I began this adventure by accident. I thought I could do something nice for one person but had my eyes wrenched open and could now see a larger problem that really isn’t so evident. Who doesn’t own a computer? Senior citizens? That isn’t even so true anymore. My grandparents have a desktop, laptop and a tablet. Nobody shows up to work and talks to their coworkers about not having a computer. People don’t typically share when they are lacking something and technology has become so engrained in our daily lives, it’s hard to imagine other people without it. I have a hard time remembering what it was like not to have a computer myself.
At some point during my grade school career, teachers stopped accepting hand-written papers and required all final copies of our work be typed. I got very familiar with typewriters. Computers were very unaffordable when I was a kid. At this point in time, having a computer meant that you had a job that required you to have a computer. If not, you were spending a lot of money on another object to collect dust in your home. Having a computer also meant that you knew how to get a lot out of your computer, unlike today where many computer owners use less than 10% of their computer’s potential. Computers are just as much a life tool as they are a professional tool.
So, why am I offering to collect, fix, and distribute unwanted computers?
Times have changed. In my lifetime, computer usage has gone from super-specific tasks and training to a widely utilized form of getting things done. Most jobs involve computers. I know only a handful of businesses that don’t use computers in any way and sadly, that practice will die along with the people who do business that way. Computers are utilized from the highest all the way down to even the lowest positions at most companies in this country. Sooner or later everyone will have to know basic computer skills to get a job. Educators realize this and schools are starting to heavily integrate technology in the teaching process.
Technology is no longer limited to the school computer lab. iPads are beginning to replace textbooks. If your child misbehaves in the classroom, an email is sent to you immediately. Your child missed a day of class? The lessons and homework are available online. If you want to have a school’s schedule of events, you can simply subscribe to their calendar and all school events are imported into your personal, digital calendar. Sure, your child probably knows how to operate your phone better than you, but what kind of practical exposure to technology does your child get outside of school?
I am doing this because I don’t believe people should be left behind. My first computer opened a new world of possibilities for me. I learned how to use a computer in school but I never truly experienced computers until I actually owned one. Having a home computer can keep parents up-to-date on their child’s progress at school. It can give their child access to reources for school assignments. Computers can bring the classroom home for people who want an education but don’t have the time. Computers may not be a high priority for a struggling family, but it may provide the edge they need to start thriving. That is why I choose to do this. Many programs just like this exist all around the United States because it is worthwhile. Many intelligent people don’t live up to their potential just because they were never given a chance to grow. I want to give people that chance.