Locker decorations. Teddy bears. Cupid Cards. For teens, Valentine’s Day can be a fun holiday, but it can also sometimes be an isolating and a shallow portrayal of love (source). We know love is about so much more than crushes and candy, so Google’s Made with Code initiative is teaming up with teen girls across the U.S. to reframe Valentine’s Day around the types of love that can bring the world closer together.
Today, Made with Code is launching its newest coding project, #CodedWithLove, inviting students to make their mark on Valentine’s Day by coding a unique digital heart with millions of possible combinations, and sharing a message expressing what love means to them. The project is available at www.madewithcode.com/projects/codedwithlove for all students and educators—no prior experience required.
Also launching today are five new Made with Code role models who are using computer programming to put more love out into their communities. These inspiring young women and brilliant minds are perfect examples of how community change and problem solving can make a positive impact.
The coding rockstars being celebrated today are inventors behind Instakarma, Parihug, PraisePop, Spectrum, and We Read Too. Learn more about their causes to bring the world closer together with code:
Looking for volunteering opportunities for students can be practically impossible because a lot of sites don’t cater to that age group, even though giving back has been shown to lower stress lives, improve moods and boost self-esteems (source). So Meera, Shreya and Leslie created InstaKarma, an app where volunteers can search for opportunities to help in their local communities with everything from small tasks to official community service events. Their advice to their peers is simple, “Just go for it. If you see a problem in the world around you, build an app to fix it.”
What if technology could add a dose of humanity back into connections? That’s what two young women, Harshita and Xyla (pictured), wanted to accomplish when they created Parihug, a Wi-Fi enabled teddy bear that lets users send a virtual long-distance hug. When one bear is hugged, a signal is sent to its mate— activating soft, fabric-based, sensors, and sending a hug across thousands of miles. They have this advice to other teen girls getting into this field: “Combine technology with other things that you love! If you love drawing, bring your art to life with animation. If you love gaming, try building a videogame from scratch. If you love explosions, safely give yourself a capacitor fireworks show and learn about circuits in the process. The best way to learn is through projects that you are passionate about,” says Xyla.
After surveying their high school, friends Sloane, Jenny, Moe and Qiqi learned that only 11 percent of peer responders thought that their school was a “very kind community.” So, they set out to change that by building a mobile app to create a way for people to recognize each other, brighten each other's days, and see positivity all around them. The best part of being app creators so far? “It’s not about the number of likes. It’s about the joy you bring to someone else’s life,” says Jenny.
SpectrumInspired by the lack of safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community to communicate on the Internet, five programmers from San Diego created Spectrum, an app that provides a social media network for the LGBTQIA+ community looking for a safe support system. When these friends came together to start building, they didn’t want to make just another app. They wanted to create something that would be able to reach out to youth who are struggling and make a true difference in their lives.
We Read TooKaya’s been in love with reading since a very young age, but she found herself consistently disappointed with the lack of books on display featuring diverse characters and writers that were relatable to her. She realized that if she wanted to see positive change, she’d need to take the first step. That’s why Kaya put her technology skills to work by creating We Read Too, an app that makes it much easier for people of color to find books about and written by people of color. “Knowledge is power and coding is an outlet to create technology that makes positive impacts on communities,” affirms Kaya.
Google’s Made with Code initiative is focused on inspiring teen girls to try coding and to see it as a means to pursue their dream careers. Today, we hope you will join us in celebrating people who are using code to make an impact in the world by spreading love and positivity, and encourage the students in your life to take their first step with code.
Love is what we make it. If we work together, we can transform Valentine’s Day into something greater than ourselves. Join us in celebrating at #CodedWithLove.