Yesterday after weeks of preparing and community outreach, the day finally arrived for the first Google CS First game design class. This class was a big milestone for me personally because it was the first program here that I did all the outreach and volunteer recruitment for and to see it be successful made me feel like I was making a difference. Something I learned in my first year as an Americorps VISTA and something I am relearning now that I am in my second year, is how hard it is to see the effects of your hard work. VISTAs are all about capacity building and behind the scenes work so it is hard to get emotionally attached which is where I used to get my motivation from. It is where my passion to work for non-profits comes from.

My “office” here at the Exploratory is always moving which gives me a chance to see different programs going on around me, and to see a program that I nurtured to the best of my ability thrive before my very eyes was a very gratifying experience. I will think about that moment any time I get stuck in a rut with my work and remember that this work is all for a reason. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” If I can play a small part in changing the lives of the children of this community, I truly believe that one day they can go on to change the world.  

Our newest Maker Guilds volunteer, Shahan, facilitated this class. He walked in to the Exploratory wearing a furry panda hat and I knew he was going to do great with the kids. I have always thought the best people that work with kids have a little bit of “kid” inside them as well. The kids trickled in a couple at a time and soon the class began. This class was an introduction to the Scratch program and the types of if-then statements that can be used in the game. At the end of the class the students could share their progress with the rest of the class. It was awesome to see inside the creative minds of the children and what they can do with the program.