NBA’s Jarrett Allen visits 4-H coders


4-H participants in Brooklyn had a special visitor last month from NBA Star Jarrett Allen.

Allen, who has loved technology since he was a child, visited 4-Hers during a Code Your World activity, a 4-H program that teachers computer science. The event was featured on NBC’s Weekend Today news program.

“I want (these kids) to know that is a lot of opportunity out there for everybody, if you’re a kid, if you’re an adult,” he said on the news show. “Just take a passion that you love and spread it to other people, like I’m doing.”

Code Your World was last year’s 4-H National Youth Science Day project, designed to spark youth interest in computer science. More than 3,000 youth participated in the project – a four-part challenge that teaches kids ages 8 to 14 to apply computer science to the world around them through hands-on activities.

Code Your World was developed by Google and West Virginia University Extension Service. It includes a computer-based activity on Google’s CS First platform and three unplugged activities that bring coding to life through games and interaction.

As part of the program, Allen let kids “code” a basketball shot by letting them tell him how many steps to take in what direction and when to throw the ball.

“Caring adults like Jarrett Allen become role models for youth, inspiring them to explore new opportunities and expanding possibilities in fields like computer science and technology,” said Alexa Maille, a STEM Specialist with New York State 4-H Youth Development.

Allen said he has had technology in his hand ever since he can remember. When he was a sophomore in high school, he built his own computer by following YouTube videos and reading online forums. “I like it because it’s simple,” he told Weekend Today. “You connect a few things, and it either works or it doesn’t.”