In my city, there are usually tons of events that happen each day… Most I wouldn’t think about volunteering for, but when I got a request to volunteer at a coding meet I took the opportunity without much background information... all I knew is that there was going to be a speaker there.
At the event, there were many different types of code and programs being shown and reviewed, and myself not knowing much except for some good ol’ fashioned, (Actually pretty new), visual coding like Scratch decided to volunteer for the younger folks’ who wanted to learn code that way.After days of waiting, the day finally came. I knew Ali was speaking but I didn’t know what company he ran, so every minute getting closer to the place my mind started wandering more. I knew it was for a big company, but I didn’t know which.
When I stepped in the doors of the building I was surprised by the urgency and speed at which I had to move. The leader of the event, (Who I knew from the past), handed me my lanyard and said to stand beside the stage. The stage was empty, but at the other end of the room people started flooding in with their laptops, waiting to take notes or view what was about to happen.
People would come up to me and say “Hi”, or ask a few questions. I tried my best to answer all of them but some of the questions alluded me.
I briefly stepped into the hallway to meet with the other volunteers and ask a few questions myself, but when I stepped back into the auditorium I saw a man with curly hair start stepping up to the stage. I’ll be completely honest, I had no idea who this was at first, but when he said that he was the founder of code.org I was pretty astonished. I had heard of the company before and knew it was big, but I had little idea about what the company stood for.
It was a pleasant surprise when he started talking about his upbringing and why he started the company. I’ll try and say what I remembered, but it won't be exact as I can’t remember the details. He said he grew up in the middle east during war. He would hear bombs, gunshots, etc and was always looking for a mental escape, so when his father gave him a computer, Ali spent a lot of time on it. He eventually taught himself how to code and with the knowledge went on to become one of Silicon Valley’s top angel investors. I forget exactly how he got to America, but he and his brother eventually arrived. The brothers began to help companies grow to what they are today including Dropbox. They eventually created code.org, the site that teaches kids around the world how to program.
Ali continued to speak about his goals as a businessman and the company's goals, and when the speech was done I was surprised when he approached me and tried to start a conversation. We chat a little bit about coding and technology before I had to go to the Scratch room to do my volunteer work.
A lot of other stuff happened that day and I would be happy to share what happens next in another post! If you liked this or would like to see more, please comment below! Thanks for reading!