On February 16, 2019, Lithuania celebrated its 101st birthday. As part of the celebration, the President of the Republic of Lithuania presented national awards to 39 Lithuanians for their great work servicing the country. Viktoras Gurgzdys, Vice President of Engineering at Devbridge, was one of the distinguished honorees. He accepted the award for Order for Merits to Lithuania in recognition of the company's great work accomplished through their "Sourcery For Kids" academy.
Viktoras is one of the visionaries behind the company’s “Sourcery For Kids” academy, the only free technology academy offered to children in Lithuania. “Sourcery For Kids” is the first and only academy that teaches kids age 7 to 12 about creative technologies so they can explore the world of programming. The program provides possibilities for children across the nation, especially those living in impoverished regions. The academy helps children with technological literacy, and in turn access to future career opportunities in IT.
Devbridge provides hundreds of kids with technological education opportunities in an effort to solve nation’s shortage in IT professionals. The company hopes to increase the number of people studying IT ten times over the next 10 years. This goal was approved and supported by Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite, who visited the academy this past summer. The President announced that she is adding the “Sourcery for Kids” to her national initiative for social security campaign for kids “Uz Saugia Lietuva.” As she explained, “It’s an incredible responsibility to take on this project to support the future of the kids’ literacy.”
– Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania
“I am very pleased and happy that a private company has taken on such a responsibility and for positive change. The youth, who have children of their own, understand the importance of having access to education in programming and IT sciences. I am pleased “Sourcery For Kids” has joined my initiative “Uz Saugia Lietuva”. Devbridge employees have a clear understanding of IT, the culture, and its importance. I am excited to work hand in hand with Devbridge for the future of our children."
Upon his acceptance of the award, Viktoras Gurgzdys announced that 416 children have already participated, another 100 kids had signed up for courses—plus the academy had expanded to two more cities in Lithuania (Alytus and Pasvalys).
– Viktoras Gurgzdys, Vice President of Engineering at Devbridge
“We keep investing in this initiative and trying to find ways to grow it throughout the nation. Our goal is to help guide kids in the right direction. We want to teach them that the time they spend on the computer can be used for creativity and learning, not just games. I believe that with the President's authority and support we can encourage the change in our society that is so necessary.”
The academy also seeks to change stereotypes—the perception that programming is tough and only for boys. “Sourcery For Kids” is open for all curious kids—both boys and girls—as long as they want to learn. Sessions are held throughout the year, on Saturdays. Kids are broken out into small groups (7 – 9 people). Each group spends 2-hours learning from experts who work at Devbridge.
The “Sourcery Academy” was founded in 2017, with first 200 students in Kaunas and Sakiai. Devbridge invested 50,000 euros. In 2018, the program doubled in size and spread through the regions of Lithuania. The academy has been recognized by The Kazickai Family Foundation with this partnership, Devbridge has been able to grow the program to 416 students and expand the offer to children in 5 different cities across Lithuania.