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Saturday, February 23 , 2019, 10:24 pm | Fair 45º

 
 
 
 

Computers for Families Needs Used Hardware for New School Year

Local residents, companies and organizations are asked to contribute any old equipment

A local program that provides computers to students from low-income families in South Santa Barbara County is seeking donations of used computer hardware from the community for the upcoming school year.

Computers for Families, a program sponsored by the local nonprofit Partners in Education, and run by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, is asking individuals, local companies and community organizations to contribute to the important project.

Specifically, CFF is seeking Pentium IV computers with an 800-plus MHz processor, monitors in good condition, mice, keyboards and power cables. The CFF refurbishment process includes a Defense Department disc wipe that completely reformats or “zeroes out” the hard drive.

Program officials have indicated that the need for additional hardware donations is higher at this time compared with past years, mainly because the downturn in the economy has caused many individuals and organizations to delay technology upgrades as a way to defer costs.

“Donations of computers and related hardware are critical to the success of CFF’s comprehensive approach to bridging the digital divide between low-income children and their more affluent peers,” said county schools Superintendent Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates this program. “With school starting in less than one month, securing these hardware donations has become a growing concern, and I encourage anyone who is upgrading or replacing old computers to put that old equipment to good use by donating to Computers for Families.”

Computers for Families’ mission is to eliminate the negative consequences of the digital divide by providing students from low-income families with refurbished computers, highly discounted Internet access, and training. Donated computers are refurbished by adjudicated youths at Los Prietos Boys Camp, providing valuable vocational experience and skills.

Participating teachers are trained to integrate technologies into their classroom instruction and to maximize the computer’s use as both a teaching and learning tool.

Students and parents are trained on basic operations, Internet safety and educational software that is provided on each computer free of charge. Cox Communications provides a 75 percent reduction in the cost of high-speed Internet service.

The program focuses its services on students in the fourth through sixth grades at schools in the Carpinteria, Goleta, Hope and Santa Barbara school districts. Each year, CFF places more than 600 computers into the homes of local students and families.

Individuals, government agencies, businesses and nonprofits wishing to contribute used hardware to CFF can bring donations to the Santa Barbara County Education Office, 4400 Cathedral Oaks Road.

Donations can be delivered to the loading dock at the left side of Building A immediately past the county Fire Department headquarters. Pickup of larger donations can be arranged. Those who are interested can click here, or contact program coordinator Kristine Mainland White at 805.964.4711 x5400 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Wendy Shelton is director of communications for the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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