Posts By :

David Jessup

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How can you help Reach Our Future during #GivingTuesdayCLT?


Digi-Bridge is proud to team up with 230+ other Charlotte nonprofits for the 2017 #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign.

Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesdayCLT is a day for the Charlotte community – families, businesses, students and others – to come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

Digi-Bridge’s goal is to raise $10,000 towards our Reach Our Future campaign, a yearlong initiative that will allow us to serve 1000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg scholars per year for the next three years with hands-on, 21st century learning opportunities.

We are excited to announce that both Tresata and OrthoCarolina Foundation have stepped up to ensure that your gift goes further! The organizations will be matching your gifts throughout the campaign. In the coming days, you’ll learn more about their gifts and how you can maximize your impact.

During #GivingTuesdayCLT, we hope that you will consider making a three-year commitment to help us continue to serve 21st century learners in Charlotte.

You can help Reach Our Future at Together, we will bridge the divide!


With gratitude,


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Our First Code-In for the Whole Family!


You asked. Digi-Bridge listened. Our team is very excited to invite each of you to our first ever Family Code-In! Together with Google Fiber, we are hosting a Code-In event for the whole family on Saturday, December 2nd, from 7-8:30 p.m., complete with music, food, a photo booth and STEAM challenges that will engage the whole family.

Fundamentally, the purpose of the Code-Ins has always been to create a support system around scholars and their interest in STEAM. The K-8 years are vital in growing and maintaining our scholars’ interest in these disciplines that are shaping our collective futures.

At this Code-In, we’ll be taking on a LEGO bridge-building challenge, creating animations with Scratch coding and building three-dimensional, symmetrical snowflakes.

We know that scholars engage – and stay engaged – when they’re inspired, supported, challenged and having fun. That’s what this #FamilyCodeIn is all about: not just building bridges or snowflakes, but building a lifetime of curiosity and learning.

Tickets are $10 per person and families of four or more pay $40. If you have any questions, please email

Come join us on Saturday, December 2nd for a family night out where creativity and code collide!

We can’t wait to see what you create together.



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Thanks for connecting with us at #TBT 3.0!

Friends of Digi-Bridge,

We had a totally tubular time last night at #TBT 3.0. A big thank you to all who joined us! We were so pleased to have spent the evening with you as we kicked off our Reach Our Future campaign.

At its core, Reach Our Future is about coming together as a community to ensure that the scholars who live here have access to the tools and opportunities they need to thrive and build a better tomorrow. We are so thankful to have the support of our community behind us in making this commitment.

We’re still going through the photos of all the rad 80’s outfits we saw. The winner of a brand new Amazon Echo will be determined by social voting, so head over to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so you can share and like photos from the event. Don’t forget to tag us @DigiBridgeUS and use our hashtag, #ReachOurFuture, so we’re sure to see you! Once we post an album with all of the photos, you will have one week to vote.

As we mentioned last night, the Reach Our Future campaign is about offering high-quality programming to all scholars in our community and strengthening our voice in rooms where policies are made. And we can’t do it without you.

We need your support to amplify our reach. Please share our campaign widely, encourage others to engage, and reach out to us if you have any other ideas about how we accelerate these efforts.

The scholars in this community are our scholars, and investing in them is investing in a future we all share.

We would love to have you join us on this journey. Let’s #ReachOurFuture!

With tremendous gratitude and anticipation,


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Today’s the Day for #TBT: Connect to Disconnect!

Dear Friends,

It’s almost time to “Throwback” with Digi-Bridge today from  6-8 pm at Queen Park Social. This is our chance to “Connect to Disconnect” in an effort to raise awareness about the digital divide.

It’s estimated that one third of Charlotte-Mecklenburg scholars do not have access to an internet-connected device at home. This reality requires all of us to consider how we might engage to support their future, because as a community, their future is ours.

Join us for beverages and light bites in a hip setting straight out of the 1980’s – the era that brought the Internet to life. Digi-Bridge encourages guests to dress for the decade (with a prize for best dressed), take part in some good ol’ fashioned conversation and networking, and experience what it’s like to be without access by tendering phones at the door. Don’t worry, you’ll get them back in time for a very special announcement at 7pm!

Tickets are limited so register now at

Please contact Zach McRae ( with any questions and follow us on social media for updates at @digibridgeus.

See you at #TBT!



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Connect to Disconnect at #TBT 3.0!

Dear Friends,

We at Digi-Bridge are excited to announce our third annual #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) event on Thursday, November 2nd from 6-8 p.m. with the theme of “Connect to Disconnect” in an effort to raise awareness about the digital divide. The event will take place at Queen Park Social in South End.

It’s estimated that one third of Charlotte-Mecklenburg scholars do not have access to an internet-connected device at home. This reality requires all of us to consider how we might engage to support their future, because as a community, their future is ours.

We’ll enjoy beverages and light bites in a hip setting straight out of the 1980’s – the era that brought the Internet to life. Digi-Bridge encourages guests to dress for the decade, take part in some good ol’ fashioned conversation and networking, and experience what it’s like to be without access by tendering phones at the door. Don’t worry, you’ll get them back in time for a very special announcement at 7pm!

Tickets are limited so get yours now at

Please contact Zach McRae ( with any questions and follow us on social media for updates at @digibridgeus.

See you at #TBT!


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Syncing at #STEAMSaturdays

Today, we’re launching #STEAMSaturdays across Charlotte. While I’m “in it,” I wanted to share a quick note with you.

This morning, I’m sitting at Briarwood School, powered by Arts and Science Council, as a cohort of scholars and their facilitators work through our “Moving With Muscles” Digi-Bin. Attendees are casually dressed, pop hits are playing in the background and participants are thinking critically about the challenge outlined.

When I introduced myself to the group of scholars, one said, and I quote, “Wow. We’re going to use technology here? I’m going to take advantage of that. You know at my house I have my email synced to all my devices.”

Having spent enough time around kids, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have his email synced to all of his devices, but I’m sure he’s heard an influential adult in his life make a similar statement.

Our scholars are sponges, seeking all opportunities to soak up new knowledge and skill. They imitate those they admire and will find success if given the time and opportunity to pursue it.

So, why not Saturday mornings? 90-minutes of unstructured time to explore, create and maybe even learn how to sync devices.

In year four, I’m filled with tremendous gratitude as I think about how you, our supporters, have committed to our most precious assets. During the 2017-18 academic year, we are on track to serve 1,000 scholars, with support from 28 educators, across five schools and three community centers.

Hot glue guns are coming out now, so I better jump in to lend a hand.



P.S.–Interested in visiting a #STEAMSaturdays site? Inbox me!

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STEAM Learning Through Hip Hop?


This summer has been full of new and exciting partnerships for Digi-Bridge. Today, I want to tell you about a particularly unique collaboration that I bet you wouldn’t expect: STEAM education and hip-hop.

Earlier this month, we were invited to be a part of The Intersection: A Conversation About Hip-Hop Culture and Education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American  Arts + Culture. Scholars and their families gathered for a performance and presentation by Jahi of PE 2.0, an artist with immense talent, experience and perspective on the importance of hip hop in learning about arts and culture.img_4867Led by #STEAMSaturdays facilitator Kia Moore, a room full of young music-loving scholars were able to take their learning into their own hands with our DJ Digi-Bin by exploring the math, listening and problem-solving skills that allow a DJ to do their job and keep the party going! Scholars learned some basics, then got to apply their mixing technique to their choice of today’s Billboard hits.

img_4856Next, a couple of talented young DJs from With These Handz DJ Academy allowed scholars to put these skills to the test and play their creations on a turntable for everyone to hear.

It was truly an exciting day of hands-on learning for everyone involved. We are so grateful to the Gantt Center for catalyzing this collaboration

Whether through creating your own music or creating your own robot, putting these kinds of experiences in the hands of Charlotte scholars is exactly what we strive to do. To learn more about how you can provide  21st century teaching and learning opportunities to all Charlotte scholars, head to and support us as we work to  #ActivateSummer.

Together, we will #bridgethedivide.


With tremendous gratitude,





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You Can #ActivateSummer for Charlotte Scholars!

Friends of Digi-Bridge-

Today, we are excited to launch our 2017 #ActivateSummer campaign. This year, our fundraising efforts will support our 2017-18 Robotics squads in the West and Northwest Corridors of Charlotte.

Last fall, we decided to form our very first Robotics squad at Allenbrook Elementary School, a Title I elementary school in our West Corridor. Under the direction of our Chief Academic Officer, Ms. Torie Leslie, our team spent Tuesday and Thursday afternoons working together to complete programming and robotics challenges.



The SWARM, Allenbrook’s FIRST LEGO League competitive team, represents an opportunity for scholars to participate in a highly-acclaimed and respected STEAM competition that teaches global awareness, teamwork, computer programming, structural development and design, character building and commitment. These 21st century skills will help scholars to become career conscious and college-ready!

Your support will help us extend programming and robotics to students like Harrison in 2017-18.

Harrison: a Leader in the Making
The SWARM was made for scholars like Harrison. He is intelligent, loves LEGOs, and is excited to be around a set of peers with a similar desire and mindset, so it was quite a surprise one afternoon when he came to tell his coach, Ms. Leslie, that he’d decided to quit the squad. He brought his friend with him for support to break the news. He admitted that the squad “stressed him out.” Between his homework, family responsibilities and his other organized commitments something had to go and he decided it was The SWARM. However, by the next practice Harrison was back with us and he explained that his Dad would not let him quit. He had committed to joining and he was to see it through.

It was never our intent to have scholars on the squad that didn’t want to be there, so Harrison sat down with Ms. Leslie and together they developed a plan to help him manage his time. Harrison is a natural programmer so we resolved that programming/coding would be his “area of expertise” on the squad, hoping to relieve his pressure around other areas of the competition that caused him anxiety. Each meeting started with social time, so he would use that to knock out one of his homework assignments to give him more time when he got home. His natural ability, now focused and growing, made him a leader on the team. When his coach would bring him a programming issue, he’d say “hmmm, let’s see” and this new attitude brought Ms. Leslie great pride and joy.
On the day of competition during the robot game challenge, when The SWARM’s team number was called to meet down on the competition floor, it was Harrison who lead the charge down the bleachers to face the challenge. At that moment, The SWARM was just like every other team, present and ready to compete. How many more Harrisons are out there who just need the opportunity to uncover their talent and the chance to showcase it? We’re willing to find them!


This summer, we are asking for your support to find and support as many scholars like Harrison as we can. Our schools are overflowing with talented young leaders and we are ready to engage them in efforts to #bridgethedivide!

Our goal to raise $5,000 will help to fund a robotics squad opportunity for up to thirty scholars with at least ten from that cohort earning the opportunity to compete. Our friends at Google Fiber have committed to matching donations up to that amount, which means you can help us raise a total of $10,000 for Digi-Bridge scholars! To make your contribution now, click here.

The SWARM has a slogan they created last year and I think it only fitting that I end with it today.

“We are a team!”

With gratitude,


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NAYGN and Digi-Bridge: Generating STEAM Together!


Partnership is a wonderful thing. When we had the pleasure of being introduced to Alyse Scurlock, a nuclear engineer with Duke Energy, we knew someone had connected the dots because of our mutual passion for STEAM education.

Thanks to Alyse and the support of Duke Energy, we have partnered with NAYGN (the North American Young Generation in Nuclear), a program filled with bright young scientists and engineers in the field of nuclear energy. The organization works to develop professionals who can become leadership figures that inspire others and inform the public about nuclear. This work aligns beautifully with our mission to prepare a generation of 21st century learners with STEAM education!


On Wednesday night (June 7th), we had the pleasure of joining the group at their img_4665conference dinner that brought together a group of regional scientists and engineers on the beautiful vista of the Duke Energy Center. The young scientists learned a little about what we do at Digi-Bridge and engaged with us throughout the evening in various activities that help us to serve K-8 scholars.

By the end of the night our table had two impressive stacks of paper, one was of the scientists’ favorite experiments that we could adapt for use in our Digi-Bin curriculum, the other was of heartfelt letters written to our scholars encouraging them to consider a pathway to a career in STEAM. The table also got a lot more colorful with the addition of donated LEGO sets! We were truly touched by the generosity of these STEAM professionals.

The next day we were invited to visit the Nuclear Takeover at Discovery Place. The NAYGN team had set up several stations with hands–on activities for the young visitors to explore the world of nuclear energy. From gamma radiation to circuitry to chain reactions, scholars were exploring and learning and having a blast.

We would like to thank Alyse, Duke Energy and NAYGN for this opportunity and for their commitment to the 21st century. Together, we will create pathways for our future scientists, technologists, engineers, artists and mathematicians. Let’s continue this work and #bridgethedivide!




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The Pathway Revealed


In order to bridge the digital divide, Digi-Bridge works to uncover and help create equitable pathways to careers in STEAM fields. Often, scholars begin on this pathway in middle school, where they’ve been assigned a counselor who helps them choose classes that fit their interests and aptitudes. This process continues into high school and college where a scholar chooses their major.

However, times are changing and as the need to fill STEAM careers is growing, we’ve found that the pathway to these jobs may not seem quite so straightforward to many scholars. It seems that the sooner we can help scholars realize their interests and aptitudes the more likely they are to keep moving towards them.

file_002As we work to create the opportunities for scholars to explore and experiment, we meet the most brilliant and capable STEAM professionals who share in our vision. These meet-ups turn into partnerships which turn into opportunities to expose our scholars to the pathway to STEAM careers.

One such partnership we’ve enjoyed has been with Lenora Crabtree, UNCC Biology Services/PhD student and Tiffany Bell, rising Junior Biology student at UNCC. These STEAM professionals brought an exciting chemical reactions lab to our #STEAMSaturdays scholars at Allenbrook Elementary School. Using Tiffany’s previous lab experiments and research, these scientists provided an exploration of the relationship between the oyster shells and changes of temperature and acidity in the surrounding water.

Lenora and Tiffany captivated our scholars both by effectively presenting the science at the level of the 4th and 5th graders, and by relating this change in the oyster’s world to a change in their own world, their neighborhoods and even their homes. I can’t think of a better way to outline the path to being a scientist than by bringing scientists from our local university directly to our scholars.file_001

Would you like to help us continue to provide opportunities like this for our Digi-Bridge scholars? Learn more about how you can help us #bridgethedivide by following us on social media (@DigiBridgeUS), and join us on June 17th at the Google Fiber Space for our Summer Daddy Daughter Code-In. This is another great opportunity to expose our young ladies to STEAM concepts and careers!

Click here to learn more about and register for Digi-Bridge courses and events.

Here’s to revealing the pathway for Charlotte scholars!