A Year Already?!
Venue-wise, we’ve been pretty consistent. Our first workshop was hosted by the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), and most of our workshops since then have been, too. We’re grateful to CSI for incubating us and enabling our growth over this past year.
Announcing Our New Home!
Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re taking our relationship with CSI to the next level – as of today, we’ll be leasing an 1100+ square foot space at CSI’s Annex location (720 Bathurst Street). It will house a permanent 50-person classroom, a computer lab and a female-focused mini-makerspace. The classroom will allow us to run a greater number of smaller, more specialized Ladies Learning Code workshops this year (in addition to our large, introductory workshops – those will continue!) and more workshops and events for girls (finally possible because we just received a donation of 12 laptops to be used for our girls’ programs). Renovations start next week, and we’ll be hosting a big celebration party at CSI on September 19th, so save the date!
It’s hard to believe that we’ve hosted dozens of workshops and events since our first on August 6th, 2011, and it’s only been possible thanks to – literally – hundreds of people. First, to our 1733 participants. Thank you for coming to our workshops. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. (On that note, want to learn how to edit video?)
Of course, we have to thank the 21 amazingly talented developers and designers who have led Ladies Learning Code workshops this year. Thank you for taking the time to put together incredible, beginner-friendly content, and for taking time out of your weekend to share it with our community. You are all rockstars, and we’re forever grateful.
Thanks as well to the 436 developers and designers who have volunteered their time as workshop Mentors. When you add it up, Toronto’s tech community has spent over 3,488 hours volunteering with Ladies Learning Code this past year. The fact that you’re willing to give up a Saturday or Sunday to teach beginners how to code reminds me of how amazing our city’s tech community is, and how lucky we all are to live here. Thank you. (Oh, and if you know someone who might be willing to join us as a mentor…hint, hint.)
We’re also grateful to the companies and organizations who have sponsored Ladies Learning Code this year. Thanks as well those who have let us use their space for our workshops and other events. We wish we could do more to show our appreciation. The fact that you’re all willing to get behind what we do and make sure we have the resources we need is one of the biggest reasons we’re still around. Thank you for supporting Ladies Learning Code (and Girls Learning Code) and helping us reach Year 2. We also want to thank our design and dev team, because – a year later – we continue to get compliments on our website. Thanks for jumping on board as early as you did. A shiny website in those early days made more of a difference than most of us will probably ever know.
There’s another group that deserves special thanks for jumping on board early – Ben and his team at Hubba. By this time last year, Ben had already reached out to us to share his interest in becoming our first title sponsor, and we’ll never forget it. The Hubba team has been great to us this year. Thank you, Ben, and everyone.
Here’s another really important one: thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word about Ladies Learning Code. Thanks for tweeting, sharing on Facebook, blogging, and passing our emails on. (Thanks for telling your friends and followers in Vancouver about our upcoming workshops there!) And thanks to the press who have written about us. Since we don’t have a marketing budget, you’re the ones who helped us get the word out. Thank you.
Finally, I want to thank my team. Mel, Laura and Breanna – this past year has been an incredible adventure, and it was a million times better because I get to work with three of the most talented and dedicated people I know. Not only that, but I get to work with three of my best friends. Here’s to an even better Year 2 together.
Year 2: Our New Space, Expansion Plans, and Even Greater Impact
When I started writing this post, I meant for it to be a sort of epic rundown of everything Ladies Learning Code has done in the past year. But Melissa and Adelle Rempel put together this amazing infographic that does a better job of that than I ever could (thank you both!). So, instead, I just want to say thanks. Leading Ladies Learning Code this past year has been an absolute pleasure, and I’m forever grateful to everyone who has supported us. With our new space, expansion plans, and our sights on even greater impact, I’m sure that our second year is only going to outshine our first. My promise is that we’ll keep pushing forward for as long as you want us to. Thanks, everyone, for an amazing first year. We couldn’t have done it without you.