn’t pay attention, and they also put themselves in our shoes, and they helped us a lot.”
We strive to not just build tech skills needed for the workforce but create community and foster a sense of belonging, healing, and connection for BIPOC youth who often feel on the margins. “I thought it was really, I guess, powerful because it taught us how to talk with not just grownups but to make relationships with them and ask them for help,” a youth participant shared.
GOKiC looks forward to deepening our partnerships with the City of Seattle, schools, other youth-serving organizations, families, and the young people in our programs to ensure we continue grounding our work in youth voice and leadership to reframe the narrative for Black and Brown youth to see themselves in tech.
*This post was written by our community partners at GOKiC. To learn more about this work, visit their website at https://www.gokic.org.
Do you have a story to share about how Seattle Human Services investment is impacting you or your community? We would like to start providing some space for our funded agencies and community partners to tell their own stories through our communications channels. Send us an email at HSD_info@seattle.gov.