This year’s Talent Showcase was a day to remember.

Hear from an important supporter of the program, Everett Johnson, on the importance of the program to him personally:

Lift for Life Academy

Just south of Busch Stadium you’ll find a growing, inner-city charter school called Lift for Life Academy. Their three-word slogan is at the heart of all that they do: Educate Empower Uplift. We are honored and blessed to be partnered with an organization that is so dedicated to investing in the youth of St. Louis.

What is 1904coders?

In 2017, 1904labs and Lift for Life Academy came together to create a brand new curriculum; bringing an opportunity that might otherwise be difficult to attain for these young students. 1904coders is a 12-week program in which employees of 1904labs volunteer their time to teach the fundamentals of software design and development to middle school students as they work together to create fun, engaging mobile apps. By the end of the course, each student will have built apps of his or her very own design! We conclude this curriculum with an exciting Talent Showcase, during which the students take a field trip to the 1904labs innovation space in the Cortex district to show off their creations to friends, family, and fellow innovators of the STL tech community.

More than Coding

Anyone who attends the Talent Showcase experiences so much more than just a science fair of apps being demonstrated — there’s something special in the atmosphere. As you walk around the room, it doesn’t take long to encounter contagious joy emanating from the students. Are they really that excited about writing code? The computer geek in me would love to answer “Yes! Of course! Who wouldn’t be?”. Let’s be honest, for these middle schoolers, their enthusiasm is attributed to more than just coding.

Making A Difference

When these kids first enter the classroom, coding is extremely intimidating; even an impossibility to some. Yet, after the very first class session, you see that mindset begin to change; “I can do this!”. Coding becomes a means to break down fear of failure and to show the students, first hand, that they are capable of more than they realize. Do we want every graduate of 1904coders to become a software developer? Sure! But that would be an unreasonable expectation. Instead, through conquering something as seemingly out-of-reach as programming, these students further their problem-solving ability, creativity and courage that carries over into all aspects of their lives — unlocking new opportunity and hope. That’s why they are so excited; because they are capable! They did it! And who knows what “impossible” hurdles these kids might accomplish next!

This program is meaningful on a personal level for so many. It is having a positive impact on all involved. Now in its 4th season, the hope is this is just the beginning.

Hear more about the power of the program: