For 13 years Computers 4 Kids in West Sacramento, California has been recycling, refurbishing, and repairing computers. Through dedicated volunteer time and talent, they have distributed over 2000 computers. They became a PBDD partner in 2015. The photo is courtesy of Computers 4 Kids.
Maryanna Milton recently spoke with Kristin Winters because we were curious to hear how their work has been going. Very often smaller non-profits do tremendous work with very few resources and a few very motivated volunteers/part time staff. Computers 4 Kids is no exception.
Kristin, Computers 4 Kid’s Business Manager, explained that their mission is to focus on the local school districts in their community and provide free refurbished desktops for students to use in their homes. They also offer discounted computers to local community college students. Most of the computers they give out are about three years old and will probably last another three years or more.
Through the federal work study program at the local community college, students studying computer hardware can get hands-on training and experience refurbishing and repairing computers on-site. They have provided training to over 60 Computer Technicians so far.
Vincente Garcia received a free computer from Computers 4 Kids when he was a high school student. “Having access to a computer began to open up a whole new world for me that eventually led to applying for college.” He also applied for and worked as a Computer Technician at Computers 4 Kids for about 5 years. He still volunteers on a weekly basis. He now works as a technician at the Student Technology Help Desk at Sacramento City College – one of the places where they hire Federal Work Study techs from.
What’s really impressive is that they continue to offer repairs on units while the owner is still in school. This is a labor of love and respect for learning. They have repaired over 700 computers. Can you image how many screws and hours that involves?
They recently applied for, and received, a MAPPINGS grant from PBDD to attend their first Net Inclusion Conference.
Computers for Kids was founded in 2004 as a collaborative among local businesses, schools, a teen center and the county office of education. They were selected for the Civic Leadership Award for Community Values in 2007 given out by the Mayor. They are a Microsoft Authorized computer Refurbisher and load Windows OS onto their refurbished computers. Because of the increased need for adult digital literacy classes, Computers 4 Kids offered classes for adults at two local apartment building complexes. Participants also earned a free computer by attending classes. Over 150 computers were distributed through the Digital Literacy program.
All of this is done with a small, part time staff who work other jobs, several dedicated volunteers and very, very little money. Truly an impressive and inspiring community effort to support education and our environment. To learn more about them, please visit their website at: http://www.c4kca.org
– Maryanna Milton, VP Partners Bridging the Digital Divide