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By Angelica Stern - December 15, 2022

Recently, the scholars of HomeWorks Trenton had the opportunity to visit the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia to learn about engineering, technology, and more.

HomeWorks, Trenton’s first community-based after-school residential program, welcomes Black and Latinx girls from marginalized communities and offers transformational support and programs to enrich their lives. As an organization, they seek to supplement public education and forge the next generation of leaders in our community. Since its founding in 2016, The organization has provided a safe space where young girls can break down social injustices and transform their communities. So far, HomeWorks graduated its first scholar to Montclair State University on a full-ride scholarship, aiming for 100% of their future scholars to be accepted and attend a 4-year institution. The field trip to Comcast is one example of the wonderful opportunities the HomeWorks girls are afforded each year.

We had a chance to speak with Natalie Tung, Co-founder and Executive Director of HomeWorks Trenton. As she walked us through the scholars’ exciting trip, we couldn’t help but be inspired by the girls and their bright futures. Throughout the day, the scholars had the opportunity to explore the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia, PA. As a long-time supporter of HomeWorks, Comcast has provided the organization with funding, technology, and more, and now students have the opportunity to visit in person. During their trip, students learned more about coding and how these skills could be transferred to real-world career opportunities.

The day kicked off as the scholars explored the Universal Sphere, a cinematic experience from the minds of Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Animation, Universal Parks & Resorts, and Comcast Labs. Students could enjoy a presentation of “The Power of I,” a short film experience directed by Steven Spielberg. The inspirational film set the tone for the rest of the day, and the adventure continued as the scholars had the opportunity to connect with some of Comcast’s talented team of employees.

Employees who are part of the TECHWomen at Comcast group have volunteered to provide a series of coding classes to HomeWorks students and now is their opportunity to take those newfound skills to the next level. Scholars were taught how technology and coding can be used as a catalyst for job opportunities and real-world career applications. The scholars also networked with Comcast employees who are part of the Technology Product Experience team and members of Comcast’s Black Employee Network of engineers. Per Tung, “It’s so powerful for our scholars, who are all black and brown girls, to see themselves in these incredible Comcast team members who are coders, engineers, product managers, and more. Taking what they are learning from their coding classes and connecting it to what they were seeing in Philadelphia, and using it to envision their future was really powerful.”

TECHWomen at Comcast is a coalition of women and allies who wish to advance and elevate women in the workplace. Through their efforts, they continue to make the company more inclusive and champion diversity. The Black Engineers Group or “BENgineers” is a professional network of Black engineers who seek to promote diversity and create additional opportunities for Black talent in the workplace. Both of these talented groups of Comcast employees are a shining example of intersectionality and equity in the workplace. Together, the two affinity groups collaborated to teach the HomeWorks scholars about how product design can be used to forge a more accessible future for people all over the world.

As their exciting field trip came to a close, Comcast had one more surprise in store for the scholars. Each student and staff member were gifted with their own iPad Pro! As the students returned to town, they returned with some brand-new technology and a new insight into life. Students also got their moment in the spotlight as they were featured on NBC10 Philadelphia. You can check out the girls’ feature on the news below:

Reflecting on her experience with the girls that day, Tung noted “It was very, very powerful. I feel very grateful and touched to be able to see all the connections our scholars made with incredible women around the room. What we work on at HomeWorks is building our scholars’ confidence, and for them to be able to know that they can do what the Comcast employees are doing was truly inspiring. They can absolutely do that, and they’re fully capable of it. We were able to see them make those connections that day and see not only what is possible, but know that it is possible [for them]. It was a very magical experience for everyone there, and I feel very, very grateful and very proud of the scholars.”

Although the field trip came to a close, the lessons and memories that the scholars experienced that day will be cherished for a lifetime. Seeing the day-to-day applications of the lessons they’ve learned throughout the school year will no doubt serve as a source of inspiration for their future endeavors. If you’re interested in learning more about HomeWorks and their mission, you can check out their website here: HomeWorks – Home. The scholars of today are the innovators of tomorrow, so we cannot wait to see what fantastic things these girls do next.

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