A Fibonacci Phase I student’s portfolio. Photos by Liz Cowie. 

Thanksgiving week starts one of the biggest shopping weekends for the holiday season. Beginning with Black Friday on Nov. 28th, and followed with Cyber Monday on Nov. 2nd, in total Americans are expected to spend over $12 billion while shopping online.

Back in 2012, 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation decided to do something different. They introduced and popularized the idea of Giving Tuesday, a day meant to inspire people to give back to their communities in the spirit of the holiday season, after the days of shopping and consumerism have wound down. It worked — the #givingtuesday movement website estimated nearly $400 million was donated to nonprofits and charities during Giving Tuesday in 2018, and expect to surpass that during this year’s Giving Tuesday on December 3rd.

Giving Tuesday isn’t only about donating money, though. One of the best ways to give back is to find places in your community to get involved and make an impact. Of course, the Codecraft Foundation is always welcoming donations and community involvement to help continue its mission to bring computer science education to underrepresented students in Brevard. But for this year’s Giving Tuesday, we’d also like to share a new way you can work with us to give back to Brevard — by becoming a community partner for the Fibonacci Program.

What’s the Fibonacci Program?

Back in June, we partnered with Brevard Achievement Center, a nonprofit aiming to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to break into the workforce and achieve personal success. Together we launched the Fibonacci Program, a first of its kind workforce development and on-the-job training initiative, designed to prepare high school aged students, either with learning disabilities or on the autism spectrum, for careers in rapidly growing and sustainable fields, such as web development and information technology (IT).

The first student cohort learned specific skills, like the core web programming languages HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and became Google Analytics certified. But throughout the program, they learned so much more. Each of the seven students worked collaboratively with one another, gave weekly demos of their work in front of the class, and practiced engaging with businesses in a professional setting — all soft skills that are crucial for success in the workforce.

The first Fibonacci Phase I student cohort. Photos by Liz Cowie. 

It had a huge impact.

Over the eight week program, five Brevard companies partnered with students and gave them access to the back-end of their websites. Students learned to analyze Google Analytics reports for statistics, breaking down how often users visited their website, how long they stayed there, and what content they looked at the most.

By the end of the program, students were able to create comprehensive reports that allowed companies to better understand their website traffic, helping guide their marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Students left with a certification in advanced Google Analytics, as well as portfolio of web projects to show potential employers.

A Phase I student demos his projects. Photo by Liz Cowie. 

During the final Demo Day in July, students presented their final work to their community partners, parents, and peers. Students showed off websites for fictional companies, virtual magic 8 balls and web pages about their favorite movies, and well-earned Google Analytics certifications. But most importantly, the students that started the Fibonacci program had undergone a dramatic transformation. Both students and parents recognized the newfound confidence in their work, as well as their willingness to interact with other students and professionals with enthusiasm.

So here’s the thing.

The Fibonacci program didn’t end there. The first student cohort was so impactful that the team decided to support the continuation of the Fibonacci Program with new Phase 1 cohorts in Fall 2019, as well as Spring 2020.

In September, Codecraft Works and the Brevard Achievement Center launched Fibonacci Phase II, which provides the next level of workforce training fully online. This flexible work environment allows them to continue attending school while participating in the program.

Here’s where you come in.

As part of their program capstone, each student is looking for small business and/or nonprofit in need of WordPress website redesign or development. The Fibonacci students will develop, create, or update a web presence for you for free in order to build their portfolio and business experience while giving back to their community!