Its been a long, long time. I usually like to post during my lunch breaks at work. In that time I do all the little things that I really WANT to accomplish without detracting any time or focus away from the things I NEED to get done. Well, I’ve been so busy lately and it seems so incredibly easy to be busy and so very hard to not be busy. So, to explain myself and my lack of attention to this blog, here is what has been going on in the interim.
1. Computers. Lots of computers. I run a little project called The Eastside Vineyard Computer Pantry. The focus of this project is to collect donated computers, refurbish them to great working condition, then give them away. I have decided to turn my office at work into a computer lab, and so, I have been diagnosing and repairing computers on most of my lunch breaks. I have also been repairing computers for family and friends.
2. Tutoring. Yes, I know it is summer. I have a niece who is nearly complete with a summer algebra class and I have been her tutor. I have been diligently creating comprehensive notes for her to use on the final exam.
3. Planning an anniversary trip. 7 years of marriage to my wonderful wife. In previous years we have gone to some great places; Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, Chicago and so on. Every trip has been great. This year we decided to stay in Michigan and go do something a bit more fast-paced. I grew up participating in powersports so this year we are going to Silver Lake Sand Dunes. We are renting a dune buggy and I finally get to show my wife what I used to do on a regular basis. I’m also trying to convince her that taking my 4×4 pickup out on the dunes will be fun too! The trip is all planned and booked now!
4. Laying the groundwork for another project. I do this to myself all the time. I get a great idea and never really get it finished. I have too many great ideas and I get so excited for all of them. So, to combat this, I share my ideas with family and friends and do my best to write every aspect of the idea down. That way, I never lose the idea and can receive encouragement to finish the job. Most of these ideas I’ve had lately are intertwined so I definitely want to finish them!
So, for tomorrow…
I think I may switch the radio in my truck. Or…
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.
A few years ago, I helped a coworker do some computer work. I will admit it is something I did not want to do. At this point in my life I was very unhappy with my job, unhappy that I lost a good job, and so unhappy with the people I had to work with. I felt sorry for the guy, so I agreed to help him. He didn’t have anyway to pay for the work I did, which was fine. I didn’t want to be paid. Instead, he gave me all the extra computer parts he had. I played around with some of the parts and managed to make a working computer. It was fairly outdated and I had no use or room for an extra computer so I offered it up for free online. Within 12 hours I had over 100 people asking for that single computer.
More than 100 people, part of one, small online community in Macomb County, Michigan. I couldn’t believe it. Computers seem so commonplace. Who doesn’t have a computer? Apparently, many people. The reasons for needing a computer were mostly the same for the group seeking my solitary machine; education. People who are homeschooling, the jobless looking to become employable, parents who want their kids to keep up with their peers, and one grandparent taking care of a special needs child. It was difficult to just pick one person. Who am I to decide who is more deserving? I finally settled on a couple who uprooted their life in Georgia to come pastor a new Church in Marine City. I didn’t believe they were more deserving. I simply believed that one computer could make a larger impact that way.
Ever since that posting, I have had a project on my mind. A charitable effort to help people gain access to everyday technology. It has finally launched, in the form of a ministry. Partnering with The Eastside Vineyard Church, my home church, we are spreading the word and working to make an impact mainly for the sake of education.
To be continued…
For more information about The Eastside Vineyard Church, click here.
To know more about TEVC Computer Pantry, from The Eastside Vineyard website, click on “what we do” and then click on “computer pantry” or click here.
So, I had to redesign the logo to match up with the colors we use in the logo of our church. No big deal and I think I like this look better too. The news about this project is starting to spread around The Eastside Vineyard Church. I am so excited about the things we can do for others with the TEVC Computer Pantry!
In defense of my lack of recent posts, this picture should explain why I haven’t been posting. I usually post what I’m up to, recent photos, and my Lunch Hour Revolution posts. Instead, I’ve been spending my lunch breaks and blogging time working on this project; TEVC (The Eastside Vineyard Church) Computer Pantry. I’m hoping to launch it really soon but for now we have been doing all our legal research, outlining the process, creating documents, setting up contact info, and working on a website. Consider this a teaser. I will post all the details real soon!