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Hillsborough officials recognize International Day of the Girl

Hillsborough Township Mayor Frank DelCore stands alongside Code Ninjas Hillsborough owner Marisa Narula and her location's students at an Oct. 15 meeting in support of International Day of the Girl. Photo Courtesy of the Hillsborough Township Municipality

Members of the Hillsborough Township Committee recognized Oct. 11 as a day to support women.

At a meeting on Oct. 15, Mayor Frank DelCore and the committee members recognized Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl.

In support of the date, local business owner Marisa Narula of Code Ninjas Hillsborough was at the meeting to represent her business’s efforts in acknowledgement of the day.

Code Ninjas Hillsborough held its first “Girls and Women in STEM” event on Oct. 11, which was aimed to encourage and support females who dedicate their professional efforts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In 2012, International Day of the Girl was first declared by the United Nations (UN) as an International Observance Day with an intent to highlight and address the needs and challenges women may face, while promoting female empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

UN officials declared that adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated and healthy life, not only during their critical formative years, but also as they mature into women.

“We commend Code Ninjas Hillsborough for supporting this vital initiative,” DelCore said.

Following a presentation from the mayor, Narula shared the efforts her business has made in support of women, as well as the location’s success in doing so.

“We have really impressive young ladies that are there, and Hillsborough Code Ninjas is proud to have 3% more girls than the state and national average have as students,” Narula said. “We are working really hard to bring STEM awareness to help girls be encouraged, so that they, too, can have careers and represent in fields of [STEM].”

Code Ninjas Hillsborough was welcomed to the township earlier this year when the business hosted a June 29 grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its location at 649 Route 206 North, Suite 1C, in Hillsborough Centre.

The Hillsborough location is the first Code Ninjas center in Somerset County. Youths, ages 7-14, have the opportunity to visit the new center to learn how to code in a fun, safe and social learning environment, according to the business.

Code Ninjas aims to accomplish its goals with game-based curriculum made up of nine belts similar to martial arts. The curriculum is self-paced, but not self-taught; youths receive help and support from “code senseis” and fellow students as they advance from white to black belt.

The owners said the program seeks to keep youngsters motivated with little wins along the way, and “belt-up” celebrations where they receive color-coded wristbands to mark their graduation to the next level. By the time a child finishes the program, they will have created and published their own video game in the app store.

The business offers opportunities for youths to get involved, including a flexible drop-in membership program, weeknights and weekends, summer camps, scout workshops, parents night out, and other special events throughout the year.

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