'Tis the season of love and goodwill to men, and so we bring you the heartwarming story of 13-year-old William Barkoff and his 11-year-old brother, Benjamin.
These two kid coders helped 30 wounded veterans get the gift of a lifetime: a chance at a new career in IT as a programmer.
This is the latest project the boys have done in seven years of fund raising for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that helps veterans returning from war adjust to civilian life.
Through everything from lemonade stands, to giving up their holiday and birthday presents in lieu of donations, to organizing 5K races, the boys have raised $10,000 for the organization
, they told Business Insider.
So when William's 13 birthday and Bar Mitzvah was in sight, he once again asked his friends and relatives not to buy him gifts and instead to open their wallets wider and help him raise money for the latest idea: teaching vets how to code.
"For my 13th birthday, I wanted to do something to combine my two passions, supporting veterans and programming, so I emailed Code School," William told us.
His goal was to ask Code School for a package discount
When the folks at Code School heard the kids' request for discounts on coding classes for vets, they were delighted. And they one-upped their response and gave the boys 30 six-month subscriptions for free to be distributed to vets by Wounded Warriors career retraining program. Each 6-month subscription would normally cost about $170.
Benjamin and William BarkoffCorey Barkoff
Brothers Benjamin (left) and William Barkoff, philanthropists raising money for wounded vets
The boys were shocked and grateful for Code School's donation.
Tech startups have a long history of philanthropy and Code School didn't yet have a program for vets, but wanted one. They were blown away by these two young philanthropists.
Wanting to help even more vets learn to code, the boys also attended the annual Army-Navy football game earlier this month, and handed out free 30-day subscriptions to Code School to all the veterans they met.
William is sure that programming is a good new career for many of them.
"A lot of vets, when they come out of service, especially if they are injured, they can’t really get a job that’s very physical. With programming, you can code when you’re in bed," he says.
Accomplished coder at age 13
William says he knew "from his own experience" that you can code in bed. At age 13, William is already an accomplished web programmer. With his buddies, he's built a number of apps, including a Chrome browser extension for his school's homework site and an online appcalled PlanHub(still in beta) that acts as a homework organizer across all classes.
William and Benjamin BarkoffCorey Barkoff
William and Benjamin Barkoff, brothers and kid coders who enter hackathons and robotics competitions
He's also attended some hackathons and entered numerous robotics competitions, his mom, Corey Barkoff, tells us.
But William credits his younger brother, Ben, for starting their seven years of support for the Wounded Warrior Project.
....do you think these kids would become the next Bill Gates and Mark Zuckeberg?