Give STL Day Spotlight: Create a Loop
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Louis pride has been seen and heard throughout the entire city as individuals, businesses and organizations come together. This was especially true on Give STL Day, an annual 24-hour online day of giving hosted by the St. Louis Community Foundation.
“St. Louis has a unique spirit that is giving, creative and entrepreneurial. We donate, we volunteer, we celebrate our distinctive neighborhoods. We keep our art, zoos and parks open to everyone. As we can feel now more than ever, St. Louis is in this together,” said Sherea Dunlap, Executive Director at Create a Loop.
Create a Loop’s mission is to bring computer science instruction to students in the St. Louis Metro area, including students from low income backgrounds, who have little to no access or are otherwise underrepresented in the field of computer science. Create a Loop aims to disrupt the generational poverty cycle by equipping students with advanced computer programming skills and opening avenues to rewarding careers with meaningful salaries.
Create a Loop has participated in Give STL Day for the last two years and this year their approached focused on advocating for themselves while also asking supporters to donate to other causes.
Out of the $4.5 million raised throughout the entire day, more than $75,000 was donated to Create a Loop. Donors had an opportunity to create individual campaigns for any nonprofit in an effort to help them reach their fundraising goals.
A campaign benefitting Create a Loop, “Coding and Tech for At-Risk Youth” created by a dedicated board member and donor, Maurice Brown, helped raise over $15,000 towards that total, securing the #1 spot on the campaign leaderboard.
“Minorities and women lag so far behind in obtaining careers in the tech and computer science fields, and this program aims to reduce that gap by increasing access and availability of computer science to those demographics,” said Brown. “Given that the issue, particularly for minorities, is not always a lack of interest but a lack of resources available outside of the classroom. This program hits right at the heart of that issue by providing students with the necessary equipment and environment to pursue their interests.”
Along with their Give STL Day success, Create a Loop is finding ways to educate their students during COVID-19 with distance learning. They have made their entire curriculum accessible online with daily office hours. Although Create a Loop is taking steps to ensure their students can continue to learn, Dunlap expressed that many students don’t have internet access, or they lack the support necessary to succeed while learning at home.
“The concern is that already existing gaps in education will widen given this difficult learning environment,” said Dunlap.
As the city of St. Louis looks to a future after COVID, Create a Loop is doing the same. Create a Loop’s plan is to create a computer science education blueprint that will be accessible to schools so that they may build their own computer science programs.
“We would like to see St. Louis produce a generation of computer science engineers in order to fill open jobs and to increase the standard of living for many in our city,” concluded Dunlap.
To learn more about Create a Loop, visit their website at createaloop.org.