Orlando Magic player Aaron Gordon is no stranger to Silicon Valley.
Through his mom, Shelly Davis Gordon–who worked in the industry for various high-profile companies over three decades–Aaron practically grew up immersed in tech.
Gordon’s mother worked for chip maker Alera (which was previously acquired by Intel), and started a computer science after-school program to teach students how computers operate.
Now, the the fourth year power forward out of Arizona is following in his mom’s footsteps to launch CodeOrlando, a coding program for local youth with disadvantaged backgrounds.
“I just want kids from a not-so-great upbringing who are underprivileged to have the same opportunity that everybody else has,” said Gordon to the Orlando Sentinel. “I want them to not be cast aside because of the color of their skin or what they look like or if they don’t have both parents. I want everything to be equal and fair.”
CodeOrlando will use smartphone or tablet apps to build code that will program Sphero—a spherical robot—to teach students foundations of computer programming.
“It’s an opportunity for underprivileged kids to get a seat at the economic table,” Gordon said. “It can give a chance on what could be a promising career. It’s not just about getting a job but creating jobs or creating a business for themselves. There are too many white guys in tech.”
The summer program plans to operate out of the Academic Center for Excellence in Orlando serving 30 kids grades 8th to 12th beginning next year.