The Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr.2019
Sylvester Mobley is the founder and CEO of the youth tech education nonprofit, Coded by Kids. Through Coded by Kids, Sylvester works to increase access to tech education opportunities for those who are currently underrepresented in the tech industry.
he mission of Coded by Kids is to ensure that every child has the support, resources, and opportunities to build the next Google, Microsoft, or Facebook, regardless of what they look like or where they come from. Because of the dominant role technology plays in our society, Sylvester believes that building a tech industry that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable is one of the most pressing issues we face today.
Under Sylvester’s leadership, Coded by Kids has grown from an organization that served fewer than 15 children in o ne Philadelphia recreation center to serving more than 650 students in schools and community centers in three states. Since 2014, Coded by Kids has built a scalable model for youth tech education that provides students with intermediate- to advanced-level software development, data science, and user experience design skills.
ne of the differentiating aspects of the Coded by Kids model is that Sylvester is committed to ensuring that his students can use their tech skills to have a clear pathway out of poverty. It starts with building students’ confidence levels, helping them become more engaged in every level of school from elementary through college, and encouraging them to pursue careers in technology or to become tech entrepreneurs – no matter where they begin. Sylvester sets high expectations for himself and for his students.
Sylvester has received awards and recognitions for his work from multiple organizations, including the Philadelphia City Council, the Philadelphia Business Journal, The Philadelphia 76ers, Billy Penn, and Philadelphia Academies. Sylvester is a husband, a father of three, and a graduate of Temple University’s Fox School of Business. Having served for 12 years in three branches of the military – the Marines, Army and Air Force – Sylvester is a proud veteran of the war in Iraq. He is still inspired today by the Marine saying “No short cuts. No retreat. No surrender.”