HackerGrrlz Program Pilot

Youth mentorship program for girls

Two 6-week pilot learning programs, started March 22 and May 9, more to be announced for fall. 


We are very excited to be launching our new HackerGrrlz program with the support of Libro Credit Union! This program pairs girls in grades 4-8 with women working in STEM (Science, Techology, Engineering, Math) as mentee and mentor.

Why HackerGrrlz?

As young as eight years old, girls have developed specific ideas about what engineering or software development means. Often the picture they have in mind is of men in uniforms building bridges or sitting up all night at a computer. What they don’t see is themselves and the incredible opportunities that STEM careers can provide to make a difference in the world. Through HackerGrrlz we aim to open girls’ minds about what they could do by continuing to study these fields in high school and beyond.

The second problem we wanted to address is women leaving STEM careers early. Often this has been attributed to the workplace and not feeling like they are bringing their whole selves to their work. By being an inspiration to young girls we hope to in turn inspire women to stay in STEM and make it more inclusive for the next generation.

Be a Mentor

We are looking for women in the STEM fields who are currently either in the workforce or are studying at post-secondary institutions, to work with grade 4-8 girls, teaching them skills like basic coding, website design, and other topics. As  a mentor you will be providing positive role models in the STEM fields for the girls to consider as they continue their education journey. Year of Code Waterloo Region will provide easy to follow project activities that are fun and engaging. There is some prep to get to know the programs, but they also come with readily available tutorials to follow.  Get the perspective from mentor Lori Lablonde in her blog post on why she volunteeredHG_wordmark

Mentors will meet the girls participating at various schools across the region each week. The first pilot program ran in March and April. Our second pilot starts in May, with intention for the program roll-out in September (pending funding). Each session is 1 to 1.5 hours each week for 6 weeks.

Pilot Program Agenda

  • Two 6-week pilot programs:
    • March 21 – April 29 > Completed!
    • May 9 – June 17 > Completed!
  • The day of week and time of day will be determined individually with each school. Each mentoring session is 1 hour to 1.5 hours. 
  • There will be a meeting for mentors before the program starts to review mentoring session activities, expectations, how to work with children, and logistics of the sessions. 
  • There will be a YoCWR person on-site or a trained mentor lead at all learning sessions

The fall program is being developed based on the learning from the first two pilot sessions.  If you would like to participate in a fall program please use the form below.

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