Greetings and Happy October to all! We have been busy in the Lab and out in our community as the school year has kicked in to full gear. Happily, our weekly lab sessions continue to be well attended and we have a new group of energetic young adults under the tutelage of Mike and Ed.
In our post-pandemic world, the number of direct distributions to students of laptops (Gets as we call them) has decreased from last year. We're not entirely sure what is behind this, but we are working hard to find new channels for Gets by working with our local partners and contacts within the schools. Here are but a few of our recent successes as we look to expand our outreach and expand our education programs.
The United Community Corporation and the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (Newark, NJ) - Just this week we met with the team at the West Side Park complex in Newark to provide 18 laptops for their shared work space in the community center where they will host after school programs for students and training programs with their other partners. Yolanda Loney, the Director of Youth, Family, and Senior Services was excited for our support and we look forward to more activities with her team.
Late this past Summer Laptop Upcycle gained a new partnering organization, the Urban Health Collaborative (TUHC). Summer interns Yanice (Yah-niece) Toone and Sofia Bari, under the tutelage of board members Jon Bonesteel and Frances Smith, did outreach projects and snagged this new contact. Pictured above is Zaire Ali, Director of TUHC, picking up 10+ laptops and 5 monitors slated for community education and student tutoring.
Again, this past Summer, we kicked off an exciting partnership with the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District's Youth Arts Collective (YAC). The LPCCDYAC (that's a long one) is an arts meets tech education program for youth aged 10-17 that will provide them with knowledge and employable skills needed to be successful in the 21st Century. Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District's YAC is aligned with our mission of planning, designing, and developing a comprehensive arts and cultural district in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of downtown Newark. The program is managed by BRND Marketing Group LLC and the lead facilitator is Malik Whitaker of Cement Gallery. The students represent every ward in the City of Newark, attend public and charter schools and are as diverse as the city itself. Most are from single parent homes. We have students that are bilingual; some have admitted to using art to heal their depression and social anxiety; at least two are currently living in a shelter with their parent; one is diagnosed as legally blind; we have a student athlete and there is at least one learning disorder. Yet - art is the common denominator. Most importantly, thanks to Arts Ed Newark, we are able to feed them lunch during the class time of 9am-12pm and for some, this is their first meal of the day.
Laptop Upcycle donated 16 laptops to the YAC for a class in Newark where the students used the laptops to learn:
- Orientation and Intro to Illustration
- From Illustration to Painting
- Graphic Design and 2D Character Design
- 2D Character Design to 3D Animation
- Exploring Special Effects (SFX)
- 3D Printing and Rendering
- Fundamentals and Basics of NFT
After successfully completing the class, the students (with their parents/guardians in attendance) were given the laptops to keep and use for school this Fall. Our Co-founder, Jon Bonesteel, was there to wish them well and deliver the laptops. Thanks so much to Kimberly Ford from the YAC!
Last, but certainly not least, we've been busy with local Montclair organizations and have made some great progress. No photos yet, but soon, we promise.
We could say more, and we will soon. For now, a great big hug and thanks to all our partners!
As we review feedback from our Summer interns on this tired web site in need of update, please see and share our new tri-fold brochure, below and on the About Us page. Our site will be slowly refreshed in the coming weeks for the Fall Back to School season.
We are excited to announce our newest Laptop Upcycle Board member, Giancarlo Di Lonardo. With his diverse experience in board development and his active roles with various NJ nonprofits, Giancarlo will be a key contributor to our planned growth in Montclair and Northern NJ this Fall and into 2024.
Giancarlo Di Lonardo is currently a Sr. Program Officer with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJ EDA)'s Real Estate group. Prior to that, Giancarlo worked at New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), the state's largest Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), in community planning and engagement as well as real estate asset management roles. In his real estate role, he came into contact with Laptop Upcycle as NJCC's real estate subsidiary is the current owner of 60 S. Fullerton. He is the Board Chairman of Passaic County Habitat for Humanity where he has been involved in the search for a new CEO, the writing of a strategic plan, revisions to organization by-laws, and the development of charters for each of Habitat's 8 committees (of which he is an ex-officio member of them all). Giancarlo graduated from the Bloustein School at Rutgers University with Masters Degrees in City & Regional Planning (MCRP) and Public Policy (MPP). His undergraduate degree in Political Science, History, and Sociology is from King's College (Wilkes-Barre, PA). Giancarlo was born and raised in Hawthorne, NJ but has lived in Montclair (the Walnut Street neighborhood) with his spouse Alexandra since 2017.
Please join us in welcoming Giancarlo to the team!
How about 20 Laptops to Refugee Students for Our Return?
Board member Cynthia Newlin has been instrumental in opening new avenues to students in need for us. In addition to great work in Paterson and the Newark Arts School, she coordinated a donation to the Interfaith-RISE organization to assist students who are also refugees settling in the US. This afternoon (from left), Maryam Sorouri, Princess Botu, and Shawnelle Felix joined us in the lab for a training session on setting up Linux Mint on laptops for the students. After our session, the team was given 20 laptops for refugee students that they support in various schools. Happy Holidays to all, and Happy Spring!
Will January finish itself already? Sorry, just had to get that off our chests.
After a great 2022, Laptop Upcycle is looking forward to a 2023 full of growth and sharing of our mission both in Montclair and our neighboring communities. To succeed, we could use your help, and it’s really simple.
Can you network for us?
Last year we gave out close to 400 laptops to students who needed them for their homework at home. In the course of preparing these laptops for distribution, our lab volunteers put in hundreds of hours of time giving back to the community, and donors (both individual and corporate) were so generous in donating nearly new laptops to our cause.
Here’s what you can do -
Our success to date has had one common denominator, personal and organization connections within the community. If you can help us by considering your personal network and how your friends and business relationships could be brought to bear in assisting with getting a new laptop into the hands of a student, we (and they) would greatly appreciate it. Here are some examples of what you could do:
These are but 3 examples. If you have other ideas or would like to chat about those above, please pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can make a difference in a young students life.
Yesterday we shared a thank you to those corporate donors and local partners that helped us have a great 2022 supporting our mission in and around Montclair. Certainly, distributions to local students like the one today of 26 laptops (above) from us via Succeed2gether would not be possible without such partners. Laptop Santa is VERY happy!
However, that is only part of the story. Our ability to deliver laptops like the photo above, or to achieve any of the other successes we realized this year would not be possible with out the hard work and focus of our lab volunteers led by Mike Brown. Mike and his team supported by Mark Zbucki, our technical lead, hold two sessions each week where High School volunteers do the work that often goes unnoticed in our lab.
Student volunteers check in, test, securely wipe any data on donated laptops, install operating systems, test (again), and clean each laptop that comes in to our doors. All of this is done under the the auspices of Mike. There are many small steps along the way in preparing laptops to be upcycled. Each one is important and each volunteer plays a part in our success.
So, here's Part 2 -
To Mike and his team of 100% volunteers, we thank you. Without your commitment to our cause we would not be able to make the positive difference we do in and around our community.
Happy Holidays All!
And we mean it -- straight from the Laptop Upcycle Lab in the basement of the United Way building. We are grateful to everyone who thought of us so that we could provide laptops to kids in need. Your generosity has allowed hundreds of students to get their work done.
And (drumroll please), we are thanking these organizations for their thoughtful 2022 thinking that’s helped so many:
The Electronic Access Foundation
Boston Consulting Group
Essence Global Advertising
Guardian Data Destruction
Finally, thank you to New Jersey Community Capital (owners of the old United Way building) for renting their generous space (even during construction!) As we enter the Season of Giving, we know that more students will need laptops to get their basic education. Please consider adding your name to our thankful and thinking list for 2022 with a donation or proposal.
Do you know a young adult who needs a laptop for school and would love one under the tree this season?
Laptop Santa can help.
Here's how it works.
Parents or guardians (you elves you) can visit our Get Technology page here. Enter the basic request information on the form, including contact information. In the last field "Is there anything else you would like to include about this request?" just enter "Laptop Santa". Laptop Santa will wrap the laptop(s) you request and set up a time to get the package(s) to you before Christmas (or the holiday you celebrate).
Time is short, get busy elves. Laptop Santa wants to help.
As always, laptops given are free and for students to keep. Any questions? Email Santa.
2022 has been a great year and we have you to thank.
Some highlights to…. well, highlight:
Two Laptop Upcycle outposts have been established on two college campuses to meet the needs of overlooked, deserving students. Each location is developing a self-sustaining donation + refurbishment Laptop Upcycle model.
The Dr Frank Napier Jr. School of Technology in Paterson now has a fully-equipped and functioning computer lab in their school. Additionally, over 30 laptops have been provided to their identified students in need.
Girls in Stem! Paterson Schools invited us to participate in their “Girl Power Group” in School #16. We hosted the teachers and students in our lab for a tour, presentations and some hands-on work
We were thrilled to support Montclair Police Department Sentinels-16 as part of their 18th Annual Free Schools Supply event and, as a result, provided 80 Montclair, low-income students with laptops!
In partnership with DonorsChoose.org, we helped outfit and setup the Newark Arts School with donated Macs – the perfect tech solution.
Montclair remains our core community for the support of our mission. In addition to the 80 laptops provided at the Sentinals-16 event described above, our team led by Cynthia Newlin, delivered an additional 240 laptops to students in need here bringing our total number of laptops given out so far this year in Montclair as 320! And, Laptop Santa has not even started yet!
Are you as excited as we are? In EVERY highlight above, your donated, refurbished laptops eliminate impediments to learning and create an opportunity for academic success!
Finally (and most importantly), with the leadership of Mike Brown and his lab team we have maintained an active and vibrant lab volunteer and training corpse that allows all of the above successes to occur and trains young adults with hands on computer skills. Our volunteers give back to the community by doing all the work that prepares the laptops to be distributed. They have fun, and they earn community service hours for school. Win, win, win!
Please enjoy the following slide show that highlights just a few of our accomplishments and our Laptop Upcycle heros.
We can’t do it without your support.
Please consider donating funds this Giving Tuesday to help us continue recycling donated laptops and distributing them to students who really need them.
The link below will direct you to our giving page where you can donate next Tuesday. Or, you could do it TODAY. We won't tell anyone. :)
*** For Immediate Release ***
Partnership Provides Laptops for ECC Adult Learning Center
A lack of access to technology will no longer be an obstacle to students in Essex County College’s Adult Learning Center (ALC), thanks to Laptop Upcycle @ EssexCountyCollege-ALC, a partnership with Laptop Upcycle of Montclair, NJ.
Our goal is to provide an initial 25 laptops and/or Wi-Fi device to deserving students, said Judith Celestin, Director of the Center. She said we will be accepting donations to be able to make more laptops available as needed. “We are thrilled that this partnership will remove a barrier that many of our students run into when having to complete coursework at home,” Ms. Celestin stated. “Corporations and organizations as well as individuals can donate laptops to the Laptop Upcycle @ EssexCountyCollege-ALC program by emailing us at email@example.com as a way to support equitable access to technology and ensure our students are successful in their academic careers.”
The Adult Learning Center services about 400 students who are working toward their high school equivalency, U.S. citizenship, Microsoft Office certification, or taking English as a Second Language classes.
Jon Bonesteel, Co-Founder/Treasurer of Laptop Upcycle, said the company is excited to be partnering with the ECC Adult Learning Center. “The opportunity to share our mission of repurposing technology to help eliminate impediments to learning in the ALC community is a win for all concerned.” The Laptop Upcycle lab team is training ECC staff in order to establish a hub on site where they will repair and upgrade unwanted laptops which can then be distributed to other ALC students in need of technology in order to complete classwork.
“We had provided laptops to the College on occasion in the past, especially when there was a real need for them during the Covid pandemic. Going forward, the ECC team will assume the lead on campus. We are excited to share what we do with ECC and we look forward to supporting them,” Mr. Bonesteel said.
Ms. Celestin said students who receive the laptops can keep the devices. “This partnership is another example of Students First at Essex County College,” she added.
Laptop Upcycle is a division of the Montclair, N.J.-based not-for-profit organization HackNCraftNJ, Inc. Learn more about Laptop Upcycle at http://laptopupcycle.org.