There is nothing like energetic conversation of motivated people to help pull me back into focus. For the last month or two, I’ve sometimes found it hard to focus on increasing digital inclusion. There’s been so much to worry about in our society, trying to protect the rights and wellbeing of many people under assault, that staying upbeat can be difficult. The timing of Katherine’s and my personal trip to Texas was great. We escaped some of the cold Illinois February to enjoy Austin, Galveston Island, and Houston. The highlight came at the end of our trip, when we met with Mike Buckles of TechnoCycle and Megan Steckly of CompUDopt.
TechnoCycle is a for-profit electronics reuse and recycling company with a strong commitment to improving their community. For five years, TechnoCycle has given computers to every first grader at Berry Elementary, a school primarily serving economically disadvantaged students. Partnering with the school, TechnoCycle has provided over 600 students the opportunity to access technology that so many others take for granted. TechnoCycle’s partner profile gives details of their community outreach program.
Mike is eager to continue improving the program, keeping it fresh and exploring opportunities to partner with others and expand its reach. For us, it was the opportunity to learn more about this instance of a corporate giving model, to provide a fresh perspective on some questions he had, and to share the energy of a motivated businessman looking to have positive impact in his community.
Our second meeting was with Megan Steckly of CompUDopt, a Houston non-profit which focuses on putting computers in the hands of low-income Houston students. (The partner profile for CompUDopt will be coming in a month or two.) Operating from a building in a struggling neighborhood, CompUDopt has specific programs targeting elementary school, middle school, and high school students. Megan was very interested in hearing about the programs provided by our other partners across the country and had some great suggestions for upcoming white papers.
Meeting with these partners was a wonderful reminder of the value in sharing the stories and best practices of practitioners, and the strength that can be derived in remembering that there are many of us working toward digital inclusion, and that it is an important part of building the inclusive society that so many of us strive for.