PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A nonprofit organization in Philadelphia teaches hundreds of kids, some as young as 8 years old, to code.
You can call Ashlei Perry a code coach.
"We're going to build a navigation bar from scratch," she says to the room. She guides Jack, Chase, Joshua, Paul and Micah during an HTML language lesson at the Marian Anderson Leisure Center in Philadelphia.
Micah Topche, eight, explained that in coding: "You can not just start typing, and then everything works as expected. You have to tag and put things in the tags. "
"I have children who have never written a single line before," Ashlei said, "and they fall headlong into a project."
Ashlei is a principal teacher at Coded by Kids, a non-profit organization that teaches programming to children in grades three through twelve.
"I learned how to create CSS and HTML tags," said Chase Hui, 8.
CEO Sylvester Mobley launched Coded for Kids five years ago. From the beginning, classes were free.
"It's intentional," Mobley said. "We want to make sure that there is no obstacle for young people to enter these areas."
Each week, Coded by Kids teaches 300 to 450 children, focusing on underserved or under-represented groups in the technology sector.
"If technology is the main driver of growth in your economy but you exclude large groups of people, you essentially exclude large groups of economic opportunities and growth," Mobley said.
The developer and owner of a company, Mjumbe Poe, is both a board member and a dedicated volunteer.
"To be interested in anything, you must first be exposed to it and have someone who will guide you through the first bumps," Mjumbe said.
"They tell us what to do and how," said 8-year-old Joshua Suota.
Paul Campbell, 10, is already thinking of a career: "Be a scientist and an encoder."
The same goes for Jack Aronson, 9 years old. "I like baseball a lot, but I probably will not do it, so I might want to do something around baseball, like maybe doing statistics or something like that," Jack said.
"You can dream it, you can build it and we want to push our students as far as possible," Ashlei said.
Some of the older students have become so good that they are now working on real Web development projects and are paid for at the Coded by Kids Web studio, Draft Studios.