Community Partner Spotlight: Meaghan Bent, General Director & Co-founder of CoderDojoTo

Who:Meaghan Bent

*What: *General Director & Co-founder of CoderDojoTo and Lead Front-End Developer at Filemobile

Our community partner spotlight today falls on Meaghan Bent, General Director & Co-founder of CoderDojoTo. Meaghan graduated from Fanshawe College with a Multimedia Design and Production diploma, as well as a Computer Electronics diploma from Westervelt College in London, ON. Meaghan hails from rural Niagara and became serious about coding to facilitate the creation of a music community in her small town.

Bent got started in as a developer for Honeycomb Worldwide and then with and maintains a freelance consultation role with The Variables Company. Since joining Filemobile - a Toronto SaaS start-up dealing with content acquisition and UGC - in late 2011, Meaghan has become the Lead Front-End Developer and is currently leading her team through a large-scale platform software re-architecture project.

She became inspired to spread the love of code to children after having volunteering as an instrument instructor and band coach at Girls Rock Camp Toronto, and then watching a TEDTalk where speaker, livestock facility designer, and autism educator Temple Grandin spoke about the importance of mentorship to youth with brains that fall outside of the standard classroom way of teaching. CoderDojoTo was officially kicked off in September 2013 and continues to grow in size and support.

Q: Parents sign their kids up for karate, dance, and so on. Why should parents enrol their child(ren) in a program like Coder Dojo, or look into giving their child(ren) the tools to learn to write code?

A: Just like karate, learning code is a life skill that will empower kids to grow confidence. Unlike most practical applications of karate, learning code will equip kids to speak the language(s) of the digital age. Computers, electronic gaming, and internet use have had significant impacts on culture over the past 30 years, and now technology is changing our society so quickly that 30 years from now there will be unknown careers, sciences, and endeavours born that will require programming skills. Code is creative, it is universal. Code is for business and for communities. Code is for everyone.

Q: How do you want to leave your dent in the universe?

A: Ultimately, I want to inspire people to be kind to each other. As I see my kindness amplified by the kindness of others I feel content in the work we are doing with CoderDojoTo. Creating a free space for families to learn about technology together is a rewarding endeavour. For the mentors to work with their peers to share the passion for code, and also to see what the kids do with it, is very exciting. The community is growing stronger and I'm looking forward to watching CoderDojoTo continue to foster kindness, confidence and creativity through code!

Q: The CoderDojoTo group has grown consistently every month since launching. What has been some of the feedback and what has surprised you the most?

A: That parents want longer sessions. Since they have to stay with their students, I wouldn't expect them to be so eager to spend more time there! But the parents are often so engaged with the session that they have a good time and also learn a thing or two!