If you were at Shasta EDC’s GameChangers 2013, you will have seen the Build It Redding booth. As their website shares, we offer “fun, innovative, and project oriented classes to children ages 6 to 18 in Shasta County. We empower children to master technology, nurture creativity, and live a limitless future.” It is all about opening up opportunities for our youth.

Visiting with Faye Hall last week to learn more about Build It Redding, (she and her husband, Dave Hall, are co-owners), she shared about her youth growing up in Shanghai. Hailing from a family of academics and engineers, she was encouraged to shake it up a bit and go to medical school. This, she did, for a couple of years but admitted her heart was not into it. It was when she took her first computer course that she had her AHA moment. She left medical school and never looked back. A whole new world was awaiting her.

Coming to the USA in 1991, Faye studied computer science at the University of Kansas. It was eye opening being able to focus on something she realized she’s hard wired to do. It struck her strongly how she could now see endless possibilities in her future. Before, she could not. Even before she graduated from college, she got a very good job with a small software company. That led to a job with Sprint and eventually she became one of the first 100 employees at eBay. The right doors were opening.

Roll it forward to 2013. Faye and Dave, with their young son and daughter, moved to Shasta County from Santa Cruz in 2012. They could live anywhere but chose Shasta County. They have quickly come to love it here and view the next decade in Shasta County as a vital one with so many positive things happening.

The Halls are entrepreneur minded which had everything to do with developing Build It Redding. As Faye stated at GameChangers, its beginnings are rooted in a child’s dream. That child is their son. He is keenly interested in computer science. If he had the dream they figured other children would, too.

In order to better understand how hard or easy it is for kids to learn code, I returned to a class held from 4-6pm on Thursday afternoon. The classroom was filled with students, Legos, and computers. They were paired off to build a robot out of Legos. The idea is to follow instructions on the computer and work together with a teammate to build the robot out of Legos provided. When the robot was far enough along, the students were able to see if it could follow the code they’d built into it by placing it on a road course on the floor. They make adjustments until the robot can follow the road course flawlessly which, in turn, teaches them code.

These kids were enthused and wide awake even towards the end of the class after they’d already had a long day! They were learning so much on many levels without knowing it. Painless learning of code!

The students in the class were a cross section coming together because of an interest. Just as kids meet on the soccer field who might not meet otherwise, they meet at Build It! Boys and girls interested can register for Build It classes online. Learn to code, have some fun, and create limitless dreams!

Classes Offered at Build It Redding: Lego Robotics, Computer Programming, MakerBox 3D Printing with Minecraft, Stop Motion Animation, In Depth Game Programming with Scratch, Birthday Parties. Visit their website or contact them for the full picture. You can find more, too, on Build It’s Facebook page and via Build It’s Vimeo page.

Steve Jobs said, “Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” Coding is an important language of the 21st century. Because children often learn languages easily, it’s a great time for them to learn coding.

ADULT CODING: Click here to learn about Code It Redding, a school the Halls are launching in early 2014 to teach coding to adults. Learning code is a door to good paying jobs. If interested, they’d love to hear from you.

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October 2013