In addition to giving out laptops, Laptop Upcycle provides free WiFi hotspots which are in part supported by the US Sprint ConnectedEd program (thanks President Obama!). We have given out over 185 of them and we have more in stock (need one?). For those of our community supported by this service, see the below update/upgrade from US Sprint on your service.
Dear ConnectED Recipient,
With the impact of COVID-19 continuing to unfold across the U.S., many of our partner school districts, schools, libraries and non-profits are closing their doors and preparing contingency plans that include remote learning options. As institutions consider moving to an online teaching and learning environment for the remainder of the school year to help mitigate the spread of the virus, students who lack home internet access are at an even greater risk of falling behind. While COVID-19 puts an important (yet unfortunate) spotlight on the Homework Gap issue, Sprint is committed to supporting our partner districts, schools, libraries and non-profits, so we’re taking additional steps to ensure broadband access.
Ø Sprint is increasing our data allotment from 3GB’s to 20GB’s per month/user through June 30, 2020.
We hope this additional action will help support contingency plans.
Together, we can help ensure students have the necessary connectivity needed to continue their learning during these uncertain times.
Laptop Upcycle has suspended our lab hours in light of the progression of the COVID-19 virus and our shared need to limit social contact. This policy applies to laptop deliveries and open lab volunteer hours. We will re-evaluate our policy as events dictate. Please note the following:
The Laptop Upcycle Team
Since our creation over three years ago, Laptop Upcycle has enjoyed working with administrators and teachers in our public schools to deliver laptops and free WiFi to students who need the support and to help eliminate the technology gap for them. As we face uncertainty related to the COVID-19 virus and the possibility of remote (from home) schooling, Laptop Upcycle would like to remind the community that we have both laptops and free WiFi Access Points available to those in need. Our general policy is to give students laptops or families free WiFi if they qualify for free or reduced lunch in our schools or if a counselor or principal verifies the need.
We have been in communication with our contacts in each of the Middle schools and Montclair High School to inform them that we are prepared to distribute laptops and/or free WiFi to students who qualify. Please contact your school counselor if you have the need or you may submit an online request on the Get Technology link on our page here.
About Free WiFi
The ability for Laptop Upcycle to provide free WiFi Hot Spots to families in need stems from generous grants from the Leslie Larson and Don Katz Foundation based here in Montclair. Leslie and Don have long been supporters of our efforts and innovation in education both locally and in Newark, NJ. Ms. Larson served on the Montclair Board of Education as a Board member for 6 years and Mr. Katz is on the Board of Uncommon Schools in Newark which consistently rank among the highest performing public charter schools. Additionally, Don and his company, Audible, have made many impact producing investments and championed many programs in the Newark Public Schools. The US Sprint ConnectedEd program also generously supports this Laptop Upcycle program.
We at Laptop Upcycle are passionate about supporting our local students. In addition to handing out over 530 laptops to students who need them and over 130 free WiFi access points to families, we host weekly volunteer sessions in our lab where students learn real world technical skills and give back to the community as they prepare laptops for others.
Now we're looking to expand the breadth of our services by providing free laptops and work stations to local nonprofits who support our young adults locally in any way.
Here's how it works:
If your nonprofit organization supports students in any way, Laptop Upcycle will provide you with top of the line refurbished laptops or work stations to help you deliver and improve your service offerings. We will assist your organization in multiple ways, for example:
Thanks from the Laptop Upcycle team!
Laptop Upcycle congratulates fellow Montclair nonprofit Sister to Sister on the inauguration of their new lab at 11 Pine Street. Sisiter to Sister is one of the groups supported by Succeed2gether at this location. Our primary mission of course is to deliver high quality refurbished laptops and free wifi hotspots to students in need. In the course of our work to support these students we also often meet leaders of other local nonprofits. We hear their stories and we always try to think of other ways to help. Sister to Sister is one such success story.
We met their Director, Dr. Doris Bennett (above), in our lab back in October of 2019. She had been working with her team to provide after school mentoring and a study lab that could also support a series of STEAM classes and needed equipment. We had recently provided 10 laptops to the Mindful Awareness Academy for Children (MAAC) upstairs in the United Way building and luckily we had also been informed by one of our partners, Greg Campbell at the Electronic Access Foundation that one of his clients had a group of small form desktops available for donation. A plan was hatched!
The Electronic Access team coordinated the pick up of the generous donation from a local medical support organization in Parsippany and delivered the 10 HP desktops to our lab in Montclair. Once onsite, we did what we always do first to new equipment, our student volunteers wiped the drives and documented the destruction of all the information on the machines. Since these were donated from a medical firm, we also provided a detailed report on each machine processed to Greg for his donor. Then our team jumped in and imaged the machines for the Sister to Sister lab with our education focused Linux package. In November Jon delivered the machines to the lab and helped them set up the lab.
The first Bootcamp for the students in the new lab was in December on mobile application design and Sister to Sister looks to continue the after school program through 2020. We would also be remiss if we didn't mention that the Sister to Sister Secretary Lisa White has been awesome throughout this process and she even coordinated individual laptop GETS for a dozen Sister to Sister High School students. We're excited that we could help and we are thankful to all mentioned in this post for their help in making it a success! Sister to Sister is making a huge difference in Montclair and we're glad we could help them realize their dream.
Thank you to everyone who supported us with your donations last Tuesday on Giving Tuesday. We continue to accept contributions via our PayPal Donation page. Follow this link for more information.
We know you are busy, so are we. We'll keep this short -
We at Laptop Upcycle support a simple, yet effective model that gets technology into the hands of students who need it. Laptop Upcycle locates and collects laptop donations, refurbishes them, and then hands them out to eligible students. Our goal is to eliminate the technology gap that directly contributes to the achievement gap in our schools.
In addition to many generous local individual donors and small businesses, we have also received multiple donations from larger companies. Our new “Laptop Legends” program celebrates these corporate donors who have been critical to the success of Laptop Upcycle.
Businesses who forgo the easier option of using a corporate reseller, and who choose to donate laptops to us are making the decision to directly improve the lives of young adults in our schools. We applaud and celebrate these “Laptop Legends” who have decided to give back to our communities, and further our mission of “Give and Get.”
We can think of no better start for our “Laptop Legend” program than our generous donor, Essence.
On May 2, 2019, Laptop Upcycle received a donation of 64 high quality Dell laptops from Essence's New York office. This most recent donation follows three other donations to Laptop Upcycle from the Essence Global IT department, bringing their total donation to date to 140 laptops and chargers.
The donations from Essence have occurred at the most opportune times. The first donation by Essence and its VP of Global Information Technology, Colin McCarthy, of 28 Dell laptops in October, 2016 helped us kick- start our efforts in Montclair, and allowed Laptop Upcycle to provide our first donations, or “gets” to Montclair students at both the High School and Buzz Aldrin Middle School. Since then, we have given out over 420 laptops in our local area. And each time our stock has dipped low, the Essence team has been there with a generous donation to help support our mission.
Most recently, Laptop Upcycle has expanded to our neighboring communities who also have a desperate need for technology for their students. Greater Newark LIfecamp, contacted us this Spring with a request to equip their two classrooms with laptops to support over 500 student campers this summer. The Life Camp gives inner city students the opportunity to enjoy a fulfilling and fun experience in Pottersville, NJ. The most recent donation from Essence gave us the resources to support these kids! In this instance, we are lending laptops to this camp so they may be used during the Summer and then returned to us to be available for local kids or other organizations in need. Essence has helped make this happen. They are truly a “Laptop Legend".
Thank you Essence and Colin McCarthy. Laptop Upcycle welcomes you as our first “Laptop Legend.”
Essence is a global data and measurement-driven agency whose mission is to make advertising more valuable to the world.
Above are some of the in process laptops we have in the lab. Our volunteers are the key to our success, and our Strategic Director, Mike Brown, pulls it all together. This week as school winds down for our local Public School students, Laptop Upcycle has been very busy. Since we want to roll it all in to one post for our social media feed, here are some bullet points:
We're still a very young organization and we run on a thin margin with the help of a great group of volunteers. Therefore it's awesome news when we receive a second grant from a respected local organization like The Montclair Foundation. Please see our full Press Release here.