“My Brother’s Keeper Spring Break Gaming & Coding Day is a chance for students to learn and the fun part is that it’s a chance to see what makes the games that they love do what they do. Sometimes kids are so smart at these games but they only see the graphics-user-interface part of it but now these scientists will be showing them what makes the game do what it does,” says Dr. Ruben Anthony, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison. “This day will give them a better insight on how these games are being put together and the thinking that goes on into designing gaming systems.”

Middle school students from all over the city will be converging at the Madison Public Library today to learn about computer coding, video gaming, and careers in the coding and gaming fields at the second annual My Brother’s Keeper Spring Break Gaming & Coding Day.

“My Brother’s Keeper is a really great organization that helps to give black boys and boys of color the opportunity to do something creative,” Anthony tells Madison365.

For this event, the Urban League of Greater Madison is also partnering with the City of Madison, the Madison Public Library, and Madison Metropolitan School District.

“We couldn’t do what we do without having our partnerships like the ones that we have,” Anthony says.

Workshops and presentations will be led by local companies like Gear Learning Studios, Bump Studios, Mad Marker Studios, Holos, Technical Motivator and Maydm.

“These groups will come in and talk about their technology,” Anthony says. “There will be about 75-80 students participating who will bounce between each session so they have an opportunity to meet all of the folks who are doing the game development.

“What we try to do is bring in individuals from the gaming community,” he adds. “The gaming part is the attraction piece for the students because they are into all of the high-tech games, but we want to take time out and learn the science behind gaming so we might encourage young people to not only play the games but to become the makers of the games at some point in the future.”

This is the second year that Urban League has hosted My Brother’s Keeper Spring Break Gaming & Coding Day.

“The first year went really well. The kids had fun. There was so much excitement and long lines. A lot of kids who didn’t even register showed up. They were all well-behaved,” Anthony remembers. “It’s just a great initiative that we want to keep doing. We want to continue to put things in front of kids and families that are educational and fun.

“Last year, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County stepped in and brought a bunch of kids over on busses and I’m sure this year they will do the same,” he continues. “I believe the 100 Black Men of Madison will be lending their support this year, too.”

There is still a significant gap in knowledge about scientific concepts along racial and ethnic lines in Wisconsin and throughout the United States, but events like My Brother’s Keeper Spring Break Gaming & Coding Day help to bridge those gaps.

“This is tied very closely to STEM and STEAM and making sure our kids that might not have otherwise had anything to do during spring break, they can learn science in a fun way,” Anthony says.

You don’t have to be a gaming expert to attend this event, either.

“Right, this event is for everybody. And it’s a lot of fun, so sometimes the young people don’t even notice that they are learning,” Anthony laughs. “It’s 75 kids who might otherwise be sleeping the whole day. This gives them something really creative to do and it may end up encouraging these kids to go into some of these fields.”

Breakfast and lunch, provided by Chik-Fil-A, will be served at the event which will take place in multiple rooms throughout Central Madison Public Library. Participants should be 11 years old or older. There are at least 75 kids that are currently pre-registered. There’s still room if you are reading this article and want to join in, Anthony says.

“We won’t turn anybody away. If you’re reading this article you can come on out. We’ll make the space,” he says.

For more information about My Brother’s Keeper Spring Break Gaming & Coding Day, click here.

Written by David Dahmer

David Dahmer

A. David Dahmer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Madison365.

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