Friday, June 2, 2017

April 2017 - PICS and TWINE


In April, the girls learned about a new tool called  TWINE. TWINE is an open source tool for non-linear story telling. What is non-linear storytelling? Basically, if you have ever read a choose your own adventure story in your youth, you know non-linear storytelling. It is a method of storytelling where the reader/player determines the outcome of the story through their choices in-game. The girls had a great time coming up with scenarios based on movies and their own imagination, then they had the task of creating each of the individual choices within the story and coding the connections between the choices. They also practice their knowledge of html to customize the color and size of the text.

Most the girls' stories were horror based stories with the protagonist making the right choices to stay alive, but some of them were interesting studies of interpersonal conflict resolution. For example, one of the stories gave the user choices on how they would handle it if a trusted friend told lies about them. Overall the girls really engaged with the material and enjoyed sharing and playing through each other's stories.

They also were able to learn about 3D scanning. 3D scanning has become more commonplace with the advent of full body motion recognition equipment being integrated into gaming stations such as the Nintendo Wii. The Kinect motion recognition device from the WII has been modified by enterprising coders and 3D designers to scan objects into 3D monitoring programs. With the addition of household 3D printing machines, the digital 3D models can then be printed into a replica of the scanned object. During the YWCA's workshop, the girls placed the objects they wished to scan on a spinning platform and had to figure out what lighting best allowed the scanner to function. They used clamp lights to manipulate the lighting to get the best result. They had a lot of fun sitting, spinning, and being scanned as well as scanning common objects they found in the room.

The girls began May in TechGyrls by participating in a "Do Something!" Campaign where they created positive messages of support for mosques around the country. "They like being ale to be of help to other people," said Program Coordinator Jomie Liu "They feel like they're in a position to help others."  This project also helped them flex their photo editing muscles by learning more about GIMP, a free online photo editing program, and work with layers.

The girls also got to create some paper craft of popular characters, and even make their own using images from the internet.

The girls also got the chance to do a bit more 3D design with the YWCA's 3D pens and 3D Software.  3D pens are an interesting tool for them to use because it requires them to be very precise and plan out what they are going to create as they go.  A 3D pen is basically something that looks like a bulkier version of an ordinary pen or a pencil, however, instead of using the traditional lead or ink that is used in pencils or pen, the 3D printing pen operates using plastic which the girls could use to build up to  create all kinds of objects. They also used some of the premade models and shapes to create their own objects and print them out.

ArtReach was, once again, a vital partner in the YWCA's art workshops during the month of April. Josue came by and taught the girls how to make pinhole cameras out of cardboard. The girls had not heard of them and thus had a lot of questions about these rudimentary cameras. What are they? How are they made? Josue explained that they are cameras that use a pinhole rather than a lens to focus the image onto photographic film or photographic paper on the surface opposite the pinhole where the image that the camera is pointing at is projected. This creates a photograph. The girls got to make their own cameras and go out into the field to take pictures with their newly made devices. They also had the chance to chat with Josue, who is a photographer by trade, about how he got started in photography, how he turned his interest into a career, and what other ways you can turn a passion for art into a career.

Also in April, the girls were able to learn to sculpt clay with Margaux and Molly from ArtReach. The idea was for them to think about what they would sculpt if their art was going to be displayed and where they would display it. It was a great chance for the girls to use their imagination and make things with their hands, as well as practice their painting by adding color to their sculptures after they dried.

Embroidery was the focus for artwork in May. The girls learned several different types of stitches from Sam and Julie and combined them to create word art, symbols, and other designs in pieces of fabric. The girls had a great time pick out the colors they would use and drawing out their designs before finally utilizing their newfound embroidery knowledge to finalize them.

And that's the end of the year for our Girls' Empowerment After School Program! Our Girls' Empowerment Summer Camp will be starting July 3rd and continue until July 28th, Monday- Friday from 9am - 6pm. For more information, head over to

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Catch up with YWCA Pasadena's After School Program - March 2017

Our Girls Empowerment After School Program once again partnered with the ArtReach in the month of April.

The girls collaborated with representatives from art center to brainstorm ideas for a new mural in Pasadena. First, they thought of ideas of what objects, concepts, and people are important to them. Then they looked at reference photos that they could use when they were creating their concept art. The representatives then took the art they created and they'll incorporate it into the finished design.

The girls also had a chance to create using clay! Each girl got to make their own personal clay project based on their favorite animals, characters, and more.

They were also able to create their own cardboard pinhole cameras. An ArtReach representative guided them in making them and then took them around the neighborhood to take pictures.

The YWCA also partnered with Planetary Society. The girls got to use a solar telescope , spectroscope. They also created and used their own DIY pinhole projectors so that they will be prepared to view the upcoming solar eclipse in August. They also learned about how scientists determine what elements exists on other planets.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Girls Empowerment in February

There were a lot of great activities to be had in February during our Girl's Empowerment After School programs.

Team building and cooperation are invaluable tools for the girls to learn early on. One way that we have them build up those skills are through games. The girls were tied together at the wrists and then tasked with creating a delicious bagel pizza snack for the day. They had to assign roles, coordinate their movements, and make sure that they had enough made for everyone to have the tasty snack.

Feb 2 - TechgyrlsFeb 2 - Techgyrls
Feb 2 - Techgyrls

We continued to develop this skill through a poetry activity. The girls worked as a group to create works of poetry line by line. The first participant started the poem off and each successive girl added her own spin to the poem .

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Participants were once again able to take a trip to the Apple Store for a workshop, this time on video production. They worked in groups to plan shoot and edit a video using iPads, Macs, and iMovie. They had free reign to decide what kind of video they wanted to make one was a documentary , one a thriller, and one a music video journey through the apple store. The girls really loved learning a new skill and had a lot of fun getting creative with their group videos.


For Valentine's Day the girls had a special project lined up. They incorporated LEDs into Valentine's Day cards and favors for their loved ones. They made flowers, pop-up cards, valentines, and others.

Valentines' Day LED FlowersValentines' Day LED FlowersValentines' Day LED FlowersValentines' Day LED FlowersValentines' Day LED Flowers

The girls also learned a simple way of transforming their cell phones into a Virtual Reality experience. They cut and assembled cardboard VR holders, fit the lenses into the viewers, and attached velcro fasteners to complete the base design. They then were able to decorate their holders with sequins, pom-poms, pictures, and anything else that they wanted to use to create their custom viewer.

Cardboard VR ViewerCardboard VR ViewerCardboard VR ViewerCardboard VR Viewer

Next month will bring more collaborations, new experiments, and great art projects.