Find out what our Inspire305 winners have been up to

When Inspire305, a new initiative powered by United Way of Miami-Dade called on the community to vote for its favorite nonprofit, they chose Code/Art and Mind&Melody – two emerging nonprofits that are transforming lives and doing great work in our community. We recently sat down with them to find out what they’ve been up to since walking away with a combined $45,000 in award money. Here’s what they had to say.

Code/Art

1. Tell us a little bit about Code/Art and what inspires you and your organization about Miami.

Miami is such an incredible place for us and our mission. Code/Art turns computer science on it’s head by teaching girls to code through art lessons. We lead with creativity, and that’s a great fit with Miami. The art and creativity in our city coming from places like Wynwood, Miami Beach and Downtown is spilling over into other neighborhoods throughout Miami. It absolutely lifts us up in our efforts to inspire girls to code through art.

2. What has Code/Art been up to since winning Inspire305’s Grand Innovator award in June?

Well, of course we did the volunteer event with Inspire305 at Pinecrest Library on August 25th. It was a wonderful community event! I loved how so many families came out together to help us paint and assemble the pixelated art. There was something for every age group and for girls and boys!

We have also been hard at work planning for all the activities and impact we want to have for the upcoming school year. Our school-year program at Young Women’s Prep kicks off this Friday, September 14, 2018 and most of our six CodeHER Clubs are also starting up this week, so we have been extremely busy with all the necessary preparations for those programs. We’re also putting in motion our plans for this year’s annual all girl coding competition and digital art exhibition — Code/Art Miami 2019 — which will be held at the University of Miami on March 3, 2019.

3. What are some of the key takeaways from the Inspire305 process that you like to share with future applicants? Did you learn something new about your organization throughout the Inspire305 process?

Small nonprofits like ours need financial support to keep the ball rolling, and we are incredibly grateful to Inspire305 and United Way for shining a light on this need. For us, the process of applying was great! It helped us to focus on what we really want to accomplish in Miami and how to inspire others to come along on the ride with us. Making the video for the application was daunting, but we are so glad now to have that footage of our students saying in their own words what makes Code/Art special to them.

What surprised us the most throughout the process was how many people really understood what we are trying to do and support our cause. With any organization, it’s hard to sustain the energy levels for the time needed to affect real change. Inspire305 was able to supercharge our energy levels and fill our tanks again. We needed the financial support, but the infusion of emotion and energy were even more valuable.

4. Have any of the funds been put to use? If so, is there anything exciting you can share with us?

We are using the funds to double the number of our weekly CodeHER clubs and cover a bigger area of Miami-Dade with our programs — from Pinecrest Library in the south, to North Miami Middle School in the north, to FIU in the west, and three other clubs in between! The funds have helped us to fully develop a 3-level curriculum plan to keep girls engaged over all three years of middle school, and we have hired instructors and recruited volunteers to teach the curriculum. This past Sunday, we held a training session for all 24 CodeHER team members that got all of us supercharged for this school year! In addition, the bonus funds from the anonymous donor are going towards a 3D printer, which our students are especially excited about.

5. What’s next for Code/Art?

This is the year of thinking big for Code/Art. We want to do more than host a few clubs here and there. We want to change the face of computer science in Miami. So we’re fundraising to scale existing programs and grow in new areas. We want to continue to expand our CodeHER clubs, but we also want to start a program to train 60 art teachers to teach our lessons throughout South Florida, with the goal of reaching 25,000+ middle school girls over three years. We also want to do more to keep our students engaged after they age out of our Coder Clubs.

This fall we will be launching Technovation Teams to teach high school girls coding and entrepreneurial skills they can apply to real world problems. We are also working to build other opportunities for high school girls. Last week we led a half-day STEAM Leadership training session for high school seniors to certify them to be teaching assistants in our programs. We are also looking to connect our CodeHER Club alumni to further learning resources and match them with mentors in the Miami tech world to keep them engaged and interested in coding. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but this is bigger than our generation. Women make up half of the population and need to drive half of the technology created in the future. This is our simple, yet powerful way to get there.

Mind&Melody

1. Tell us a little bit about Mind&Melody and what inspires you and your organization about Miami.

At Mind&Melody we transform the lives of older adults with and without neurological impairments through music. Our programs in Miami are always very dynamic & diverse due to the variety of cultures and groups! We work with individuals from the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the states! It’s very exciting to be able to work with so many different cultures and see how music is the one universal language.

2. What has Mind&Melody been up to since winning Inspire305’s Trailblazer award in June?

We have been implementing two new programs under the Inspire305 and United Way grant and three for individuals in Miami. We have other programs we have started with other grants as well. We were also part of the Coors Light Lideres campaign and currently putting together some proposals for new projects.

3. What are some of the key takeaways from the Inspire305 process that you like to share with future applicants? Did you learn something new about your organization throughout the Inspire305 process?

I think it’s very important to create a strategy to help remind people to vote. Create a list of close friends and family and ask them to reach out to a few people that can help. Reaching out to people individually and having a personalized message works best!

4. Have any of the funds been put to use? If so, is there anything exciting you can share with us?

We have used the funds to start two programs at facilities and three for individuals. The funds have been used to purchase instruments, t-shirts, travel, and program coordinator. There is a program we started for an older couple living at home with a mild cognitive impairment and they have started inviting their friends to their home for the interactive music session! This is something we have not seen happen before but we are very excited that it’s bringing the community together.

5. What’s next for Mind&Melody?

We are filming a documentary with BESE this week! Very exciting! We are planning on growing our in-home sessions and finish implementing the Inspire305 grant.

2018-10-07T13:29:43-04:00 September 21st, 2018|