Each month, we recognize our top volunteer!

Brandon Fabré
Lydia Ignatova
Emily McPhie
Ami Patel
Chirag Singh
Jessica Shaw
Monsie Palabrica




Brandon Fabre is passionate about showing children the amazing possibilities of technology! This is why he jumped on the opportunity for STEMtors -- the Chapman University club of which he is secretary -- to partner with Code Open Sesame. Chapman STEMtors are dedicated to engaging children in STEM through hands-on activities, making them a perfect fit for Code Open Sesame. Brandon says, “Open Sesame Coding for Kids offers the opportunity of a lifetime to children who need it the most. Open Sesame volunteers visit shelters repeatedly and often work with the same children, allowing volunteers to build bonds with them. Over time, volunteers are able to see growth in the children, and children build friendships and become comfortable with the volunteers. This environment encourages children to spread their wings.” Brandon’s enthusiasm for preparing children for a modernized technical world is also also why he manages computer systems and teaches computer skills to children at Far Horizons Montessori School. Brandon is studying Data Analytics and enjoys spending time with friends and playing basketball in his free time. This month, we recognize Brandon’s awesome volunteering with our organization!

LYDIA IGNATOVA,   February 2019

LYDIA IGNATOVA, February 2019

Woodbridge sophomore Lydia Ignatova learned about Open Sesame through Irvine's High School Youth Action Team, and says that volunteering with it has been a very rewarding experience. “I try my best to get the children excited about coding and I think it's awesome when I'm able to because then they might want to pursue computer science in the future,” Lydia explains. She herself hopes to study computer science in college.

Lydia’s favorite thing about Code Open Sesame is that she is able to volunteer repeatedly at the same shelter because it allows her to “build a relationship with the kids.” In addition to volunteering, Lydia is active in Girls Who Code, Model United Nations, Symphonic Orchestra, and the Mu Alpha Theta club at her school. She works as a lifeguard, and enjoys ceramics and viola.

EMILY McPHIE ,  January 2019

EMILY McPHIE, January 2019

Long active in the “Tech for Good” space, Emily is a firm believer that learning computer science can be transformative for vulnerable children. Emily works as a Teaching Assistant in the Computer Science department at Washington University in St. Louis, where she studies Communication Design. Emily was named Graphic Design Artist of the Year in 2018 by The Orange County Register. She also enjoys playing trombone in the WashU Wind Ensemble, and her best claim to fame is a YouTube video that has garnered more than a million hits. Find Emily online at emcphie.com.

AMI PATEL ,  December 2018

AMI PATEL, December 2018

Ami is a senior at the University of California Irvine (UCI), double majoring in Business Information Management and Computer Science. Her hobbies are volleyball and calligraphy. Ami works at Panasonic Avionics as a Project Management Intern, and serves as the President of UCI’s Circle K, “the premier collegiate community service, leadership development, and friendship organization in the world.” Through UCI, Ami first heard about the opportunity to volunteer with Code Open Sesame, and we are grateful for her service.

This month we recognize the great service given by 16-year-old Chirag Singh, a junior at Troy High School. Chirag plans to study engineering and/or comp sci in college. In addition to programming, he enjoys soccer and debate. At Troy, he serves as a peer tutor, and will complete an engineering or computer science internship next summer. Regarding Code Open Sesame, Chirag says, “I am happy to be able to have an impact in this way and volunteering through this organization is something I would recommend to anyone.”

CHIRAG SINGH,   November 2018

CHIRAG SINGH, November 2018

JESSICA SHAW,   October 2018

JESSICA SHAW, October 2018

This month, we honor 15-year-old Jessica Shaw, a sophomore at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. Jessica enjoys playing violin, reading, and helping people. In college, she hopes to study business and psychology. Jessica has been an amazing volunteer since our first session in July of 2016, and says, “I would highly encourage any students to volunteer with Code Open Sesame. I've had a lot of fun and I've learned a lot about coding. It's a good way to give back to the community while also making friends with other teens.” Jessica also does track and field, orchestra, and swim coaching. She is a board member for the Eagles for CHOC club, a member of her school’s Red Cross Club, and an Ambassador for Santa Margarita.

This month, we honor 21-year-old Monsie Palabrica, a 4th year student at University of California, Irvine, studying Computer Science. We are so grateful for all she brings to this program! Monsie loves watching movies, listening to music, going to concerts, and attending hackathons. A friend told her about Code Open Sesame after she saw a post on the WICS Facebook page last summer, and Monsie has been a dedicated volunteer ever since. She is also a peer mentor for the school of ICS as UCI. Monsie says, “I have had so much fun volunteering with Code Open Sesame! The kids are so awesome to work with and I always enjoy my time with them. I can't wait to see what next year brings!”