By Sarah Yung
As June draws to a close, summer is kicking into full swing. The LAHS campus bustles with summer camp and summer school students, downtown Los Altos comes alive with farmers’ markets, and my little sister’s coding camp just got interesting. Rising seniors like myself ready themselves for the college application process, diving into research and essay-writing. For EqOpTech as well, the end of June brings a breath of vitality with a new set of volunteer interns.
This month, EqOpTech welcomed 22 volunteer interns to their ranks, including myself and my younger sister. The organization’s volunteer count increased greatly from the previous year, alongside its impact. Volunteers this year express interest in many areas, from computer refurbishing to digital marketing to grant proposal writing. EqOpTech also received more laptop donations this year and deployed more laptops to MVLA schools and neighboring communities like East Palo Alto and San Jose. The computer refurbishing program was EqOpTech’s founding project and one of its largest projects today. The influx of new recruits will support the organization’s increased activity.
In the last meeting, new volunteer interns watched a series of demos on refurbishing Chromebooks. They also met EqOpTech’s founder, Terence Lee, and a current intern, Nate Latif. This group learned about a variety of topics related to refurbishing computers - including installing Linux Ubuntu and power-washing Chromebooks. This is the first meeting of a two-part orientation that will educate interns on the refurbishing process. The next meeting will focus primarily on computer hardware. However, volunteer interns can already begin working with computer supplies - the first meeting finished with a supplies pick up.
My sister returned from orientation with a stack of Chromebooks, old and a little battered. The car ride home shook off most of the dust from the computer covers, but if you look closely, you can still find some dust collected in the little nooks by the hinges and around the keys. None of the computers turn on, sitting untouched for so long. That’s why she also has a charger neatly wound next to the computers. The computers perch on the corner of her desk as I write this, ready for a second life. Although she has little experience when it comes to computer refurbishing, EqOpTech provides a number of resources to guide new volunteer interns. Next meeting, she will bring in the refurbished computer supplies and they will be deployed to one of the schools EqOpTech works with.
Although new recruits came from different backgrounds in technology, they all approached the computer refurbishing project with enthusiasm. Terence Lee, the founder of EqOpTech, said they “were able to catch on relatively quickly [...]. This will allow them to explore other projects and/or step up and become mentors themselves.” EqOpTech encourages volunteer interns to learn and troubleshoot independently, building important critical thinking skills applicable in school and beyond. Maya Yung, a new recruit, says, “EqOpTech teaches you to be more independent so you can be a problem solver rather than immediately asking for help.”
As one of the new recruits, I am excited to dive into my projects. I see my lack of experience not as a disadvantage, but as an opportunity for growth. EqOpTech also enters a new stage of growth, with more volunteer interns than ever before. Senior members have the hefty task of guiding the many new volunteer interns. Integrating these new recruits into the organization will take EqOpTech to new heights. As June draws to a close, I look forward to helping EqOpTech flourish in July and beyond.
EqOpTech Inc., located in Los Altos, CA, is a 501(c)(3) IRS-designated tax exempt nonprofit organization that promotes and enables equal opportunity free access to technology for computer learning and STEM education in under-served communities. Visit EqOpTech at www.eqoptech.org