Girls with power tools build their way to focus and calm

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Jessica DuLong

Published October 6, 2020

So much of our children’s world has gone virtual. Remote school, Zoom holidays and FaceTiming with friends may be keeping us safe from contagion but they’re leaving all of us — kids especially — hungry for the tangible.

What if there was a way to entice your teen or preteen girl away from her devices toward experiential learning that helped her feel “calm,” “proud,” “satisfied” and “useful,” as well as teaching her valuable life skills?

Katie Hughes has just the thing: building. Her Oregon-based nonprofit, Girls Build, has served nearly 1,400 girls, ages 8 to 14, over the past four years. The group teaches these kids to hammer, drill, pour concrete, solder, bend sheet metal, use wire and collaborate on a wide range of building experiments.