CES Spotlight blog posts shine a light on youth sector programs and initiatives in Ontario that are undertaking an evaluation journey in collaboration with YouthREX’s Customized Evaluation Supports (CES) at one of our regional hubs across Ontario. The blog posts describe the programs and initiatives and how evaluation supports their objectives to improve youth wellbeing.

In October 2016, Techsdale began an evaluation journey with our Central Hub through our Customized Evaluation Supports (CES) program.

Techsdale
Game Design program (Beginner)

TARGET POPULATION
Racialized Youth
Newcomer Youth
Youth living in poverty

RELATED STEPPING UP THEME(S)
Employment, Training & Apprenticeships

Diversity, Social Inclusion & Safety
Education, Training & Apprenticeships

CES START DATE
October 2015

For young Rexdale residents interested in the tech industry, the path is challenging. Developing the skills can be expensive, and the tech sector’s problems with diversity can be discouraging. In addition, not all public schools have the hardware and industry expertise needed to give young people a foot in the door. Techsdale’s goal is to eliminate these barriers by teaching youth in Rexdale, as well as surrounding areas, to make video games, apps and websites that reflect their interests, their passions, and their unique voices.

MISSION
Techsdale (TXDL) is a mentorship and development program, and its purpose is to teach young people how to make games, apps and websites. Techsdale was created not only to help youth express themselves through digital media, but to also to diversify the tech sector by steering young people of various backgrounds into employability and internships.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The Game Design program teaches youth (14-19, with exceptions for exceptional students) vital tech skills using holistic project-based learning, mentorship and training to develop participant portfolios and create a pipeline into the tech industry for individuals with barriers to access.

“I always wanted to be on the other side of the game, instead of just the person with the controller in my hand. I want to be the person designing the characters, the landscapes, putting the code in for the movements, the animation — everything.”

– Dandré Henry, Participant

Techsdale provides youth outreach through their 14-week tech course that meets once per week.

“As we begin to receive funding and to be empowered to offer additional programs, we will look for opportunities to a) advance the skills of returning students with intermediate programming, b) engage returning students as mentors to assist with first-time students. Successful evolution for TXDL at our present stage would mean quantifying worthwhile skill-deepening among our returning students.”

– Techsdale

Why Customized Evaluation Supports? 

When asked about why they wanted to undergo YouthREX’s CES process, Techdale said, “…we need to do better in terms of proving our legitimacy to potential funders. So anything to do with quantifying, or education and community impact…would add a good deal to our grant literature, our strategy, our way of thinking about how we develop curriculum and lesson plans. So that’s one possibility, one avenue for investigation.”

Techdale has completed their CES journey with YouthREX!

“We have proposed to a couple of our students to get involved, to be youth representatives on the board, and at least a couple of them are enthusiastic about that, and we could move this in with that. A few of them are game to take on mentorship and leadership roles.”

– Techsdale

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