A representative from OnlineEducation.net shared this graphic with us, and we thought our blog readers would also find it interesting. It’s so important to recycle, not just your plastic bags and food containers, but computers, too! You can find information on where to donate unwanted computers on Goodwill of Southwestern PA’s website
As our world becomes more tech-savvy, outdated devices are often thrown away. Many of these items have valuable components that can be recycled and reused for many years to come. This is why the e-waste management business is bigger than ever.
In a recent Earth911.com post, they say, “It’s not a glamorous business, but it is a growing one. The U.S. generates about 3 million tons of electronic waste annually, yet recycles just 15 percent. More states are expected to pass or strengthen e-waste laws – presently only 23 have one on the books – and the electronics industry recently stepped up its efforts, too, announcing plans to triple e-cycling rates by 2016. At the federal level, President Obama established an e-waste task force and legislators introduced a bill last fall to ban e-waste exports.”
Computer Reach relies on recycled computers and their components to donate functional machines to schools in need. However, many of the electronic devices in e-waste facilities go on to make much more than just computers.
At once facility, “once workers disassemble computer processing units (CPUs, the big blocks that sit under your desk), hard drives head to one part of the warehouse where they’re stripped of precious metals and sent through a type of warping/compacting machine that renders the data unreadable. (It’s a step beyond wiping the hard drive.) The remaining aluminum – 85 percent of the hard drive – is destined for new products such as car parts or furniture.”
Read the full post on Earth911.com.
We recently had the privilege of helping an academy in Ghana get up-to-date with some new laptops.
Here’s the story:
The Street Academy (www.thestreetacademy.webs.com) received 5 Linux Edubuntu laptops from ComputeReach and its partners at the very end of March 2012. This was possible thanks to the generous donation of our laptop sponsor, Mike Gable, as well as the hard work of the volunteers who refurbished the laptops. They were transported into Ghana from the US by way of carry-on luggage.
The Street Academy uses education, culture, and sports to expose the hidden talents of children living on the streets of Accra. All of our students are needy children who live in the most deprived neighborhoods. They learn dance, music, art, sports, and basic schooling. Our children go on to higher education, to start artisan workshops, and to play professional sports. The Street Academy began operations in November of 1986, and was registered in 1993. Find them at www.facebook.com/streetacademyaccra.
How the Laptops Are Used
Our 80 students are now taking computer lessons almost every day. We have scheduled computer lessons as an additional after-school activity (to take place after their normal after-school sports and cultural activities). The vast majority of them (>95%) have never used a computer before. Their excitement level over these computers though, is palpable, and they have a drive to learn that we sometimes wished they would display towards their other studies as well. And—as children—they learn fast.
Our children learn at vastly differing speeds. As we do not set a student’s grade level by age at the Street Academy, we have divided the students into three classes based on grade level: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, and Special Needs. Each class has between 20-30 students (if no student is absent), crowded around five laptops.
A Typical Lesson
The first lesson we teach focuses on computer basics. We outline and have the students try the basic mechanics of operating and viewing the machine (the same things you’ll often hear technical support ask you for: “Have you pressed the power button?”). We teach them about menu buttons, windows, and mouse control with one stroke by having the students open menus and programs and then move, minimize, and close those windows. We also talk about physical computer safety: no fighting, no food or drinks, keep a gentle hand, and no dropping.
While they’re still taking turns learning how to use the trackpads, we ask the students for how computers are used in daily life: writing, reading, gathering information, sending emails, and the always popular “games!” At this point, we set up our very first challenge: the first group to be able to find games could play until the last group found the games.
Next, we move to typing. One of our teachers types at 100 words/minute using KTouch with the keyboard covered by a cloth. It is an impressive feat for children, and all of the students want to be able to do the same. We teach them standard US keyboard fingerings. As this is (predictably) frustrating for the children, we set another challenge: the first child to be able to beat the teacher before a month was up would receive 50 GHS (about 30 USD). This is by far our most popular—even if impossible—challenge. (In the second lesson we distribute life-sized keyboard printouts with fingerings so students can practice even when they are not currently in front of one of our 5 laptops). We end the lesson by giving the students a lot of time to just explore the computer and practice typing if they want to, before showing them how to shut the computers down.
The last concept we teach our students during that first lesson is ownership. These laptops belong to them as a school community. They are responsible for the laptops’ safety, to learn how to use the laptops properly, to maintain the laptops, to watch out for the laptops whereabouts, and to pass them on to future students. The students always take to this lesson eagerly. Although we often have to ask 10 or more times to shut down their computers at the end of a lesson, they organize themselves to take care of putting the laptops away. Without being asked to, our students unplug the laptops, pack them into numbered cases, stack them, and wind up all power cables.
Check back next week for the rest of this inspiring story!
This is a picture of ComputeReach giving computers to our staff at an orphanage in Churachandpur, Manipur, India. It’s in the northeast corner of India, east of Bangladesh and just west of Myanmar.
From left to right is Don Vice from Lafayette, IN; Leslie Swensen of Churchill, PA; R. Sang, from India; R. Ruata, the superintendent of the orphanage; and Englian Valte, the supervisor of the children.
Thanks to all the hardworking volunteers and our partners in India for making this project such a success!
On April 19th, ComputeReach had the honor of being a finalist for the 2012 Jefferson Awards for Public Service. The six finalists were presented during the ceremony, and the winner became Pittsburgh’s nominee for the national Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis award.
Here’s some more information about the award:
In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard founded the American Institute for Public Service to establish a “Nobel Prize” for public and community service. The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to honor Americans who perform outstanding public service and inspire others to follow their example.
The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. National award recipients represent a “who’s who” of outstanding Americans, in- cluding past winners Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, former President Jimmy Carter, Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Thurgood Marshall, Barbara Bush, and Lance Armstrong.
But the most outstanding winners are the thousands of unsung heroes honored on the local level – those who feed the hungry, help the sick or give to the needy in our neighborhoods on a daily basis.
The… six finalists for the Most Outstanding Volunteer Award were selected from among 48 Jefferson Award honorees by a panel of representatives of the private and public sector. Tonight, they will be presented with a $1,000 grant given in their name to the nonprofit agency of their choice.
To view the full booklet, click here.
Congratulations to Lindsay Hargrove for winning the award and representing Pittsburgh in Washington D.C.!
Last Saturday, we rallied a team of three volunteers to refresh the OS9 iMac lab of eleven computers in the Hill District section of Pittsburgh.
To learn more about Wikipedia Selection for Schools, click here.
Here are some photos of the helpers:
Last night we attended the 17th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Month Awards and Appreciation Benefit, and were honored to receive the ‘Community Champion Award!’
Here are some pictures of the award:
And some of our information, featured in the event’s pamphlet:
When the goal for the day is getting enough food for the children in your care, the possibility of a computer purchase becomes distant or impossible. Years go by, children continue to fall behind in learning how to use computers in their daily lives.
This is not just a problem in the developing nations in Africa, Central America or Asia…these are problems of poverty right here in Western Pennsylvania, and in the city of Pittsburgh.
ComputeReach is connected to Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania and has successfully refurbished over 3300 computers for children’s educational needs.
Computers that were destined for landfills are now valuable tools in the hands of children who would otherwise be left out..and left far behind their peers in more fortunate financial and social lives.
ComputeReach relies on a dedicated and increasing group of volunteers from churches, schools, businesses and community groups to help us embark on strategic missions throughout our local communities every week.
We are working to bridge the digital divide between the child and the expensive technology by rallying over 160 volunteers who make this all happen….we are focused on a common vision—providing access to a broader world view one child at a time.
We’d like to thank Family Resources for this wonderful event and for going out of their way to recognize us!
In his vehicle named Arma De Instruccion Masiva, or Weapon Of Mass Instruction, Lemesoff drives around the towns and countryside giving free books to anybody who wants one. The Weapon Of Mass Instruction is an old military vehicle made to look like a tank, and the books sit on shelves that cover the vehicle. Anyone can come and grab a book, and that’s exactly what they do.
Lemesoff’s main goal is to promote literacy, peace, and understanding– but he’s also doing much more than that. All the books are donated, so he’s also helping to recycle and reduce waste by giving the books to people who will appreciate them.
Also, the symbolism of a tank makes quite a statement. Perhaps if every tank was made only to destroy illiteracy, the world would be a better place.
ComputeReach is a technology outreach mission primarily serving the communities of Pittsburgh, PA. We have also reached beyond our own neighborhoods into regions across the USA, such as the hurricane-torn Gulf states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
We also reach out internationally to places such as Malaysia, Africa, El Salvador and Nicaragua where second-hand computers are highly sought and appreciated. Please see our stories and check back often as more missions are completed.
Volunteers from the Pittsburgh area gather every week to fix hundreds of donated computers. Computers that still work are refurbished and immediately put into communities throughout Western PA. The computers that do not work are recycled responsibly to eliminate e-Waste.
ComputeReach relies on a dedicated and increasing group of volunteers from schools, churches, businesses and community groups to help us embark on strategic missions throughout our local communities every week. The volunteers separate the parts from de-manufactured computers, most often glass, metal and plastic, which are then sent to recyclers. We use a database-driven web site that can immediately print a comprehensive record about volunteers and how many hours they’ve worked. This is a useful tool for keeping track of community service or teacher-required volunteer hours.
Want to get involved? Visit our Volunteers page and simply fill in your contact information.