Non-Profit to Recycle Computers for Kids

08/01/2020

A Denver-based non-profit called PCs for Kids is working with local businesses and educators to provide recycled, upgraded computers for Durango students who don’t have access to technology at home.

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WHEN THE PANDEMIC CLOSED DURANGO SCHOOLS IN MARCH, DISTRICT OFFICIALS ESTIMATED THAT MORE THAN A THOUSAND FAMILIES DIDN'T HAVE COMPUTER EQUIPMENT OR INTERNET ACCESS FOR STUDENTS TO CONTINUE THEIR STUDIES ONLINE. NOW, A COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP HOPES TO BRIDGE THAT DIGITAL DIVIDE WITH THE HELP OF A NATIONAL NON-PROFIT CALLED PCs FOR PEOPLE AND YOUR DONATION OF ANY UNWANTED COMPUTERS THAT MAY BE GATHERING DUST IN YOUR CLOSET. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY ALPINE BANK, MEMBER F D I C. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. MORE THAN 400 KIDS WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS ONLINE INSTRUCTION THIS YEAR THANKS TO A COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP THAT WILL DISTRIBUTE RECYCLED AND UPDATED COMPUTERS TO STUDENTS ON AUGUST 6TH. EARLIER THIS WINTER, ALPINE BANK UPGRADED ITS TECHNOLOGY SYSTEM AND HAD MORE THAN 400 COMPUTERS THAT HAD TO BE CLEANED OF DATA AND DISPOSED. AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME, BANK TECHNOLOGY OFFICIALS ATTENDED A CONFERENCE CALLED INVESTMENT CONNECTION, WHERE THEY MET REPRESENTATIVES FROM PCs FOR PEOPLE, A MINNESOTA-BASED NON-PROFIT THAT REFURBISHES UNWANTED COMPUTERS AND REDISTRIBUTES THEM TO LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS. A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE WAS BORN.WOW, WHAT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO TRY TO GET PCs IN THESE HOMES, SPECIFICALLY, YOUTH, AND TRY TO HELP PROMOTE THEIR, UH, EDUCATION THROUGH THESE RATHER CHALLENGING TIMES. CAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH COVID-19. I DON'T KNOW THAT ANYONE DOES, BUT YOU KNOW, HAVING THE ACCESS TO ALL THE OTHER RESOURCES THAT MANY OF US TAKE FOR GRANTED, IT WOULD JUST SEEM SO CRITICAL, UM, TO HELP WITH, UH, KEEPING OUR YOUTH EDUCATED.PCs FOR PEOPLE WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1998 BY A SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER AND TECH-INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL IN ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, TO REDIRECT UNWANTED COMPUTERS FROM LANDFILLS TO LOW-INCOME FAMILIES WHO OTHERWISE COULDN'T AFFORD THE TECHNOLOGY.THE MODEL IS TO WORK WITH LOCAL COMPANIES THAT PROVIDE THEIR RETIRED AND SURPLUS COMPUTERS, AND WE PROVIDE NO-COST RECYCLING SERVICES TO THOSE COMPANIES. AND WE LOOK TO THEN UPGRADE THOSE COMPUTERS TO THEN GO BACK TO LOW-INCOME AND MODERATE-INCOME FAMILIES OR TO OTHER NONPROFITS. AND WE'RE A MICROSOFT-REGISTERED REFURBISHER, WHICH ALLOWS US TO PUT NEW SOFTWARE ON THOSE COMPUTERS FROM MICROSOFT.WHEN ALPINE BANK APPROACHED THE NON-PROFIT'S DENVER OFFICE ABOUT RECYCLING ITS COMPUTERS FOR DURANGO SCHOOLS, THE BANK ORGANIZED A COMMUNITY TEAM TO RAISE MONEY AND IDENTIFY FAMILIES IN NEED. AND DISTRICT OFFICIALS ESTIMATE MORE THAN A THOUSAND FAMILIES COULD USE THE HELP BASED ON WHAT THEY EXPERIENCED WHEN SCHOOLS CLOSED IN MARCH. THAT'S WHEN THE DISTRICT LENT 500 CHROMEBOOK LAPTOPS TO FAMILIES AND ANOTHER 600 FAMILIES WHO HAD LIMITED ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY PICKED UP PAPER MATERIALS FROM THE SCHOOLS. MORE THAN 400 FAMILIES ARE EXPECTED TO PICK UP A RECYCLED COMPUTER ON AUGUST 6TH. FAMILIES WILL RECEIVE A DESKTOP COMPUTER WITH A 19-INCH FLAT SREEN, AN INTEL I 3 OR MORE POWERFUL PROCESSOR, A WEB CAMERA, WINDOWS 10 OPERATING SYSTEM, A WIFI ADAPTER, A 90-DAY WARRANTY, COMPUTER LITERACY TRAINING, ONE YEAR OF TECH SUPPORT AND ACCESS TO DISCOUNTED INTERNET SERVICES. COST TO EACH FAMILY IS 20 DOLLARS, AND NEED-BASED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE ALSO WILL BE AVAILABLE. TO OFFSET THE 40 THOUSAND DOLLAR COST OF RECYCLING THE COMPUTERS, THE COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP IS SEEKING DONATIONS FROM AREA BUSINESSES AND CIVIC GROUPS. IN ADDITION TO THE COMPUTERS, ALPINE BANK CONTRIBUTED THE LEAD DONATION.THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY. THERE'S, UNFORTUNATELY, A DIGITAL DIVIDE IN OUR COUNTRY. AND THEN YOU JUST LOOK LOCALLY HERE AND THOSE BIG, BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAINS CREATE BARRIERS FOR SOME OF OUR STUDENTS WITH INTERNET ACCESS. AND SO PART OF THE CONVERSATION THAT WE'RE ABLE TO ADDRESS IS THAT DEVICE AT HOME, AND DURING THE, THE COVID CRISIS, WHEN WE SHIFTED FROM IN-PERSON LEARNING TO REMOTE LEARNING DURING SPRING BREAK, WE WERE ABLE TO PROVIDE FAMILIES WITH ABOUT 500 CHROMEBOOKS, AND THAT ALLOWED THEM TO MOVE FORWARD, CONTINUE TO STAY ENGAGED WITH THEIR CLASSES AND THEIR TEACHERS. AND, WE'RE NOW SEEING THAT, HOWEVER THE FALL LOOKS, BEING ABLE TO SUPPORT THAT THROUGH PRIVATE AND NONPROFIT EFFORTS ARE REALLY GONNA BE INSTRUMENTAL IN OUR EFFORTS MOVING FORWARD. AS PART OF THE COMPUTER REDISTRIBUTION PROJECT, A FREE COMMUNITY ELECTRONIC RECYCLING EVENT WILL BE HELD FOR BOTH BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS. PERSONAL COMPUTERS MAY BE DROPPED OFF BETWEEN 1 AND 5 P.M. ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 6TH, AT DURANGO HIGH SCHOOL. ONLY COMPUTERS, LAPTOPS, AND TABLETS WILL BE ACCEPTED FROM INDIVIDUALS. PCs FOR PEOPLE WILL PICK UP BUSINESS COMPUTERS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 7TH. A 15-COMPUTER MINIMUM IS REQUIRED FOR PICKUP. THE COMPUTER DISTRIBUTION PARTNERSHIP INCLUDES THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF LA PLATA COUNTY, UNITED WAY OF SOUTHWEST COLORADO, THE DURANGO EDUCATION FOUNDATION AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT. FOR INFORMATION OR TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT, CONTACT PCs FOR PEOPLE A RECYCLE AT PCs FOR PEOPLE DOT ORG. THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS EDITION OF THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE.

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