refurbished computers

Refurbished Computers Program Development

VISTA Name: 
Jesse Schofield
Program Start: 
3/2008
Program End: 
7/2008
Project Description: 

Jesse assisted with the training of teachers and student in the refurbishing of computers. Jesse also recruited volunteers to assist with computer refurbishing. He introduced them to our program and made them aware of our procedures. He supported a program called TAP where we have trained Teachers to run after school clubs dealing with computer refurbishing. He also researched material to assist the teachers with technical assistance workshops. Jesse also assisted the manager with the general running of the office.

Project Outcome: 

Jesse was very successful dealing with the teachers and the students. He is very personable and patient with students. Jesse compiled a list of Internet Service Providers for the schools in the TAP program. He also researched organizations who may be able to provided assistance in the local areas. He also assisted with the planning and running of a camp for teachers and students which was held in July of this year.

Jesse was able to arrange for a Spanish translation of a training manual. This is important as we serve many Hispanic people.

Outreach Coordinator

Organization: 
HandyCapable Network, Inc.
VISTA Name: 
Anna Simanovich
Program Start: 
8/2007
Program End: 
8/2008
Project Description: 

HandyCapable Network (HCN)was started as a project of Arc of North Carolina Housing Development Services. The project started by establishing Computer Learning Centers (CLCs) for developmentally disabled adults. Four years later, HCN and local partner agencies, have established 22 centers in central North Carolina that serve adults with a broad spectrum of disabilities.

In addition, HCN provides computers and technical support for nonprofits for their administrative computers. We work together with NetCorps who will help an organization plan their technology needs. HCN supplies and sets up computers and office networking.

The HCN Americorps/Vista volunteer will have these responsibilities that will build the capacity of HCN to support the centers it has established for partner agencies, and to provide refurbished computers to disenfranchised populations. A key focus will be activities to maintain an incoming flow of donated computers and distribution of refurbished computers to end users, as well as resource development to cover refurbishing costs.

Marketing
1. Develop partnerships to receive donations of computers for refurbishing.
2. Develop ways to distribute computers beyond the needs of new CLCs established by HCN. For instance, building on current relationships with social service non-profits to put computers in homes of low-income families; explore computers for after school programs; provide computers for non-profit office use.
3.Develop a marketing and public relations plan and implement the plan toward the goals of community awareness, gaining financial support and computer donations. Plan to include print, radio, tv media, and website and other online options.
4. Develop or revise marketing materials to support both of these efforts including: 1) letters to potential computer donors; 2) Project description/brochure; 3) Edit and distribute two newsletters for the program as a support to marketing and fundraising efforts.

Fundraising
1. Develop a one hour “tour” program, and host visitors monthly.
2. Develop corporate partnerships that include computer and/or financial donations.
3. Further develop the supporter database to track donations, and to ease communications by letter and email with supporters.
4. Develop an acknowledgment plan to thank donors and recognize donations.
5. Coordinate one or two fundraising events.

Project Coordination Assistance
1. Assist in managing the computer distribution for one or more major projects, including the distribution of computers to 7th grade students at Hairston Middle School in 2007-08. Also, with the community networking project if funding is acquired. Specific role to be determined but may include managing registration and logistics for required training classes, assisting in the classes, assisting in distributing the computers and in distributing and collecting follow up evaluation surveys.

Support Computer Learning Centers
1. Maintain quarterly contact to stay apprised of the CLCS use and needs.
2. Coordinate an annual educational workshop for the staff and sponsors of CLCs to gain further knowledge for making the best use of the centers.
3. Develop online communication between the computer learning centers, such as a list serve.

Project Outcome: 

Anna took complete responsibility for the annual appeal letter in April, using the over 400 names entered into the new Exceed database which was completed by then. She was responsible for tracking the donations and sending out the thank you notes. Over $5,000 was raised for HCN.

She developed an ongoing partnership with Earth Fare, a local organic supermarket, where our first Community Recycling Event was held in the spring. It was covered by the a local TV channel and the newspaper. Over 75 computers and assorted equipment were received. She helped Nate, our new Vista, with the contacts and planning for our second one held Sept 6, 7th. This has helped raise community awareness of our organization and both events have resulted in ongoing equipment donations from local businesses.

Anna single-handedly made it possible for HCN to distribute 223 computers to low income 7th and 8th graders at Hairston Middle School and 20 more to teachers with no computer in their homes. Her desire to see that every deserving child got a computer had her making trips to the school to find the children who had no phone, deliveries to the homes of those without transportation, finding Spanish interpreters to communicate with the families of the children with minimal English. She co-ordinated the transportation and then the distribution of from 20-40 computers to the school on the 6 distribution dates. I can’t say enough how much that meant not only to the staff of HCN that were busy getting the computers ready but to the children who would not have received a computer if not for Anna’s diligence.

There are many more instances where Anna’s service to HCN was above and beyond her duties, her desire to help others through HCN is a shining example of AmeriCorp Vista service. In fact she became so indispensable we have offered her a full time position. She has taken a 8-10 month sabbatical to help her father but plans on returning to us.

Community Wireless Network Administrator

VISTA Name: 
Gabriel Fishman
Program Start: 
8/2007
Program End: 
8/2008
Project Description: 

Within the past year, the Tenants Organization, with central help from an AmeriCorps*VISTA Member, has developed an extraordinarily high-density, publicly accessible wireless mesh network that covers most of Castle Square Apartments and provides free Internet access to residents. It has also developed a computer repair and refurbishing system that provides services to residents.

Starting in August 2007, a new VISTA Member will play a central coordinating role in:

* Enhancing assessment systems to monitor and analyze the capacity of the community wireless network at Castle Square to provide needed service to residents

* Develop practices and procedures to improve the network capacity

* Further develop a technical assistance system to enhance Castle Square residents’ home computer use, including use of work/study students from the nearby Benjamin Frankin Institute of Technology and youth peer leaders who are Castle Square residents

* Design and initiate a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher program at Castle Square Apartments, including outreach to potential donors of equipment, and assembling and coordinating a team of work-study students, youth residents and volunteers to implement the program.

* Expand community partnerships with other Boston area housing developments interested in establishing free WiFi networks for residents and provide technical assistance to the work at these other sites.

* Attempt to secure additional financial and other resources to provide ongoing support to Castle Square Tenants Organization and other Boston area CDCs and tenants’ organizations seeking to establish WiFi networks

* Develop and offer multilingual, largely locally-produced, content on a LAN server

Project Outcome: 

Gabriel had a very successful year of service with our organization and we are very happy with the work he has done. He was responsible for a number of improvements at our center.

1. Gabriel established a relationship with RCN and was able to arrange a deal to change all of our organizations phone and internet service, including our wireless backhaul, to RCN, saving us more than $1000 each year, and more than doubling our bandwith.

2. Gabriel developed a plan to have our organization host three technology events, titled Boston Tech Days, where low income residents would be given the opportunity to interact with technology professionals in Boston to receive computer repair services and computer trainings. Gabe wrote a short proposal to help us fund these Tech Days. This proposal won us over $1500 for each Tech Day (approximately $5000 total) to help us pay for equipment, staff, and other expenses.

3. Gabe assisted us in establishing a new location for our Computer Repair Clinic that offers free technical support to all Castle Square residents. With his help, we were able to respond to over 250 requests for technical support from residents during his year here. The Computer Repair Clinic also offers refurbished PCs to residents in need, and under Gabe’s management, we have already donated approximately 100 computers this year. Before he left, he initiated a plan to move the Repair Clinic to the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, which will significantly increase our capacity and ability to serve residents of the entire South End.

4. Before Gabe left, he helped us to write a proposal that won us $5000 from Social Justice Works! an organization in Cambridge that funds programs by Cambridge Public School graduates. This money will enable us to start a Youth Council that will be entrusted with redesigning our playground over the next few months.

Impact Quote: 

Gabe has helped us to improve many of our technology systems, has found us grants for events and community groups, and has publicized our work to the community and to the city of Boston. This is a huge help to us and will impact us for many years going forward. Over 100 families now have working computers and improved internet service, and some of them are enrolling in technology programs in our center, or in other centers in the area to improve their skills.”
- Emilio Flores, supervisor

L@TCH Program Developer

VISTA Name: 
Devon Smolca
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will build on relationships staff create with local school partners, community-based groups, non-profits, corporations and funders to develop strategies and resources (volunteers, computer donations and funding) for community technology adoption programs. Specifically the L@TCH home computer program which distributes computers to the families of K-12 students that are attending Baltimore City schools.

Project Outcome: 

The program has moved closer to becoming a sustainable model. We have a better idea of how schools can adopt the program with fewer resources from us. There is greater awareness of the L@TCH program, HEBCAC and CCTS in the community. Devon has helped HEBCAC expand their hardware resources to support the computer refurbishing center The program did not meet its objective of 500 systems distributed (331) We need to distribute 70 more system to meet adjusted goal. We will continue to engage schools around a model where they find the resources to underwrite the cost of the systems for their students, and engage teachers to use the educational resources installed on the systems, and use email more to communicate with families.

Impact Quote: 

Devon contributed greatly to the following outcomes: Three hundred fifty families took a L@TCH computer home during the 2010-2011 school year. Students in grades Pre K- 11th in six Baltimore City public schools. All the parents of these students attended one of the 20 Family Computer Workshops held to raise awareness to the responsibilities of having a computer with Internet access in the home and how to use technology to improve the home learning environment. Our L@TCH families have an average of three students per family which means these L@TCH computers have impacted almost 1,000 students. So far two schools are planning to continue the program in their schools and we have yet to meet with the other six schools.

CTC Support and Assistance

Organization: 
netCorps
VISTA Name: 
Aliya Abbasi
Program Start: 
9/2005
Program End: 
9/2007
Project Description: 

The VISTA will provide assistance in the form of technology assessments, planning and budgeting, computer repair and refurbishing, securing new and used technology hardware and software through donation and/or purchase, assessing the computer skills of each organization’s staff and providing training to fill in the knowledge gaps, establishing computer networks, both wired and wireless, and enabling the sharing of network resources such as printers and files, setting up email accounts for staff, writing best practice computer/network/security policies and procedures for each organization, identifying funding sources for each nonprofit that will enable them to afford their top-priority technology needs, creating and updating websites, and creating new databases and improving on the data collection and reporting of existing ones. The non-technical services that the VISTAs will provide will be equally important: helping techno-phobes and technology novices ease into the daily use of technology by using a non-intimidating vocabulary and non-judgmental computer-side manner.

Project Outcome: 

To date, this project has accomplished much. Aliya has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations in Greensboro and the surrounding community, offering direct assistance with technology training, implementation and support. She has coordinated a number of trainings and outreach events, exposing a significant population of nonprofits to this project. She has made connections with other community organizations and foundations, helping to lay the groundwork for making this project a more permanent part of the nonprofit landscape in Greensboro.

Impact Quote: 

Our VISTA experience, a very positive one to date, is helping our organization in a number of ways. Aliya’s placement in Greensboro is allowing us to work with organizations we would not be able to serve otherwise. She is exploring and implementing new strategies that others in our organization can now also use in their own work. She is helping to identify other community resources to take the project beyond its original scope, making sure that the organizations served will continue to benefit long after this project ends.

CTC Support

VISTA Name: 
Greg Osmun
Program Start: 
9/2005
Program End: 
9/2006
Project Description: 

* Assist with management of the BDE computer lab, including software updates, security, and troubleshooting.
* Develop a more streamlined and better organized process for loading the computers that will be going out to families.
* Develop a better system for inventory management using existing technologies such as bar codes or RF.
* Develop a training program for the high school tech interns and assist in their training.
* Develop a better technical support intake process and help implement it.
* Completion of commitment with CWCC and Report.

Project Outcome: 

Greg has done an exceptional job in the organizational structure of our lab, organization with the volunteers and high school interns and we are for the first time ahead on production of our machines. All of our PC’s in our lab are running completely trouble free and updates and viruses have not been an issue.

Greg has done an excellent job in developing a manual for the loading process of the computers for the students.

We have hired two high school interns to work with Greg in the loading and PC maintenance part of the lab. Greg is working with them to develop and learn new skills and procedures for refurbishing the computers we donate.

Outreach and Technical Assistance

VISTA Name: 
Brian Pastori
Program Start: 
9/2005
Program End: 
9/2006
Project Description: 

The focus of the CTC VISTA will be to work with the CEDC staff to reach-out to smaller non-profit groups– many of which are completely staffed by low-income volunteers– to organize very-low-cost and accessible volunteer training programs.

Project Outcome: 

CTC Net VISTA Brian Pastori continued to be a technical assistance resource to the project and to the overall work of the agency that integrates community technology across the board in all of our programs. As we completed our move, we set up the VITA e-filing site and resumed the computer recycle and refurbishing after school program. Brian held an Organizer’s Database workshop and was available for one-on-one technical assistance to the participating groups. We were also able to pilot a videoconferencing project in collaboration with a counterpart CTC in Quiche, Guatemala. Brian coordinated student interns on a variety of CEDC projects and faciliated a team of summer youth to conduct an assessment of youth needs. Brian’s ability to adapt to a variety of projects has allowed us to continue his position after the end of his VISTA assignment. A local private foundation with a particular interest in encouraging their grantee groups to engage youth in programming increased our funding by 50% this year to help underwrite the costs of this newly funded position.

Impact Quote: 

Brian has been instrumental in helping the CEDC achieve its mission because he has a strong commitment to working with our diverse low-income population. Brian has very strong group facilitation, training and community organizing skills in addition to his techlology skills which have been tremendous assets to the CEDC to allow us to further our mission.

CTC Assistance

Organization: 
Open Spaces CTC
VISTA Name: 
Ethan Molitch-Hou
Program Start: 
8/2003
Program End: 
8/2004
Project Description: 

The first half of Ethan’s term was spent generating community interest in learning technology and helping community members develop the confidence to learn more. The second half of the term was focused on expanding that interest to self-study and home use, and to continue the access to learning. During the course of the year, over 130 users were involved in introductory computer classes, logging roughly 1400 user hours. Among other things, these classes built community capacity, a cadre of volunteers, and led Big Bend Community College (BBCC) to develop partnerships and open new computer labs in Mattawa and Royal City.

Ethan visited a CTC nearby in Kennewick that worked on getting refurbished computers into the homes. They taught him that labs were not enough to get sufficient technology access to our students on a more consistent basis and that real progress for most students was dependent on there being computers in the home. The RECA Foundation in Kennewick became our resource for refurbished computers. Ethan was able to get computers into many of the students’ homes in Royal City and Mattawa. The computers are geared more towards families and give kids a basis for learning. They have security in place to prevent major problems from occurring to the operating system. The major drawback with these computers is that they do not allow changes to the system and are not configured for use of the Internet. However, as a beginning computer for families, they are perfect because they aren’t susceptible to viruses; as students become more comfortable with the computers, they can later invest in one that is Internet-ready. In the meantime, Internet access and ESL software remains available in the community labs.

Project Outcome: 

Ethan helped bring much needed training to four very small rural communities in Central Washington. Bi-lingual computer training was made available to hundreds of predominantly monolingual Spanish-speaking Hispanic agricultural workers and their families. Students were able to take advantage of their abilities to learn the technology quickly, accessing information as well as learning ESL and other skills. Young and old were able to learn together and the volunteer base grew. As more and more young students begin coming in, we are able to take advantage of their abilities to learn the technology quickly. We allowed them to teach each other as they naturally seemed to do. The labs in Mattawa and Royal City developed a sense of community, as people of all ages worked simultaneously and without fear in asking for help from one another.

The development of skills and confidence that was nurtured in the community labs led to more individual commitment to purchase computers for home use. As a result, these communities not only have new community labs, but a group of adults and children who are able to continue to deepen their knowledge and use of computers at home.

Compters in Home Program Development

VISTA Name: 
Ian Bauer
Program Start: 
8/2003
Program End: 
8/2004
Project Description: 

MAFEI’s OTX-West project is a large-scale computer reuse program, dedicated to providing computer technology access, technical support and volunteer opportunities for Oakland families. Ian Bauer has been working closely with MAFEI/OTX-West staff to meet and exceed workplan objectives as outlined below:

Provide a quality learning experience for both youth and adult volunteers (technical and non-technical) through service learning opportunities at OTX-West.

Provide a relevant, hands-on work experience for youth.

Develop Organization Website

Contribute to Learning Without Boundaries Literacy Initiative

Project Outcome: 

Volunteer Training

Ian Bauer worked with staff and the project consultant funded by CTCNET/ATA to assess the current capacity and need for volunteers. Ian assisted in the development of the volunteer training manual; streamlining the process for coordinating assignments for weekly “Volunteer Days” and “Distribution Days.”

As MAFEI successfully completed the training manual within the projected three-month time period, Ian coordinated the weekly management of both student and adult volunteers who had received computers from OTX-West. To date, approximately 500 student and adults have volunteered at OTX-West including IT students from local vocational programs, high school and middle school students with varying interests in computer technology.

Ian coordinated interns’ weekly tasks—preparing computer labs for trainings, assembling training materials, staffing distribution days. Ian is currently developing a training model whereby interns will be able to successfully conduct computer training courses, having become proficient in basic computer software applications and increased their knowledge of computer equipment and basic hardware operations.

Website Development

MAFEI significantly benefited from Ian’s expertise and interest in website design. Ian increased his responsibilities in this area by successfully upgrading the organization’s website(s) www.mafei.org and www.otxwest.org, including:

• Reformatting website graphics,
• Updating and adding to website text for OTX-West offerings, including technical support information and computer class training on-line registration
• Creating links
• Providing easier navigation of website

Learning Without Boundaries Literacy Initiative

Ian contributed significantly to the development of this project. His role was central and continues to be a vital part of the continuance of this model. A portion of his responsibilities included:

• Researching software writing programs;

• Conducting assessments and creating computer labs in the classroom of 3rd grade teachers participating in this project.

• Developing a training manual for parents and students, integrating key components of the writing software program and Internet research. Students learned how to research topics, find the definition of words and phrases and successfully complete a creative writing assignment (training guide available).

• Conducting computer training classes for third grade students and their families.

Impact Quote: 

Among Ian’s talents and strengths are his ability to quickly identify and resolve problems. As much of this project requires work in diverse communities with limited experience with computer technology, Ian exhibited tremendous patience and support for these families. MAFEI equally appreciated his ability to remain flexible in a changing work environment and meet each task with a great enthusiasm and a keen sense of humor. He was certainly a welcomed addition to our staff.
- supervisor

CTC Support and Program Building

VISTA Name: 
Larry Gaither
Program Start: 
1/2007
Program End: 
1/2008
Project Description: 

Our two VISTA members have been instrumental in developing our community technology at the CCNV Homeless shelter. Wildtech has partnered with the Community for Creative Non-Violence the largest homeless shelter in the United States, to establish a community technology center (CTC) for the homeless at the shelter.

Project Outcome: 

Our VISTAs have helped establish the technology center and develop resources for technology access and training programs for the shelter population, as well as other disadvantaged populations utilizing it. They have also laid the groundwork for building a self-sustaining service-learning model where trained members of the homeless community gain work-based learning experiences by performing vital technology repair and training services for local non-profit organizations and government agencies. Because of their work, the program has become famous,. The shelter now has quality computers, internet access and many of the 1300 residents are now getting their own computers. This success has been facilitated by the work of Tony and Larry, who have developed marketing and outreach materials, organized events and developed our list of partners and supporting organizations in the community. They have built the capacity of our organization by helping upgrade our constituent database so that we can better track donors and individuals. In regard to our programs, they have helped develop our curriculum and improve our process for refurbishing and distributing computers to program participants at the homeless shelter.

Transmission Project