Girls2Geeks (PPS)

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Program Basics

Program Name


Program Description

"Girls2Geeks" is an initiative to encourage the participation of girls and women in Free Geek's mission, and more importantly, in technology. By partnering Free Geek with two local organizations, Girls, Inc. of NW Oregon ( and Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington (, Girls2Geeks provides a way for younger females to connect to the programs that are already in place, but with their needs in mind. We envision our programs as creating a collaborative, social atmosphere among the participants, demystifying computers and technology, and providing access to strong female role models and mentors. We especially look forward to recruiting diverse, underrepresented girls into our model.

Girls2Geeks Camp is a hands-on learning experience that teaches pairs of girls and their female mentors about technology. In 9 weeks, a cohort of 4 to 6 pairs will learn how to rebuild computers using donated electronics, and they will grant them to selected local non-profit organizations. In exchange for their service, each participant will receive a computer system (PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers) and learn how to use open-source software during a three-hour class.

Why does Free Geek need this program?

First, this program fits into Free Geek's mission statement because it matches our priority of providing computers, education, and job skills training in exchange for community service. Secondly, it addresses issues surrounding women and technology: namely, that this high-paying field is historically a male-dominated industry (see By pairing young girls with knowledgeable female mentors and instructors, we give our youth positive social reinforcement for future education and career aspirations, and we empower girls to feel comfortable working with computers (to demystify technology) in general. Moreover, we provide women with an opportunity to give back to their communities as role models and mentors.

How does this fit into Big Brothers Big Sisters Northwest?

Free Geek fits in as a way to provide Meaningful Volunteer Experience ("Each youth has an opportunity to give back to the community through tree planting, beach clean-ups, shelf stocking at the food bank, etc.") By partnering with Free Geek for our summer program we can provide the mentor/mentee pairs with a rewarding and educational opportunity at no cost.

How does this fit in with Girls Inc?

The specific program we would target is Operation SMART, whose origins and goals are very similar to those of Girls2Geeks (see their website: for more info). In particular, both programs seek to empower girls by getting them involved in technology in a positive community space. It also provides an outlet for utilizing positive female role models for girls, is educational, and a great opportunity to volunteer.

Program Planning Overview

  • After gaining input and approval from Free Geek's committees (Knowledge Bees, Production, and Inreach), Annie and Brittany create a brochure/flyer detailing the program to hand out to organizations
  • Brittany and Annie contact community organizations to recruit girls/mentors
Priority organization to contact: Big Brothers Big Sisters NW
Rationale: they already have pairing infrastructure in place (and insurance); a former front desk intern is now a Match Support Specialist there!
Brittany has heard that they have a number of women who want to be Bigs but not enough girls nominated to be Littles.
Free Geek also fits in as a way to provide Meaningful Volunteer Experience ("Each youth has an opportunity to give back to the community through tree planting, beach clean-ups, shelf stocking at the food bank, etc.")
If lack of girls: contact local Girl Scouts troop
Rationale: Their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program is designed to encourage girls to have hands-on experience in these fields
They could earn a badge
Might have less barriers to transportation than others
If lack of women mentors:
Reach out to the Free Geek community to see if anyone wants to participate in this capacity
Back-up plan: ask Girls in Tech Portland if they want to participate
Other organizations to potentially contact::
Girls, Inc.
In Other Words (women's bookstore)
Rock and Roll Camp for Girls
Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.
Boys and Girls Club of Portland
Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center
  • Two months beforehand (April), Brittany and Annie block off the agreed-upon time/dates on the pre-build and build schedules
  • Create instruction materials and handouts for first Hardware ID class; come up with icebreakers
  • Work with Sophia/Hardware Grants to find out if there's a community organization that we can give computers to & to figure out how to set these aside
  • Make a survey (work with Tony/LimeSurvey) to find out what we can do better next time!
  • Make certificates and plan adoption class/last day goodies.

SWOT Analysis

Girls2Geeks SWOT Analysis
Good (for Free Geek) Bad (for Free Geek)
(to Free Geek)

Strengths: Strengths are advantages we have that are internal to Free Geek and helpful to achieving the objective. (Good things we do.)

  • We already have the space and program in place, we just need our target group to accomplish it
  • Won't cost a large amount money; just need certificates/snacks

Weaknesses: Weaknesses are problems we have that are internal to Free Geek and harmful to achieving the objective. (Things we do poorly or not at all.)

  • We don't have a way to match people ourselves; it probably requires insurance
  • Transportation to Free Geek might be a problem for girls; timing might not work with school
  • Existing volunteers might be frustrated that we're taking up slots
  • It might create backup for production?
  • What happens for if someone misses a class?
(to Free Geek)

Opportunities: Opportunities are advantages we have that are external to Free Geek and helpful to achieving the objective. (Good things that will or could happen to us.)

  • This empowers women and girls, and it's a way to do our part in bringing in more females to the field of technology
  • Also has the potential to bring lots of good PR to Free Geek and its programs, as well as potential to work with other organizations

Threats: Threats are problems we have that are external to Free Geek and harmful to achieving the objective. (Bad things that will or could happen to us.)

  • We have to rely on other organizations for matching
  • According to Liane, there is a $60 fee for background checks that we would either have to ask mentors to complete or get some sort of funding for

See also Trends and Attributes | What do we want to do?



Girls2Geeks Application

Current Status

  • Proposal went out on January 27, 2010 and received very positive feedback!
  • Laurel and Caitlin have agreed to teach pre-build and build, respectively
  • Annie emailed Owen on February 17 about designing logo; he responded about potential logo draft by March 3rd and finalized by March 10
  • Brittany emailed BBBS NW on February 19; got a response on February 22 to set up meeting with Events Coordinator about summer camp idea and Regional Director for Washington and Clackamas counties about finding some Little Sisters.
  • Brittany and Annie met with Events Coordinator from BBBS NW on March 12, 2010; had a positive meeting but her worry was that it would be difficult to get pairs to commit for 10 weeks
  • Elizabeth WT and Meredith B expressed an interest in working on project with us! Met on March 27, 2010 at Lucky Lab and committed to contacting Girls Inc, Girl Scouts, tech magnet schools, Boys and Girls Club of Portland; decided we need an application to go with our materials

  • On April 14, 2010, Annie and Meredith met with Catherine, Executive Director of Girls, Inc
    • They would be a great fit because: 1) They already have a number of programs that have been in place and working with great results for a number of years, 2) they have a structure for mentors and mentoring programs that benefits both the women & girls involved & the community, 3) it would be really, really easy for them to fill 4-6 (or however many we can fit) paired spots WITH girls who are underprivileged and underrepresented (Catherine said she specifically was thinking of groups of Somali and Latina girls she knows).
    • Catherine told us she wants to make this year (2010-2011) the year to focus on opening the doors to technology to the girls they work with, as that's where the biggest income gap is in the working world. They already have a number of programs that deal specifically with this, and does a lot of outreach to charter schools (such as High Tech U and the Leadership & Entrepreneurship school). One is a mentoring program where young women and their mentors go and do learning service projects in places like Intel. There is another that works specifically with girls in Latina communities called SMART Chicas, a specified out-growth of the SMART program, geared towards getting those girls interested in careers in technology. She seemed to think that Girls2Geeks is the missing piece that could unite all of those programs with hands-on learning, mentoring, community and ally-building and community service.
    • They are totally on board our summer program as it stands now!

  • On April 16, 2010, Brittany and Elizabeth WT met with Alden, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Program Specialist at Girl Scouts of Oregon & SW Washington
    • Girl Scouts might have trouble doing a summer camp (not as much participation in summer), but a fall session would be doable
    • Camp could just be one component of a partnership with Girl Scouts
    • They have the structure in place to help an interested party become a mentor (for example, if we did inreach to current women volunteers, they could be role models to take smaller pairs through the adoption/build program)
    • They could also do group volunteering here to earn computers through the adoption program
    • We can also create a Girls2Geeks patch/badge for Girl Scouts to "virtually" earn (irrespective of their location/proximity to FG): for example, if they completed 6 of 10 activities related to Free Geek's mission (like giving presentations about e-waste to their school, etc)
    • Working together, we could really set the example for Girl Scouts and Free Geeks across the nation in the future

  • On May 19, Meredith, Annie, and Elizabeth WT met with Catherine Manalis, Executive Director of Girl's Inc., and Sarah Michaelis, Program Manager, to give the Girl's Inc team a tour of FreeGeek and finalize details for the first session of Girls2Geeks.
    • A calendar was finalized (see below).
    • Catherine committed to creating a partnership agreement that would outline the expectations and commitments of both organizations.

Girls2Geeks Summer 2010 Schedule

  • June 24th - Late Afternoon Hardware ID (Tour, Intro, Part 1 of Hardware ID)
  • July 1st - Late Afternoon Hardware ID (Part 2 of Hardware ID)
  • July 8th - Afternoon System Eval
  • July 15th - Afternoon System Eval
  • July 22nd - Afternoon Build Shift (QC)
  • July 29th - Afternoon Build Shift (Build)
  • August 5th - Afternoon Build Shift (Build)
  • August 12th - Afternoon Build Shift (Build)
  • August 19th - ADOPTION CLASS/ PARTY!

Next Steps

  • Incorporate feedback into our materials completed 2/9/10
  • Make a timeline for creating materials and contacting organizations
  • We need to go out and talk to organizations!
  • We need to finalize a schedule/dates with Girls, Inc.
  • Propose Girl Scouts / year-round to Kbees committee
  • Put Girls2Geeks on our website; find some sweet pictures of girls & computers
  • Meet with Owen about our logo
  • A month or more before the program starts, we need to develop girl-friendly teaching materials/curriculum
  • We'll need to block off dates when we find out what day of the week works best
  • We should develop a PR plan to propose to the committee
    • Ali said, "If possible, I would try to incorporate some kind of PR-esque component to this (more of a supplement to the project, really). By this I mean publicizing this project, both internally at FG and externally via press releases, website stuff, etc. This part could be accomplished by working with the PR committee and would serve two purposes: (1) make the girls feel even more awesome, and (2) promote FG as a female-friendly place."
    • PR opportunity: need to remember to get photo releases the day they show up. - Laurel

Revised Flow Charts for System Evaluation

Template: Yellow Lights Components List Girls 2 Geeks

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