RailsBridge Workshops Donor FAQ
What is a RailsBridge workshop?
A typical workshop is 1.5 days, beginning with a Friday evening “Installfest” where we get all the necessary technologies installed on the students’ laptops, and a Saturday workshop focused on demystifying the topic at hand and building something the student can share, be it a static website, a simple Rails app, or a Ruby script that prints “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”
The attitude at a RailsBridge workshop is palpably encouraging for all levels of programmers. Every workshops sees students with a wide range of backgrounds, from professional developers and QA engineers interested in learning Rails to total novices working with the command line for the very first time. Workshop organizers, teachers and TAs all volunteer their time and expertise, creating an environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and asking questions.
How do the workshops make a difference?
The benefits of attending a workshop as a student are fairly self-evident: free training in a very in-demand technology, a welcoming and accepting environment, and the opportunity to connect with professional developers. For new programmers, the affirmation that students receive can be the difference between forever being intimidated by computers (or programmers themselves) and feeling confident enough to dive into tech. Many of the participants have experience programming or hold a CS degree but have dropped out of the field. A quick and practical introduction to a popular new language and framework can jumpstart a career shift.
Workshop students aren't the only ones learning, though. Seasoned developers join the RailsBridge community and learn to be more empathetic, deepen their knowledge of their craft, and importantly, challenge their subconscious preconceptions of what a programmer looks like.
Our process and curriculum are emphatically open source, so that we can create a distributed network of coders who value teaching and learners who become teachers. We are dedicated to doing whatever it takes so that the makers of technology are reflective of the people in our society.
Why does RailsBridge need sponsorship?
Accessibility is a chief priority for RailsBridge, and we’ve found that providing free food, drinks, supplies, and childcare allows our students and volunteers to fully commit to the task of learning and educating. Since our workshops do not charge tuition, we seek monetary and in-kind donations to cover those substantial costs.
In San Francisco, we’re fortunate to find most companies who host workshops are willing to also provide foods and drinks for the workshop as well. Our geographic expansion has increased the need for funds to support workshops in places where Ruby on Rails is less well-known by local businesses. Organizers in new communities are already busy recruiting volunteers and students — we want to take the challenge of fundraising off of their plates wherever possible.
How can I convince my [insert decision maker here] that my company/organization should support RailsBridge?
Supporting RailsBridge has the long-term benefit of contributing to increased diversity in tech (which leads to more productive and creative teams, for one). But supporting RailsBridge also has more immediate benefits, in particular, increasing your organization’s visibility within the Rails community. By sponsoring RailsBridge, you are publicly demonstrating to professional and future developers that your organization values diversity, openness, and excellence.
Okay, I’m convinced. Where do I send the check?
Individuals can contribute via PayPal. If your organization or company is interested in sponsoring, hosting, or organizing an event, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.