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** I am unavailable for freelance work until January 2014 **

If you'd like  to get in touch about a freelance project or just to say hi, please send me a message using the form or via twitter at @ivonnekn.

~ Ivonne




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Designer and illustrator specializing in brand identity design, web design and UI/UX design, based in Toronto via Milton.


Filtering by Category: Volunteer

Girls Learning Code

Ivonne Karamoy

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being involved with a March break camp aimed at introducing and preparing some of our young girls to web making, as we call it. The camp was called Girls Learning Code. You've heard me talk about Ladies Learning Code (LLC) and my involvement with that and Girls Learning Code (GLC) was actually the whole reason why I wanted to get involved with LLC in the first place. More than my desire to help and teach other women and men about technology is the desire to help our youth, more particularly, our young girls look at technology as another medium for their creativity.

Yes, I would like to see more women in our field but more particularly I would like to see more young girls realize the potential for technology to help them achieve their goals. I want them to see it as something that they can manipulate in their own creative way. I think there's a huge potential for our young girls to think of amazingly fantastic ways of utilizing our technology in new ways. And I think for the next generation it's important to cultivate an industry around technology that takes into account the perspective of males and females.

GLC is new and I don't think there's anything quite like it in Toronto at the moment. I'd like to hear from anyone who knows of anything else in Toronto or anywhere else really so we could see what others have done to help our young girls. As the first run of GLC I think it was amazingly successful. The girls created their own hacked website by the end of the week. And in the process they were exposed to various creative applications that introduced them to programming. They were also given the freedom to use their own creative hobbies to add to their website. We took them to see the Google offices which they loved and also to meet with other female entrepreneurs who are creating wonderful things with technology. The goal was to expose the girls to the various avenues in technology and bits and pieces of what that may involve. I think they were able to get a sense of what coding really is, how the web is created and just how great the potential is for someone to make the web what they want it to be.

The group web projects that they created seemed to have one recurring theme across all of the groups: helping others through technology. Each of them rallied behind a cause from which they would build their website around and all of them had some sort of fundraising business model by which they could help others. It's amazing that in a group of 40 young girls the common characteristic seems to be compassion and empathy. This is precisely why it's important for our young girls to grow up and contribute to the digital world that we now live in. And that's not to say that our young boys can't be compassionate and empathetic but I think as females we have an innate need to care and nurture.

I am extremely proud of those young girls and hope to see them running the world someday. I also hope that GLC will continue to evolve and expand and hopefully by the time I have kids I can send them to camp!

I'll leave you with Mozilla's interview (rough cut) of the girls impressions and experiences... aren't they great?!

Ladies Learning Code

Ivonne Karamoy

ladies learning code

For those of you who don't know, Toronto has a pretty fantastic developer community! There's a bit of a startup vibe in this city and that helps to encourage and feed the developer and designer community. Designers are eager to learn from developers and developers understand more and more the importance of designers.

I've been getting involved in the community when I can and the biggest instigator of that was Ladies Learning Code (LLC).For those of you who don't know about Ladies Learning Code, they are a not-for-profit who provides reasonably priced development workshops targeted for women (though men can attend). The demand has been astonishing! They've had at least one workshop a month, two per month in 2012, and each one has sold out almost instantly! All of their workshops are lead by volunteer instructors who are working in the tech industry. Each workshop is aided by volunteer mentors who also work in the industry and are there to help the students with any questions they may have during the workshop.

Heather Payne along with Melissa Crnic, Breanna Hughes, and Laura Plant run LLC together. They are such an enthusiastic group of women that you can't help but be excited about it!

Since I met with Heather back in December I've become a volunteer mentor at their Wordpress workshop this past January and this weekend I'll be there again to help out with their HTML/CSS workshop. It's such a great vibe and you meet such wonderful fellow mentors in the industry and amazingly enthusiastic people who are eager to learn! I'm also mentoring at their Intro to Photoshop & Illustrator workshop next weekend.

If that wasn't enough - and this is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to get involved with LLC - they are also running a March Break camp for girls called Girls Learning Code. I will be one of the instructors for the full week and I'm incredibly excited to help the girls feed their creativity in technology. You can find more information here.

Ladies Learning Code has major plans to expand and provide more and more opportunities to encourage women and young girls. Last week they launched a job board that helps to connect people in the industry with the LLC community to find talent for various positions. The job board itself is based on a Wordpress theme that they purchased but Heather asked me to modify the CSS to be consistent with the Ladies Learning Code website and branding. Check it out... it may lead you to a great opportunity!

For more info about Ladies Learning Code, check out their website. You can also sign up to their email list, or to volunteer as a Mentor - and I would highly recommend it! - join their developer email list.