Tech Spark launches crowdfunding campaign to support tech summer camp for underrepresented youth


Betakit | | May 24, 2018

Tamar Huggins, the founder and executive director of Tech Spark, a Toronto-based tech and design school that aims to empower girls and children of colour through tech education, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000 for its Summer of INNOVATION program.

The Summer of INNOVATION is a summer camp that will allow Tech Spark to teach 100 children from underserved communities in the Greater Toronto Area how to create 100 tech-based projects this summer. Throughout the summer, students will learn how to build and fly their own drones, create mobile apps, create chatbots, build a multi-page website, create a 2D game, and create music and build movable contraptions through virtual reality.

The campaign expands on the tech and design school’s goal to increase the representation of women and people of colour in Canada’s tech ecosystem.

The goal is to create a pipeline that engages and supports underserved children and enables them to become creators and innovators. According to Tamar Huggins, the Summer of INNOVATION supports Tech Spark’s mission of creating an inclusive and diverse tech community.

The campaign expands on the tech and design school’s goal to increase the representation of women and people of colour in Canada’s tech ecosystem, tackling the issue of women and people of colour avoiding STEM careers due to gender and racial stereotypes.

Huggins said the Summer of Innovation campaign can help remove barriers to innovation education for youth in the GTA and close the divide that exists for many girls and children of colour in Canada.

“Tech Spark launched this campaign to meet the overwhelming demand for our programs and to expand our reach into more high-needs neighbourhoods in Toronto and Durham region,” said Huggins.

“We want to engage new students with innovative programs they do not have access to either financially or locally. I don’t believe finances or location should be a barrier to education. Our hope is that together, we change the trajectory of each child we encounter. Many students come to our programs excited, but not sure of their own abilities. We want each student to graduate with a new sense of self-efficacy and higher levels of self-confidence.”

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Tech Spark says the fundraised $50,000 will be used to invest in equipment that can be reused for future Summer of INNOVATION programs; to cover the cost to sponsor each child for six weeks of summer camp; provide honourariums and cover travel expenses for the program’s educators and tech mentors; and cover the cost of class materials.

Tech Spark has raised $1,375 to date and its campaign is open for seven more days. Check out the Summer of INNOVATION’s Indiegogo campaign here.

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