By Daniel Lim, EqOpTech Intern
I’ve always wondered how people live without technology. How could I do my homework or study or organize events with my friends? In my life, technology is a necessity.
In fifth grade, I met a classmate who did not have access to a computer. He was assigned to our group to work on a Prezi presentation. My group would have daily Skype meetings at 7 p.m. to discuss the project and fine-tune the details, but he never joined us. He missed a big part of the discussion and couldn’t complete the project because he didn’t have a computer.
It was my first encounter with a person lacking a computer in the Silicon Valley, but unfortunately not my last. From then on, I knew I had to do something about it.
Three years ago, I met Terence Lee, founder of the nonprofit Equal Opportunity Technology (EqOpTech) at Los Altos High School. The organization redeploys old laptops to those in need. The idea is simple. Many businesses and families have older but fully functional computers that are collecting dust and eventually end up in landfills. EqOpTech scouts for donations of these older laptops, receiving hundreds from school districts, nextdoor neighbors and Silicon Valley technology companies, and refurbishes them to give to children from low-income families who do not have access to computers.
Thinking that this was a perfect opportunity to help, I joined EqOpTech as an intern in 2016. Since then, I have refurbished hundreds of donated laptops and organized a few laptop drives in Los Altos and Mountain View elementary schools, approaching principals and IT specialists for donations of their outdated Macbooks that were no longer in use. Recently, I led a campaign to refurbish 50 laptops for children in East Palo Alto, and we will soon be sending 50 more. Students can now do research and complete their online homework with the donated laptops.
Providing the technology is not enough. Teaching children how to use the technology and offering STEM education so that they can break the poverty cycle is the second pillar of our program.
EqOpTech has teamed up with Sunday Friends of San Jose to roll out and implement pilot STEM education workshops using the redeployed computers to access online educational programs such as Khan Academy and Scratch. Students attending the workshops are mentored by our EqOpTech high school volunteers, who developed personalized learning plans for them tailored to their STEM interests and needs. Students engaged in the workshops are rewarded with badges and have priority access to the dedicated laptops of the regular Sunday Friends program.
At-risk students at Sunday Friends also can also earn EqOpTech refurbished laptops after completing the Sunday Friends curriculum. Our goal is to help students develop a passion for lifelong learning with the technology tools to support it.
SANTA RITA LAPTOP DRIVE
Reusing technology gives disadvantaged children an equal opportunity to learn, compete and be successful in school. I ask you to join me to be part of the solution. If you have an older, functional laptop with a charger, please donate it to EqOpTech. Each donated laptop will be refurbished to its full functionality with a new operating system and removal of all personal data prior to redeployment.
Drop off laptops at Santa Rita School, 700 Los Altos Ave. in Los Altos, during school hours through May 31.
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
EqOpTech of Los Altos, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit donated 56 refurbished laptops to middle school students living in East Palo Alto, most of which have never owned a laptop before. The EqOpTech students-help-students program seeks to benefit needy students with technology tools and training to enhance their ability to excel academically. Since 2015, EqOpTech has launched a program to recycle, refurbish and redeploy unwanted laptops to support and teach the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) program benefiting underserved students in San Jose, Mountain View, Los Altos and East Palo Alto. Each of EqOpTech’s Macbooks have been refurbished to replace their outdated Mac OS software. Students will now have easy access to computers for home use to take online classes such as Khan Academy and collaborate with classmates in online homework and research. Read more here...
To help, please consider donating used, functioning laptops and drop off at Santa Rita Elementary School office (700 Los Altos Avenue, Los Altos) from now until May 31st, 2019 Monday to Friday from 8 to 4 pm. Please disable any password prior to donating. All donations are tax-deductible. Tax receipt will be provided upon request (e-mail email@example.com). Your tax deductible donation allows us to connect people and create partnerships around the communities.
EqOpTech, a Los Altos 501(c)(3) nonprofit, promotes and enables free, equal access to technology for computer learning and STEM education for students in need. We are seeking functioning laptops (Windows & Mac) with appropriate power adapters on an ongoing basis. Each laptop will be refurbished to its full functionality with operating system and removal of all personal data prior to redeployment. All donated laptops will be refurbished and redeployed to at risk students in Los Altos, Mountain View, San Jose and East Palo Alto.
To donate, please drop off at Santa Rita Elementary School office (700 Los Altos Avenue, Los Altos) Monday to Friday from 8 to 4 pm by May 31, 2019. Please disable any password prior to donating. All donations are tax-deductible. Tax receipt will be provided upon request (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) and will be e-mailed or mailed directly from EqOpTech Inc. Your tax deductible donation allows us to connect people and create partnerships around the communities.
Our Equal Opportunity Technology program is made possible thanks to Los Altos Community Foundation community grant award. Visit here for more information. We are most grateful to our partners, sponsors and donors for their continuing support and generous donations.
EqOpTech Inc. is an IRS-designated tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that enables free, equal opportunity learning via access to technology in under-served community. EqOpTech provides easy access to computer hardware, software, and mentor support in STEM education.
For more information, visit www.EqOpTech.org. Follow EqOpTech on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
Daily Point of Light Award is a program established by President George H.W. Bush during his presidency to spotlight volunteers in the U.S., and it has grown into a bipartisan organization that promotes and mobilizes volunteerism.
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“This is a win-win situation for both the environment and technology for education,” said Terence Lee, CEO and Founder of EqOpTech. “We look forward to continuing this laptop reuse program with IDT and other companies here in the Bay Area.”
Read more here.