Computers for Families, a program of Partners in Education and the Santa Barbara County Education Office, has issued a call for donations of used computers from the community to support local students, families and schools.

Computers for Families seeks to bridge the digital divide that separates students with access to technology from those without. Computers donated by businesses, individuals or organizations are refurbished by adjudicated youth at the Los Prietos Boys Academy.

The computers are then provided to low-income fourth- through sixth-graders along with training and educational software. Teachers are also trained by Computers for Families to use technology as a teaching and learning tool. Cox Communications provides families served by the program with a 75 percent reduction in fees for high-speed Internet access.

Since the program was launched in 1997, more than 9,200 children and families have been served. Each year, some 600 new students and families enter the program, usually in the fourth grade, in Carpinteria, Goleta, Hope and Santa Barbara school districts.

The recent downturn in the economy has caused many businesses to delay technology upgrades, making the need for used computers higher than normal for this time of year. For this reason, the program is seeking used computers from the community to be used in the coming school year.

Pentium 4 computers, laptops, monitors, mice, keyboards and power cables are all needed. Anyone interested in learning more about the program or making tax-deductible computer donations is asked to call Kristine Mainland White at 805.964.4711 x5400. Click here for more information about the program.

— Wendy Shelton for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.