Instead of getting a present, Raptors star Pascal Siakam handed out some goodies on Friday, his 27th birthday.
Through his PS43 Foundation, Siakam announced a six-figure donation that includes new laptops equipped with the necessary programming. A news release stated, “Coding for Champions aims to empower 60 sixth to eighth grade students between two schools (Queen Victoria Public School and Parkdale Jr. & Sr. Public School) with information technology and website building skills.”
The foundation said children lack many barriers when it comes to accessing digital literacy and coding education, and this initiative aims to help. The Coding For Champions program is supported by Penny Appeal Canada.
Siakam explained in a release why he decided to act: “As a child, I didn’t think I could accomplish what I have today.”
“My father was passionate about education and my parents put me in positions to be successful by providing me access to education and sport in my home country of Cameroon; a place where such opportunities are limited and hard to come by. I want to do the same for kids in Toronto and encourage them to dream big no matter what limits they face.”
The aim is to help prepare and encourage children to pursue a career in coding. Participants will help create web pages for the PS43 Foundation website.
Coding for Champions will be held between April and June 2021 through a 10-week engaging virtual curriculum, adhering to the health and safety protocols of the pandemic. The participating students have demonstrated a passion for coding and were selected by the school principals, said the foundation.
Each student will be given a laptop, backpack, program hoodie, and any additional supplies needed. They will also receive an inspirational note from Siakam. There will be a virtual graduation ceremony at the end of the program to celebrate the students and their work.