Improving Access to Learning in STEAM

The San José Public Library (SJPL) offers incredible resources and opportunities for the community throughout its 25 branches. A plethora of cultures, languages, and communities can be found at each library location. The San José Public Library Foundation (SJPLF) works to support and amplify the programs offered throughout SJPL. 

 Over the last few months, the Foundation has been following the impact of Resilience Corp Learning Pathways,one of the key programs supported by SJPLF. This program employs dozens of Resilience Corps Associates, or RCAs, who are young adults from San José who gain professional experience and develop meaningful career pathways through the program. Some of the RCA’s help the children of our local communities by collaborating with the Coding5k program, a citywide initiative led by SJPL that creates accessible avenues of learning in STEAM for students K-8th.

These Resilience Corps Associates placed with the Coding5k program are not only focused on offering coding workshops, but also workshops focused on creativity with iPad. RCAs have gone through numerous trainings and workshops to be better equipped for teaching classes covering topics ranging from coding with Swift to stop motion animation using Keynote app and more. RCAs craft uniquely planned lessons each week. Resilience Corps and Coding5k collectively highlight the unparalleled value of programs that not only serve their community but also emphasize the power of partnerships of everyone who helps fund and implement these programs.

Throughout the year-round program, Resilience Corps Associates are supported through monthly Professional Development Workshops which cover topics like financial literacy, and personal branding. Additionally, Resilience Corps Associates placed at the library and working in Coding5k participated in workshops focused on learning and teaching with Apple technology. With support from Apple’s Community Education Initiative, sessions focused on topics like storytelling – addressing the importance of storytelling and elements of effective messaging – creating professional portfolios, and more.. During the Storytelling workshop The RCAs were asked to identify their personal values and develop a solution for a challenge their community faces as well as to inspire new lesson plans for the classes that the RCAs teach. Using iMovie, the RCAs shared a short video they created during the Storytelling Workshop. Providing focused and action-oriented workshops within the Resilience Corp Program guides young professionals when choosing their career path and fosters a purposeful and growing community.

These types of intentionally crafted workshops not only equip the RCAs with the tools to teach and positively impact the surrounding communities but also gives them a chance to reflect on their personal goals and professional development as they prepare for their future. The RCAs are proactively adapting their lessons to what they believe the children and their families will benefit from the most. This is done at each location through feedback and long-term relationships that they have cultivated with the families and library staff. Shalom, one of the RCAs at the Joyce Ellington Branch Library, shared that the workshop, “Gave us space to express what we stand for,” improving how they approach problem-solving and serving the community with a clear mission. 

The RCAs have found that they do have a consistent group of families that come back every week. Following the story-telling workshop, Shalom was able to guide 5-year-old Consintino in a “Beginning Animation” class by teaching him various skills in the art of making an animation on an iPad provided by the Library. SJPL has devices available to loan students and program participants if the program requires a tech device. 

Costantino’s father is excited to bring his son to more classes that allow his son to learn about animation and other skill sets that can also be done on the iPad. 

There have been coding classes to teach Swift coding language, and even creative holiday themed activities using iPad! Through the experiences provided by the Resilience Corps Program, many RCAs have been able to say they can more comfortably and confidently teach students and manage a classroom. Adelle, another RCA, said the children “had fun and got to show their creativity,”. She hopes to continue to improve her public speaking and communication skills both inside and outside the classroom throughout the rest of the program. A parent, who is a software engineer himself, enthusiastically mentioned how these classes and programs help his son “get started” because he didn’t know where to begin himself, and the fact that it’s free at the Library eliminates the burden of the otherwise expensive cost of equipment and programs to do these classes without the Library.  The RCAs are becoming exceedingly competent while gaining confidence in themselves during the program. The impact of just a single workshop has the power to create foundational and transformative change in the city of San José starting with the young adults in the Resilience Corps and Coding5k Programs teaching their students one class at a time. 

If you’re interested in having your children attend upcoming Coding5k classes, click below to see their upcoming schedule at your local branch. Registration is required for some programs, view the upcoming schedule for more details.   

The Resilience Corps Learning Pathway is funded by #CaliforniansForAll. 

Resilience Corps Associates are placed at a variety of partner organizations throughout San José in addition to SJPL. Those interested in applying to become Resilience Corps Associates are not guaranteed placement in any specific organization.