A Tale of Two Valleys

George Weiler

SiliconValley, in the southern San Francisco Bay Area, is home to hundreds of start-up and tech giants including Google, Facebook and Apple, but the southern bay area is really a tale of two valleys. The above-average household income has driven living costs sky high and the low-income residents in places like East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park are left to fend for themselves. Sadly, the majority of these residents will not become the next Googler. STEM careers, especially careers in the computer science industry pay well and the job market is expanding in this area but there is a huge disparity of demographics. Code.org has statistics to back it up.

In the shadow of Facebook’s brand new campus sits the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, where the low-income youth of Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Redwood City are supported through after-school educational programs.

I am very excited to contribute my time and energy to bring CS First to this club. Careers in tech are becoming more and more present in the lives of the children I serve. Facebook employees are buying land in traditionally low-income neighborhoods. Change is happening and it’s a wonderful feeling to be a positive part of that change. 19 out of 20 kids who took a CS First club this summer are Hispanic and about half of them are girls! We  have realistic hopes to reach over 1,000 children this year.  CodeCorps has been an incredible learning experience so far and I’m proud to be a part of such a great cause.