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Community Foundation awards nearly $171K in grants

Community Foundation awards nearly $171K in grants

Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation plans to award a record-setting total of grants this year to local organizations that work directly with the area’s most vulnerable population.

Twenty-four organizations in Camden, McIntosh and Glynn counties will receive a total of $170,988 from the foundation’s Community Impact Grant initiative.

The initiative focuses on organizations that provide a variety of critical, innovative and effective services to at-risk youth and the adults who care for them.

This $170,988 amount represents the largest number and highest total of grants in the foundation’s history for the annual competitive grant program. The foundation budgeted $75,000 for 2022, and fundholders and friends contributed the remaining $95,988.

“Our comprehensive internal review process indicated that there were more qualified organizations providing critical services to this vulnerable population than we had budgeted for,” said Paul White, president and CEO of the foundation. “Many of our fundholders rely on us to help them maximize the impact of their philanthropy. When we reached out to our fundholders apprising them of this opportunity, they responded and the gap was covered in less than 48 hours.”

In addition to donor-advised and field of interest grant-making throughout the year, CCGF annually conducts a competitive grant cycle that targets specific areas of need and opportunity across the three-county region.

Strengthening the services and partnerships of local, not-for-profit service organizations is part of the foundation’s mission.

First-time awardees this year are Forward Brunswick in Glynn County, which plans to establish a Brunswick MathTalk Trail; the football academic program at Glynn Academy; the Ravens of Elijah Food Ministries in Camden County, which hosts a weekly drive-thru giveaway; the social services program offered by the Salvation Army in Glynn and McIntosh counties; and Seaside Summer Enrichment Programs in Glynn County.

Other awardees include the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, which plans to fund a literacy academy in McIntosh County; Camden House for a teen skills building program; and the Camden Community Family Center for a nurturing parenting program.

Awards will also go to Children In Action (CIA) Sports Club for a mobile outreach program and Barnabas Club, Coastal Outreach Soccer for an academy program, Communities in Schools for a workforce readiness program and floating site coordinator and CASA for training, security and virtual program software.

The Golden Isles Youth Orchestra plans to fund its e-music program. Hope 1312 Collective will put the grant toward its Chosen in Home Caregiver Coaching and Replanted Conference. Morningstar Children & Family Services will use grant funds for its supportive employment program.

Ferst Readers will use grant funds for childhood literacy programming. The Gathering Place will fund its college tour program. Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association plans to use the money for its Penguin Project program.

Other grant recipients are Safe Harbor Children’s Center, Social Opportunities and Active Recreation (SOAR) St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, St. Mary’s Little Theatre, STAR Foundation and YMCA of Coastal Georgia.

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COS alum continues serving as program mentor

COS alum continues serving as program mentor

One of Coastal Outreach Soccer’s first participants recently crossed the graduation stage and returned home with a college degree and a plan to continue supporting the program that’s lifted him up.

Jaelin Williams graduated in May from Fisk University with a degree in business management. While at Fisk, he played for the school’s collegiate soccer team.

He’s working now with Coastal Outreach Soccer as the program’s STEM director while looking forward to future opportunities to play soccer.

Williams is one of several COS alumni who’ve attended Fisk University, and he’s the second among the original group of COS players to graduate from college.

While injuries and COVID-19 created some interruptions in play opportunities at Fisk, Williams has also had the chance in recent years to play for the Bahamas men’s national team.

Reflecting on the past several years, Williams said he’s grown as both a player and leader. He’s excited to continue serving as a mentor for COS players.

“I know that it’s not just for me, but it’s basically paving the way for the younger COS players, showing them that we all grew up here, we all came up through this program and now this is one of the final results,” he said. “This is something that you can accomplish and achieve.”

As STEM director, Williams helps build some of COS’s academic programming, which is paired with soccer to create a holistic enrichment program for students.

COS was founded in 2004 with the goal of helping students graduate from high school and be prepared for future success. The program has grown and expanded over the years through community partnerships and donors but has maintained its core mission of serving students through athletics and academics.

Williams encouraged the community to continue supporting the program.

“It works,” he said.

His father, Shawn Williams, founder of COS and executive director for the program, said his son’s recent accomplishment is the kind of success that’s been envisioned for COS participants since the beginning.

“When we started this program in 2004, we were looking ahead to see how our interaction and development, giving young men a good support system, how that would impact their lives,” he said. “We had the goal of having them graduate from high school while giving them an opportunity to play collegiate soccer and then also ultimately attain their degree and reduce the cost of that education experience through academic and athletic scholarships.”

This is further evidence that the approach COS takes will lead to success for participants, he said.

“This is a moment for our program that we are very proud of,” Shawn Williams said. “The goals and missions are being fulfilled by these student athletes.”

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Coastal Outreach Soccer continues to be a beacon for the Isles

Coastal Outreach Soccer continues to be a beacon for the Isles

No sport has exploded in popularity in the last 30 years in America like soccer. What was once a sport squarely on the fringe of the mainstream has become on par with such staples as basketball and baseball. It hasn’t reached the levels of football — the American kind — in the United States, but its popularity continues to trend upwards.

The Golden Isles is among the places where the sport thrives. At the high school level, Glynn Academy and Frederica Academy’s boys and girls squads are routinely among the best in their classification, and Brunswick High is starting to develop the players needed to compete.

Then, of course, is Morgan Brian Gautrat. The Frederica alum dominated with the Knights, was a star at Virginia and a member of two U.S. World Cup champion teams. She’s currently a midfielder for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Even with a World Cup champion hailing from the Isles, it is possible that the biggest impact soccer has made on our community is in a nonprofit organization looking to help kids in need. That is what Coastal Outreach Soccer has done since it was started as an after-school program nearly 17 years ago. The organization has grown immensely, leading to moments like Thursday when it held a grand opening for a new futsal court in Perry Park. Futsal is a form of indoor soccer played between two teams of five.

Funding for the project came from a matching one-for-one grant through the Atlanta United Foundation’s Georgia 100 project. Atlanta United is among the most popular teams in Major League Soccer.

COS had to match the funds raised, collecting $100,000 for the project to go with $67,500 from the United. Raising that amount of money shows how much the community is behind the work COS is doing. Former Brunswick High football star and NFL defensive back Darius Slay is among the program’s biggest believers as he often donates his time and money to the cause.

Coastal Outreach Soccer isn’t just about soccer. The program also helps the athletes with their academic goals. The program’s athletes have a 100 percent graduation rate since 2014, with many receiving academic and athletic scholarships for college.

We are grateful for the work that COS founder and executive director Shawn Williams and all of the program’s volunteers have done to make this organization so successful. It has benefited the Isles in ways that are both visible, like the new court, and invisible, like making sure kids who might have slipped through the cracks graduate on time. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the organization and the soccer players it produces.

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Atlanta United Foundation opens inaugural GA 100 pitch Coastal Outreach Soccer in Brunswick, Georgia

Atlanta United Foundation opens inaugural GA 100 pitch with Coastal Outreach Soccer in Brunswick, Georgia

By Atlanta United Communications

BRUNSWICK, GA. —The Atlanta United Foundation opened the first mini-pitch of the GA 100 campaign in Brunswick, Georgia, on Thursday, which was granted to Coastal Outreach Soccer (COS), a nonprofit organization that provides academic and athletic programming to underserved youth in Brunswick and Glynn County in southeast Georgia. The mini-futsal court is set in Brunswick’s Perry Park and will benefit more than 300 students within COS’s program and the community at large.

GA 100 is a state-wide campaign, created by the Atlanta United Foundation and in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), with the goal of constructing up to 100 mini-pitches in underserved communities across Georgia leading into the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

“This is an exciting moment for the GA 100 campaign, Coastal Outreach Soccer and underserved youth across the state of Georgia,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “Opening the first mini-pitch in Brunswick embodies GA 100’s mission of improving access to the sport for underprivileged children, while also demonstrating the club’s commitment to reach out to all corners of the state. The Atlanta United Foundation and LISC continue working together to identify areas throughout Georgia in need of safe and reliable pitches, and we plan to open many more in 2022 and the years leading into the World Cup.”

Atlanta United players Brad Guzan, Thiago Almada, George Campbell and Machop Chol attended the grand opening, along with Brunswick city officials and NFL cornerback Darius Slay, a Brunswick-native and COS supporter. Atlanta United’s camps and clinics staff was on-site to facilitate drills and experience the new playing surface with students. The club’s street team also brought a matchday atmosphere to Brunswick with games and prizes for the students and members of the community in attendance. Each player received a soccer ball, futsal shoes and headphones donated by JLab Audio.

“We’ve already seen the positive effects of building this futsal court in the Brunswick community and Perry Park specifically,” said Shawn Williams, executive director of Coastal Outreach Soccer. “GA 100 has allowed children who live in this area the opportunity to develop their soccer, academic and leadership skills. This mini-pitch has also helped encourage the city government to renew its commitment to the community by dedicating resources to improve the appearance of the park. Within two weeks of starting activities on the futsal court, we’ve increased the number of young girls participating from one to 22.”

The futsal hardcourt is situated in Brunswick’s Perry Park and was constructed on a vacant tennis court. The pitch was built in the heart of a neighborhood that includes subsidized apartment complexes, public housing units and an elementary school with 96% of its student population receiving free or reduced lunch. The central location of the GA 100 pitch is within walking distance for many students, and it will benefit more than 300 kids from Brunswick and Glynn County that COS serves through its year-round after school programming in the areas of soccer, academics and leadership.

Since the start of construction on the GA 100 pitch, the city of Brunswick has commenced several more improvement projects in Perry Park. Parents and students from COS also helped volunteer during the construction of the new pitch.

Coastal Outreach Soccer was founded in 2004 and began as an in-house recreational level soccer program with 15 first generation soccer players and coaches. Today, COS serves hundreds of students, and its teams play at a competitive level against clubs with more resources and larger player pools. However, the program has achieved success on the field, winning the Georgia Recreation and Parks District titles in 2011 and 2012. Off the field, educational mentoring is the core of the program that helps players stay academically on-track and enables players to earn athletic scholarships after graduation.

The Atlanta United Foundation awarded $1.5 million to LISC to lead installation of the first 20 mini-pitches across the state. With this funding, LISC – the nation’s leading community development support organization – identified local, nonprofit and community-based agencies wishing to build or refurbish mini-pitch fields at schools, neighborhood parks and other recreation spaces in underserved Georgia neighborhoods. The local organizations receive financing and technical assistance to improve the quality and safety of mini-pitch fields in their communities. The organizations then oversee the construction, maintenance and programming of the fields.

The campaign, which kicked off in 2020, has made grants to 14 neighborhood organizations and has 16 mini-pitches now in development or completed.

The Atlanta United Foundation and LISC recently announced the newest recipients of grants for the GA 100 campaign and plans to announce the next round of grants this summer. Nonprofit organizations, along with schools and parks, can apply for a grant beginning April 1 by clicking here. To learn more about GA 100, visit

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FRONTLINE HEROES: Coastal Outreach Soccer

FRONTLINE HEROES: Coastal Outreach Soccer


COVID-19 has put the kibosh on most sports programs, but Coastal Outreach Soccer isn’t letting that get in the way of keeping kids physically and mentally active.

“We’re encouraging our kids as much as they can to focus on completing their assignments academically as well as getting them the resources they’re in need of to do that,” said Shawn Williams, executive director of the sports and academic mentoring program.

With schools shut down and a statewide social distancing mandate in effect, Williams said that means getting educational material and supplies, including laptops, home-delivered to children in the program.

“We are actually looking at starting some virtual STEM activities, purchasing kits that we’ll be able to give kids to do a virtual class with them,” Williams said. “What we’ve been looking at is what can we do to keep them engaged.”

Keeping kids active, both mentally and physically, is especially important when so many are cooped up inside.

Without an outlet, like the soccer team, to blow off some of their energy, Williams said Coastal Outreach Soccer is doing what it can.

“All our kids have been given some drills and stuff they can do at home,” Williams said. “We give them a soccer ball and a drill sheet so they can go out to the yard and do some drills each day.

“We’ve had some kids take videos of what they’re doing in their yard so we can share those with the teams and families to encourage them to keep active.”

The program has also taken up delivering food to families whose breadwinners are furloughed or laid off.

“Our program has always been about identifying the needs of our children and families, and making that adjustment to help them meet those needs,” Williams said.

The food was donated by local restaurants through the Meals to Heal program and Rich’s, while a lot of the money for school supplies came from an emergency charity fund to help local families dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Coastal Outreach Soccer is one of fourteen local nonprofit organizations that received a grant award in the first distribution from the Community Emergency Needs Fund,” said Virginia Brown, president and CEO of United Way of Coastal Georgia, which manages the fund along with the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation.

So far, $400,000 has been donated to the fund and $100,000 has been awarded to local groups to “provide basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, water, prescriptions, healthcare and transportation to work and medical care.”

For more information, visit

Coastal Outreach Soccer has also been involved in giving back to health care workers during these uncertain times. When Brunswick High alum and Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay donated 175 meals to Southeast Georgia Health System team members, it was Coastal Outreach Soccer who helped deliver the meals.

Slay has been involved with the program for years, hosting camps and providing support for the program.

The support that Coastal Outreach Soccer has gotten over the years has been put to great use.

The program was founded in 2004 as an after-school program aimed at underserved and low-income families. COS had 15 players at the time.

Since then, the organization has grown to support more than 200 children between the ages 4 and 18 years old. Their academic endeavors have as successful as the program’s athletic ones with a 100 percent graduation rate since 2014.

Visit for more information about the program or to make a donation.

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COS STEM: New Robotics Program

COS STEM: New Robotics Program

COS STEM program kickoff during the spring 2019 with computer coding program for COS 5th to 12th grade student athletes at the Big Play Center of Excellence. College of Coastal Georgia joined forces with COS to launch the second phase of the STEM program. The robotic program started on Dec 4th and will conclude in March. The third phase of the program will include exploration into the world of virtual reality.

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Morgan Brian The Champ is Here partners COS

Morgan Brian The Champ is Here partners COS

The Brunswick News

A two-time World Cup champion is coming back to the Golden Isles to help out a good cause.

Coastal Outreach Soccer, a program that provides after-school soccer and mentoring to area youth, is hosting a question and answer session with Frederica Academy alum and U.S. Women’s soccer star Morgan Brian on Dec. 6.

Brian will answer questions about her experience balancing academics and athletics and about representing the U.S. in two FIFA Women’s World Cups in 2015 and 2019.

The event is part of Coastal Outreach Soccer’s efforts to raise funds to earn a challenge grant from a generous donor who has pledged to match up to $30,000 raised by COS from other sources.

Go to to make a donation to the program and for reservations for the event. Reservations can also be made by emailing executive director Shawn Williams directly at

The event will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at 510 Gloucester Street in Brunswick.

COS has had a profound impact on the community since its inception. The program currently serves more than 200 children and teens between 4 and 18 years old.

COS targets underserved and low-income families and includes an academic mentoring component that is at the core of the program.

COS boasts a 100 percent graduation rate for the program since 2014 and has had several of its members go to college on academic and soccer scholarships.

Brian was a star in a variety of sports for the Knights, but made a name for herself on the pitch. Brian won numerous awards — two-time Gatorade Georgia Soccer Player of the Year, Gatorade National Female Athlete of the Year, Parade National Player of the Year, just to name a few — and helped lead Frederica to a few state soccer championships in the process while also playing for U.S. Women’s Soccer teams.

After Frederica Academy, Brian played collegiately at Virginia. She joined the top U.S. Women’s National Team after that and became a two-time World Cup champion.

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COS National Essay contest Winner

COS national essay contest winner

The Brunswick News

Jyniah Desameau’s participation in Coastal Outreach Soccer has given her more than skills on the soccer pitch. She’s also been given a support group that pushes her to be her best.
The Glynn Middle School student poured these sentiments into an essay submitted to a national contest this year. And over the summer, Desameau, 13, learned that out of several thousand essay entries, her submission was named a first place winner.

“I was surprised,” she said. “I was happy … I didn’t know how big it was or how serious it was.”

The essay contest is sponsored by the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King to create leaders and ensure all girls have access to sports.

The contest was open to middle school girls involved in sports programs. The essay question asked: “What inspires you to keep playing?”

Desameau wrote eloquently in her essay and clearly expressed her strong feelings for the COS program.

“Many people think when you’re playing a sport, you just show up to practice, play other teams and go home, but not at COS,” she wrote. “The bond at soccer is like family. …It’s easy to be able to build relationships and to be able to comfortably tell what’s on your mind. I trust all my coaches and can rely on them.”

Last year, when her mother died unexpectedly, Desameau found comfort in her family away from home at Coastal Outreach Soccer.

“I don’t really think about it because they keep me occupied,” she said.

Desameau is one of three national essay winners who will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City next month to attend the Women’s Sports Foundation’s “Salute to Women in Sports” gala.

“We didn’t know that this talent was there, her ability to write and be able to communicate in that way, to be able to express some things that she felt about the program,” said Shawn Williams, executive director of Coastal Outreach Soccer. “I think that was the thing that really touched us, not only myself but the other coaches that are here, just reading what she had wrote about how this program has made an impact in her life and how she sees it as a very important piece of her life as well.”

The event in New York will feature a red carpet walk, and Desameau will have a chance to meet some of the most well-known women in sports, including Billie Jean King.

“This event is attended by a lot of prominent women athletes,” Williams said. “… We’re looking forward to just that exposure, for her to see those role models.”

In her essay, Desameau wrote that there are three inspirations that keep her playing — her teammates, her improved academics and her respect for Williams, her coach.

“He showed me hard work pays off,” she said. “… And it pushes me to work harder, because I want to be successful like him.”

Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at or at 912-265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.

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COS Paulk Park Field Development

COS Paulk Park Field Development

The Brunswick News

Kids looking to play some sports, parents looking to learn about resources available to them or anyone looking for community fellowship is welcome to attend Coastal Outreach Soccer’s annual jamboree in Paulk Park later this month.

“We’ll have registration set up, we’ll play some small 3v3, 4v4 games,” said Shawn Williams, Coastal Outreach Soccer’s executive director. “Food will be available — the Omega Psi Phi fraternity has agreed to grill hotdogs and hamburgers for the kids and families that attend. And we’ll have something for everyone. It really becomes a day of fun for the entire family.”

In particular, Williams said he’s looking for more coaches as the soccer program expands to Paulk Park. No experience is necessary.

“We will have a coaching training to introduce them to our curriculum,” he said. “No experience in soccer necessary. It’s more finding people with a passion for helping the youth and impacting the community.”

Pursuing the program’s goal of improving the lives of young folks, the jamboree won’t be all about soccer, Williams said.

“What we’re looking to be able to do is bring resources into the Arco community and being able to engage the families,” Williams said. “The jamboree will serve as an introduction to Coastal Outreach Soccer and the partners we have as well, so not only the children but the entire family will know the services that’s available to them.”

Representatives for organizations dedicated to helping students academically will be on hand, as well as those that work with parents and families.

“We definitely want to do our best to engage the entire family,” Williams said. “We feel like it’s very important that we provide services to the entire family, so as the children grow the family unit can grow as well. If there are other nonprofit organizations that would like to set up a table to distribute information, they can contact us as well.”

Along with helping the youth in the area, Williams said he hopes Coastal Outreach Soccer can become an asset to the whole community.

“One of the things we’ve already done, we’ve already formed an Arco community advisory group,” he said. “School members, a person that grew up in the Arco community, the chairman of the NPA in that area. We’re looking for more people to serve on that to determine the needs of the community and to help get an action plan together to address the needs of the Arco community.”

Anyone who misses out on the jamboree can still sign up for the soccer program, Williams said.

“If they’re unable to make it, then we can email them an application,” he said. “We’re working with the school system to have them at Sterling and Jane Macon, so kids can pick them up from there as well.”

The jamboree is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 24 in Paulk Park, located at 3600 Wylly Ave. in Brunswick.

For more information, please email or call Williams at 912-266-1491.

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STEM: Computer Coding

STEM: Computer Coding

The Brunswick News

German Vargas described coding as “electronic Play-Doh” to the group of middle-school students.

The fun part, he told them, was that they could create anything their imaginations concocted if they used the right coding tools.

“You will be given all these different options, and from all those options you can do whatever you want to do,” said Vargas, assistant vice president for academic student engagement at the College of Coastal Georgia. “… You’re going to do this from scratch.”

Vargas then turned the lesson over to a group of College of Coastal Georgia students, who led the remainder of the coding instruction at the Big Play Center of Excellence, where Coastal Outreach Soccer runs its after-school academic programs.

The college students visited the after-school program many times this semester to teach coding through a partnership with the college’s Math and Engineering Club and Coastal Outreach Soccer.

“It’s been really fun. They’ve all responded really well,” said Julia Garner, a junior mathematics major who helped with the tutoring. “They’re all energetic and happy to learn, which is the best thing you can see out of any kind of student.”

The partnership with the college began with a conversation between Glynn County Schools administrators and Shawn Williams, the founder of Coastal Outreach Soccer.

Williams was seeking ways to create more STEM education opportunities in the community. When he asked for support, he said he received quick and eager assistance.

“We’re reinforcing what they’re learning in the classroom and taking that to another level of being able to problem solve and to engage,” he said.

Williams hopes to add robotics education this summer if grant funding comes through.

The students in the after-school program at the academic center also participate in the soccer program. Williams hopes that the students will learn to associate their love for soccer with the education opportunities they’re also receiving.

Coastal Outreach Soccer also added a book club for its girls this year that has been led by local female community leaders who can serve as mentors.

“Through the Women’s Sports Foundation, they sent us books to be able to engage our girls,” Williams said. “This was a national initiative for us to be able to start getting our young ladies involved in reading and also for them to see other athletes and to be able to read about the challenges that they’ve had to overcome and also the successes that they’ve had.”

The ultimate goal of Coastal Outreach Soccer, Williams said, is to help students reach graduation. The coding lessons and book club contribute to that greater purpose, he said.

“We are reinforcing that education is an important part of this program,” Williams said.

The coding lessons with the college students began with the basics and progressed to the point that the younger students were creating their own codes. Coding could open a trove of opportunities for the students, Vargas said.

“You can do so many things with coding that it’s going to be a skill that is going to be useful not only if they’re going into computer science but for any discipline that they’re going into,” he said.

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COS Book Club

COS Book Club

COS girls book club celebrating completion of their 1st book Kelly Clark “Inspire” pursuit of progress. 10 weeks of discussion and reflection writing was lead by amazing group of women Stacy Taylor, Tara Dixon and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. OUR TIME

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Bahamas National Team

Bahamas National Team

Jaelin Williams started playing with COS 2004.  Jaelin Williams earned his first cap with the Bahamas National Team in the Concacaf Nations League match versus Belize in September 2018. He will travel with the Bahamas National Team to Dominica in March to play in final 2018-19 Concacaf Nations League game. Jaelin is also one of five players from COS who plays soccer for Fisk University in Nashville TN.

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STEM program was kickoff with COS Student Athletes and college of Coastal Georgia Math and Engineering Club students. Computer Coding (Computer Science) touches every aspect of our daily lives: Facebook, Xbox, Cell Phones, Tablets, Cars, and thousand of Apps.

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