Star Herald: Women learn website development skills together during ‘ladies night out’

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Family-friendly coworking space opens in PI

Lillie Lavado (right), web designer and developer, walks (from left) Gisele Clark, Minyi Shaw and Dianna Leighton through their first class on website coding Friday night during the first monthly Code Like A Mother monthly meeting at Hardscrabble Solutions in Presque Isle.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — When Lillie Lavado thought of hosting a special monthly coding night for women called “Code Like A Mother,” she did not just like the sound of the phrase. She also liked the idea of women coming together to learn new skills that many might not have had the courage to try on their own.

Lavado is a web designer and developer who operates UX Web and Design out of her family-friendly co-working space, Hardscrabble Solutions, on Main Street in Presque Isle. Since opening the space in 2017 Lavado has created programs in which people of all ages can learn about the basic web tools needed to master computer coding and create their own website. She held the first “Code Like A Mother” event on Friday, September 28 and plans to offer the meetings on the last Friday of every month.

Despite the event name any woman is welcome to attend the coding nights, though a play area is available at Hardscrabble Solutions for those who wish to bring children.

“I feel like there are a lot of women in this area who are either familiar with computer technology because of their work or who are less confident in their skills but want to learn,” Lavado said.

On Friday night a small but eager group of adult students listened to Lavado as she explained to them the process behind creating Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, and Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, the codes that are directly responsible for producing text and images that are published on the internet.

Lavado uses an online learning program called “Girl Develop It,” a nonprofit organization that provides classes for adult women interested in learning about web design and development. On Friday night she walked the women through the steps of using HTML and CSS to create and publish online content.

Many of the women who attended the first “Code Like A Mother” gathering expressed interest in meeting at Hardscrabble Solutions monthly and also learning more on their own and with the group members via Google Hangouts, a video conferencing site, throughout the month.

“Web coding was something I was interested in when I was younger but I haven’t had as much time to work on it as I got older,” Dianna Leighton, of Fort Fairfield, said. “I was surprised to learn how easy it actually is to get started.”
Gisele Clark also attended and saw the supportive group environment as a helpful way to help her learn new computer skills.

“I had always hit a wall when I tried coding before, so I’m hoping to now learn enough to create something of my own,” Clark said.

With the skills they gain, Lavado also hopes that more women embrace computer technology both professionally and personally and pass that knowledge on to the next generations.

“Women are the gatekeepers of knowledge for the next generation and when they share those skills, their children in turn can become passionate learners,” Lavado said.

Hardscrabble Solutions is located on 445 Main Street in Presque Isle and also offers regular Kidz Code classes and Family Code Nights, sensory playgrounds, marketing classes and weekday co-working space for individuals and companies.


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