SAN DIEGO, CA (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The digital divide is growing, and children are caught in the middle. Having a home computer can change a child’s entire future. Computers 2 Kids
There are more than 72 million children in the United States. 41 percent of these kids live in low-income families and nearly 60 percent of those children do not have a working computer in their home. That means these children are at a significant disadvantage compared to children with home computers. It impacts their education and their future success as adults. One organization is trying to change that one computer and one child at a time.
Teenager Yvonne Barragan said, “We would either have to go to the library to use the computer or wait for my parents to get home to drive us to our cousins house.”
Tammy Hershfield and her husband saw the need and started collecting computers for low-income kids 18 years ago.
Hershfield said, “It’s unconscionable to think that how could we not be providing computers to these children? We all know that you cannot compete in this world without a computer, period. We started asking our friends to give us computers and we set up a Costco table in our garage.”
In its first year, Computers 2 Kids gave out a hundred computers. This year, with help from large corporations like Loreal, that number is 36 thousand. When COVID-19 hit, the need became even greater.
“I think the entire planet realized that we needed electronics or technology, not just to educate our children, but to access resources,” said CEO Cheri Pierre. 19 staff members and a hundred volunteers refurbished 96-thousand computers during the pandemic.
“We put all new software so that when the device goes out, it’s all clean and registered to the new owner. We want to make sure that the licenses that you have on it are scrub clean,” said Pierre.
Just as important as a computer is internet access. One in three Americans don’t have broadband at home. That’s why Computers 2 Kids also partner with internet providers to provide free and discounted internet service. They also offer tech and educational support.
“We know our model works. We know that we can make a large imprint. We are hoping that in the future, other cities will adapt to our program. If everyone, everyone gave their computers, think of the impact that would make. It’s possible we can make the difference. Everybody just needs to pitch in,” said Hershfield.
In addition to Southern California, they also have programs in Arizona and Nevada and ship throughout the United States. They are also developing a new app with Stanford to allow any student in need across the United States to apply for a computer.
Computers 2 Kids believe that reuse is the new recycling. They try to find markets to reuse all electronics that cannot be used in their program: this includes reselling items on eBay and working with electronic resellers. 100% of the money from these sales goes back into refurbishing systems.
If you would like to find out more or learn how you can make a difference in your own community, log on to www.c2sdk.org
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.
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