It’s not surprising that many of our students already have clear ideas about the majors they’d like to pursue in college and the meaningful careers they envision for themselves. PIMCO, one of the world’s premier fixed income investment managers, has been a significant KidWorks partner who is committed to helping our students achieve their dreams.
In September they generously sponsored a hands-on learning workshop at their offices for 23 of our fourth and fifth graders where the kids learned computer coding and even developed their own video games.
“The workshop made real the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum we teach,” says Jacky Hernandez, Program Assistant/Program Leader at our Dan Donahue Center. “The students started by creating a clay model of their video game character and then wrote computer coding to bring their three dimensional characters to life on the screen.”
Jacky adds, “Each student was paired with two PIMCO technology department employees, as well as students from the University of California, Irvine’s Beall Center for Art and Technology. They created such characters as Marshmallow Butterfly, a medieval knight and SpongeBob SquarePants.”
KidWorks thanks Elizabeth Eckman, Program Associate, Purpose at PIMCO, for overseeing the day’s events.
Melissa Felter, KidWorks’ Volunteer Resource Manager, says the PIMCO volunteers were an instant hit with our students.
“A volunteer doesn’t necessarily need prior experience working with children or students to make a positive impact on their lives,” she says. “The PIMCO employees shared not only their time, but also their expertise in a way that encouraged our kids to be creative and want to learn.”
Our students gave the workshop and PIMCO rave reviews.
“I loved getting to make a 3D model and seeing it come to life on the computer,” says fifth grader Johana. “My PIMCO helper was so nice and I am thankful they had treats for us to eat.”
“My favorite part of the day was learning to code to make my character move around,” says fifth grader Abraham. “I think it was cool that the people from PIMCO were there to help us. The teacher was also very nice and made it fun to learn how to make a character. I want to learn more about technology”
Robert, a DDC 4th grader was invigorated with his dream of being a car designer after participating in this week’s field trip to PIMCO. On the elevator ride down he told the PIMCO partner that he was paired with that he is definitely looking into a career in engineering to design cars similar to what he was able to do in the coding workshop earlier that day.
Lisa Gels, KidWorks’ Associate Director of Development, thanks PIMCO for supporting KidWorks in many ways over the years. “Recently, they worked with us to develop strategies to implement various donor-related programs,” she says. “PIMCO clearly cares deeply about the communities where they do business! They engage their employees with non-profits such as KidWorks in truly meaningful ways and they are making such a positive difference in the community.”
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer