The About Us section of the site provides a comprehensive summary of BIY's approach, features, benefits and costs. We'd like to expand here on three areas of special interest to parents:
Build-It-Yourself is an enrichment program designed to foster the natural interest in art and technology that young boys and girls have. Its goal is to give your child a set of basic building and high-tech skills that will enhance their traditional educational experience and position them for the long term pursuit of high level academic and career success. We are building lifelong learners, as well as lifelong builders.
Most of these skills will be transferable to other areas of interest that your child may have. For example, each of our activities subtly stresses organizational, documentation and presentation skills - teaching and using MicroSoft PowerPoint as an essential tool. Our modular building approach allows kids to develop a sense that the solutions to any problem require a view of both the "big picture" and its component parts. Our program is also unique in its emphasis on art and creativity. We provide the tools and incentives for your child to draw on the creative juices that can separate them from the pack.
Besides specific technical skills, Build-It-Yourself strives to build both a social consciousness and socialization skills into each of its activities. The playful scenarios that kick off each Mission make children aware - in a non-political way - that technology can be used to solve large scale social problems. Many of our activities involve teamwork, all of our Homecasts and Workshops instill collaboration as a key component and our members develop a strong sense of community - a community that literally extends around the globe.
Our Homecasts are not canned videos, but are guided by live, highly engaged and motivated mentors, who are either graduates of or currently attending the top art and engineering universities in the country (and the world).
Finally, we never lose sight of the fact that extracurricular programs such as Build-It-Yourself must be fun and constantly encourage the engagement of the members. Our program is NOT school. The "pace" of learning is strictly determined by the participant and his or her level of interest and enjoyment. We have a program that can and has supported that interest and enjoyment through elementary school, through middle-school, through high-school (our Internship Program) and into the top college programs.
Participation in Build-It-Yourself is an investment in your child's future.
We are keenly aware that this may sound like the boiler-plate ciculation of a mandatory cliche, but we really believe it to be spot on. So let's look at the program in terms of value . . .
Build-It-Yourself is an extracurricular enrichment activity that is commensurate with pursuits such as youth sports programs (both individual and team), learning and playing a musical instrument, dance or martial arts instruction, etc. As a value proposition, however, we believe the Build-It-Yourself program is not only comparable to these alternatives, but clearly falls into the "best value" category.
An annual membership is just $19.00 and eight-week Homecast Missions cost as little as $7.50 per one-hour session. A full year of Homecasts (48) and annual dues is just $378.00 when purchased as a package.
Required equipment is minimal and available in most households - a high-speed internet connection and a PC or laptop equipped with a video camera and microphone. Basically, if you are able to Skype you will be able to use our simple video conference platform. The only software requirement beside a web browser is a copy of MicroSoft PowerPoint. Other software applications that we use in our programming and computer-oriented Missions are popular free or shareware applications readily available for download.
By the way, due to the fact that this extracurricular activity takes place in your home, one piece of equipment that's not required is a car. That's right, mom and dad . . . no driving to the next county for practice.
Build-It-Yourself's policies regarding safety are outlined in our Safety link, but we believe it's important to point out the emphasis we place on this aspect of our interaction with your children.
It is our view that children are precious and should always be treated with that view in mind. We consider ourselves in a partnership with parents, and will constantly work to earn and keep your trust and confidence.
Our concern for your children's safety extends to both their physical and psychological well being. Rules of the lab are strictly enforced, as are the rules of social interaction - in camp, workshops and Homecasts. Our workshop leaders are all incentivized to keep safety a top priority, and parents are invited and always welcome to oversee and/or participate directly in any of our Homecast or workshop sessions. Safe use of the internet is repeatedly reinforced.
Any communication with your child outside of the scheduled Homecasts is done via e-mail, sent to the e-mail address of the parent(s). A parent who chooses to provide a direct e-mail address for a child will be copied on any and all correspondence.
Parents with any questions (at any time) regarding either the spirit or application our safety policies are encouraged to contact us immediately through firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 617-547-9705.