The COVID-19 virus is one of the most challenging crises we’ve faced in generations. The direct pain caused by the virus and economic fallout from social distancing has upended the way we normally live. We are working hard to adapt to the circumstances, through the projects we work on, our online classes, and our team structures. These challenges have made us at Code the Dream (CTD) even more thankful for the incredible community that we’ve built, and we’re determined to do our part to give back.
CTD Labs was designed in part to build technology that works toward social good and benefits our communities. We’ve worked on several projects recently that help people respond to COVID-19. First, we collaborated with the Durham Public Schools Foundation to build an address-validated form that allows families to sign up for food delivery. In the first weekend of this program, DPS sent more than 4,000 meals to families in Durham.
We also built a website for FaceMask Warriors, a nationwide collaboration of more than 16,000 volunteers who are working to make up for the face mask shortage through homemade cloth and fabric masks. FaceMask Warriors was originally a collection of 50 separate state groups based on Facebook, but because of Code the Dream, they now have a central national hub for their work.
In 2019, we began offering our free coding classes online as part of a national expansion. Now, we’re grateful that we already had remote infrastructure in place, keeping our classes fully functioning during social distancing.
In March, we announced a new partnership with Treehouse, an online tech school that offers courses in computer programming.Code the Dream is now using Treehouse’s video content to implement our curriculum, while continuing to provide supplemental instruction and materials. This month, our Ruby on Rails students began work on Treehouse’s Rails track, and our interns are continuing to brush-up their skills using this great new resource!
In May, we’ll begin our next Web Development class. We’ve had nearly 400 applicants from 23 states, giving us the chance to continue making an impact on the national level. Having already conducted one class online, we are ready to dive into the next one!
Code the Dream Team
And as Code the Dream staff and interns, we are hopeful that we our transition to remote work may actually lead to becoming a stronger organization by the time this is over. As an increasing number of our interns are located outside of North Carolina, we’re working on ways to make our office culture accessible to everyone. We started a “CTD Daily Cafe”, in which all of our interns and staff are able to connect over lunch each day. Our weekly professional development “Huddles” are now entirely online, and our interns are stepping up and teaching each other about a wide range of programming topics.
We’re also having fun – a new #FunAndGames Slack channel (our team communication platform) gives us space to play random online games, and a weekly virtual happy hour means we can unwind together.
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. But we’re also learning how much we need each other. We’re being taught new ways to love and care for each other and our community. Our mission at CTD doesn’t change, and we’re going to keep working.