The Computers 4 Youth program mission is to collect, repair, and distribute older technology computers to low income families and non-profit organizations who could not otherwise afford one.
Our goals are to:
Maintain a standard of technology that keeps pace with industry standards.
Make maximum use of the computer donations.
Use environmentally accepted methods for disposing of unusable items.
Provide interactive software training in a classroom environment.
The program was started by Brantley Pettigrew in 1999 with computers donated by Mid-State Bank and Trust. After that, additional computers came from businesses and individuals and they were refurbished in his garage. The computers were distributed through the elementary schools when a school principal qualified the family and requested the computers. The Exploration Station took over the program in the Fall of 2001 under the direction of the late Rod Teets and has been running since that time, staffed by 20-25 volunteers each week.
How are recipients picked?
Referral from a teacher, school administrator, guidance counselor or social agencies such as the San Luis Obispo Department of Social Services. The Exploration Station Manager discusses the needs with the family. Then a computer system is selected to meet those needs and the child and parent come to the Exploration Station for an orientation on that computer before they take it.
What kind of a computer is given to a recipient?
Pentium 2400 MHz or faster, 60 gigabyte hard drive or larger, 1 gigabytes of RAM, CD drive, sound card, keyboard, mouse with pad, all power cords and cables. The system has Windows XP installed with some office applications, educational games and tutorials.
What has now been accomplished:
bullet Over 3000 computers recycled.
bullet Computers have been given to disadvantaged families and non-profit organizations.
bullet Refurbish work is being done by volunteers.
bullet Everything is done with minimum monetary support.
How/where can I donate my computer to the program?
Donations that meet the above criteria can be brought to the Exploration Station facility, 867 Ramona Ave, Grover Beach, Wednesdays through Fridays from 12-5 and Saturday’s from 10-5pm. A large donation will be picked up by appointment only.
What is an acceptable computer donation today?
PC Computer (not Macintosh) 2400 MHz or faster. A standard complete computer system should include a CPU tower, keyboard, monitor, and mouse.
Other working computer components we need:
bullet Hard drives – 60 gigabytes or larger
bullet Monitors-must be 17 inch screen, or larger flat panel, working with good focus.
What else you can do to help: Volunteer!
Typical volunteers – anyone interested in working in the program – there is no required experience or age limit to be a volunteer. A desire to learn about computers is all that is needed. The rest is learning by doing.
Here are the jobs we do and we can always make use of more volunteers:
1. Receiving donations, testing and preparing them for refurbishing. Putting together (kitting) and testing the parts of a system for delivery. Occasional trips for some to pick up large donations.
2. Refurbishing computer “towers” by diagnosing problems, replacing and installing parts and testing the systems to meet our standards.
3. Presenting a complete refurbished computer to a recipient at our facility, usually with a demonstration and explanation of the system and the software installed.(We also could use more “presenters” with a fluency in Spanish.)
4. Maintaining the quality and accuracy of our offerings — there are tutorials that must remain current with what we deliver.
If you speak Spanish, you could also use those skills for recipients who need them! But whether you speak Spanish or not, if you like people and use a Windows computer, you’re qualified!
Volunteers are asked to select a four hour “shift”, from 9 AM to 1 PM or from 1 PM to 5 PM each Wednesday they can make it.
If you have some skills and a desire to learn and have fun, we’re the place to volunteer! Come see us on a Wednesday afternoon and watch our group in action, taking computer donations, rebuilding them, and presenting “a new computer” to folks who can’t afford their own. We’re helping people, filling a need in the community, and we have fun!!