News Column

Computers for Kids rehabs 1,000th machine for Brunswick County students

February 5, 2014

By Julian Workman, Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.



Feb. 05--On December 12, volunteers with Computers for Kids celebrated a major milestone: They slapped a sticker on their 1,000th rehabbed machine.

Computers for Kids is a nonprofit organization formed in 2006 with a vision to rejuvenate and recycle donated computers for Brunswick County students to use in their homes.

"I knew it was coming," says Jayne Mathews, volunteer director with the county's Department of Social Services. "And to be honest, I thought at some point in 2006, that this would be over, but it just doesn't work that way."

For the last eight years, seven men from all corners of Brunswick County have met weekly to refurbish desktop and laptop computers donated by local residents, churches, community groups, and businesses. The well-seasoned tech junkies share backgrounds in Information Technology to varying degrees. Some of their former employers include the IRS, Congress, IBM, AT&T, and the New York Public School System.

Computers for Kids is backed by the county government, and Brunswick County Schools has been involved since its conception. As a need-based program, individual schools and faculty are charged with selecting eligible students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The demand for revamped equipment has risen over the years.

"I remember back in 2006, we had about 32 computers go out," said Ron Batleman, a veteran volunteer.

Now, with more exposure and increased advertising, the group averages 100 computers a year.

Monetary donations keep the program afloat.

"I think that it's attractive to people because every penny they give goes to the project," Mathews said. "Everything goes for parts or rehabbing the computer."

The tech-savvy clan has a collective nurturing heart. They personally deliver every machine to the schools requesting them. They enjoy interacting with the students.

"I feel a great sense of accomplishment," Bruce Maxwell said. "Giving back to the community is the best part."

For information or to help, contact Jayne Mathews at jmathews@brunsco.net or 910-253-2574

Community News: 343-2364

On Twitter: @StarNewsOnline

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(c)2014 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)

Visit the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.) at www.starnewsonline.com

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Source: Star-News (Wilmington, NC)


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