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An Hour of Code
for a Lifelong Skill at
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ASBURY PARK - Take the popularity of the Frozen Disney movie, and add inspirational stories of those in the computer science field, and you could inspire more children to take an interest in learning code.

That's the theme of this year's Hour of Code, a free afternoon event that gave children a look into a field that organizers said not only helps develop problem-solving and creativity but is also an in-demand job skill.

"It's becoming a necessity," said Bret Morgan, founder of Cowerks, the host of the event. "Even if you had no intention of pursuing it, you should at least have an exposure to the language of programming. It's part of being a well-rounded individual. Just as you might learn a foreign language or read the classics, but because it is so accessible and in such widespread use, you'd find code helps in all sorts of job fields."

The one-hour introduction to code - an event put together by Cowerks, Jersey Shore Tech and Lakehouse Music Academy - at the Cowerks suite in Asbury Park, is part of a larger initiative to demystify computer programming and encourage its pursuit at an early age.

Code Week, through December 14, had 60,000 events worldwide. The initiative, through, aims to give "every student in every school the opportunity to learn computer science and believe computer science and computer programming should be part of the core curriculum," according to the website. Computer science fits alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses like biology, physics, chemistry and algebra, organizers said.

However, in New Jersey the classes do not count toward curriculum requirements, said Sean T. Walsh, chief executive officer of Crowd Communications Group, who helped set up the event.

"There's no core requirements for New Jersey. So if we can get them energized at a young age, then come 10 years when they are looking at entering a field they have these basic skills that are increasingly in demand," Walsh said.

By using the characters from Disney's Frozen in the programming lesson, students get an element of fun to what may be the assumed complicated world of code.

That's not the case, organizers said. Code can be learned quickly, and the introduction to code basics can be the building block toward more elaborate projects.

"By adding these fun elements, you can get kids really excited about all types of projects. They can see how they can program robots and other fun things, by using skills that start here," Walsh said.

The project during Hour of Code had students creating snowflakes and ice crystals through programming. Elsa and Ana guided students ages four through 13 through the lesson.

Presenter Nina Saporta, a computer engineer, spoke of how code is not necessarily just a pursuit for the math-inclined.

"Here's an art project I created through code," Saporta said. "Through programming I can change the colors and shapes, and I figured that speaks to younger children who are also first learning shapes and colors."

Saporta brought her daughter, Audrey, who at age 3 was the youngest participant in the hour of code.

She said that she also hopes to serve as a role model for her daughter, and encouraging computer engineering as something more girls should pursue.

"They can do this at a young age; you would be surprised by what they understand," Saporta said. "When you are encouraged and exposed to this young, it feels natural, that engineering way of thinking."

Morgan said the average age was seven years old, among the 30+ attendees of the event. With a long waiting list to participate, Cowerks will likely hold more events of this type next month.

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Join us for Essentials of Asset Building for Trainers and Facilitators 
Thu-Fri 1/15-1/16, 2015
Click here to register!

Start 2015 with a new point of view on how to bring out the best in the young people in your program or classroom. 

Implementing a strength-based approach in your work with young people starts with a positive point of view. That point of view--readily found in the Developmental Assets--sees young people as resources to be celebrated and supported, rather than problems to be fixed.

If you are ready to sharpen your strength-based practices, please join us January 15th and 16th in Union, NJ for Essentials of Asset Building. 

Senior Trainer Jim Conway brings the Developmental Assets to life through lively group interactions and his deep knowledge of what really works to help kids succeed. Listen to Jim talk about the workshop in this video:

If you are new to the Developmental Assets framework, this two-day workshop will introduce you to the basics of looking at young people through a positive lens. If you're familiar with the assets, you'll find ample material to refresh and renew your skills.

Essentials of Asset Building for Trainers and Facilitators
January 15-16, 20158:30am to 4:00pm
Kean University
Kean Hall, Room 127, Union, NJ 07083
Cost: $795 / Register by Thursday, January 8, 2014

Catholic Partnership Schools Seeks to Fill 2 Part-time Positions, Starting in January (Camden)
Click here to learn more!

The Catholic Partnership Schools serve the children of Camden. We provide an excellent, student-centered academic program defined by faith-based values, rooted in respect, and compelled by justice. We are committed to sustaining safe and nurturing schools that inspire and prepare each of our students for rigorous, college-preparatory secondary schools.

Position: Assists teacher/supervisor in teaching academic enrichment and supports or leads other enrichment programming.

We seek candidates who are:
  • Talented, energetic, and interested in elementary education
  • dedicated to working with children from urban neighborhoods
  • able to set and maintain high expectations for self and students while communicating respectfully and effectively with colleagues, parents and students
  • enlivened by working with young people and eager to provide them with fun, wholesome and holistic learning experiences.

Hour Requirements:
  • Weekly: Approximately 8-9 hours per week
  • Program: Monday through Thursday, 2:50 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • Meetings: Quarterly debriefing/planning with Coordinator of Summer and After-
  • Stipend: $100 per week for four day schedule

Job Responsibilities:
  • Assists Site Coordinator in implementation of the after-school program, including: preparing classroom for activities, leading tutoring, homework assistance, and educational enrichment activities, and managing student behavior in the classroom
  • Assists students in the use of technology to support instruction.
  • Provides appropriate feedback to students on the progress of their work.
  • Maintains discipline in accordance with the rules and disciplinary systems of the school and applies appropriate disciplinary measures where necessary.
  • Supports other enrichment activities.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Special Requirements:
  • Bi-lingual English/Spanish a plus

To Apply:
Please send resume and cover letter to Joanna Barlow, Afterschool Coordinator, via e-mail at:

Join Us on Thur 1/15/15 for the Next Public School Roundtable!
Please note that the next meeting of the NJSACC Public School Roundtable will be held on Thursday, January 15th 2015 at 10am at the Jon R. Kopko Administration Building, 760 Rt. 18, East Brunswick, NJ. The facility is at the rear of a business complex across Rt. 18 from Brunswick Square Mall, behind the Best Western hotel and Work Out World (WOW).

If you have any items that you would like to be considered for the agenda, please send them to Scott Kominkiewicz, Supervisor of Community Programs, via e-mail at:

Also, feel free to invite the supervisor/director/manager of any other before or afterschool program that is district-run, meaning that the program is not operated by a third party or for-profit business entity. 

As you know, meeting with other organizations like our own is a great opportunity to share ideas and best practices. 

The next meeting after this will be held on March 12, 2015 in Piscataway, NJ.

What: Public School OST Roundtable

When: Thursday, Jan 15, 2015

Time: 10am - 12:30pm

Where: Jon R. Kopko Administration Building
760 Rt. 18, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 

Please RSVP to Scott Kominkiewicz via e-mail at:

Hope to see you there.

 Job Posting: YWCA Bergen County Seeks Camp Counselor!
Job Summary:
Summer will be here before you know it and we are looking for candidates that want to procure a job before the Summer Rush!

Under the direction of the Camp Director, follows weekly calendar of activities to ensure children have a positive, fun, safe experience while at the camp program.

Key Responsibilities:
This job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required to perform this job, the rather describes the essential functions/responsibilities of the job. Other duties may be assigned as required.
  • Maintains daily attendance records and ensures that information flyers are distributed to parents.
  • Follows weekly calendar of activities.
  • Deals with any behavioral issues or problems within the YWCA philosophy and reports any issues or concerns to Camp Director. Interacts with parents as required.
  • Ensures that program site is clean, organized and meets the needs of the children.
  • Completes required paperwork in a timely fashion.
  • Attends initial camp orientation and weekly staff meetings.
  • Ensures that children are placed safely with their parent/guardian at the end of each day, requesting identification from unknown individuals.
  • Accompanies children to pool/lake for swimming and assists with swim instruction and locker room procedures. Comes prepared to swim each day.
Click here for more details and to download the official job posting.

Please submit a resume to:

Diane Genco
Executive Director
NJSACC: The Network for New Jersey's Afterschool Communities