As we all grind on through this difficult Winter and pandemic, we at Laptop Upcycle have been exploring other opportunities for local students to become engaged in technology enrichment beyond the twice weekly limited and distanced lab sessions we support.
Today we are excited to announce a partnership with TechConnect, a fellow 501c3 nonprofit based in Summit, NJ, to offer free online coding classes for students locally. TechConnect was founded in early 2020 to help bridge the digital divide for students impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Their goals are very similar to ours and we encourage you to visit their web site and learn more about them.
For the local Laptop Upcycle community, our partnership with TechConnect will provide access to cutting edge online coding resources, and importantly an existing and vibrant support community for those who wish to enroll in the courses.
Anyone who has explored online courses often encounter roadblocks in the form of lack of community and support which all too often results in waning interest in the class. The TechConnect team has an existing infrastructure in place to remedy this issue and we at Laptop Upcycle will also be ready to help where we can, given the interest level and community meetup guidelines.
The TechConnect team offers three (3) different course categories based upon each of these 3 languages, Scratch, Python, and Java. Scratch can be learned by many young students even in elementary school. Python and Java are a bit more challenging, but many middle schoolers pick those up very quickly. Note that Java is even more complex than Python, but we know there are those in our schools that are ready for it. If parents need assistance in helping to decide where their students should start, feel free to contact us directly.
The process to get started coding is very simple. You visit the TechConnect site and create a free account with them. Then you select the “Classes” link on their site and pick the course you wish to begin. It’s that easy. Note on the Classes page you will also see links for the support resources, an online forum, other resources, and the schedule for weekly Zoom meetups to engage with other students.
We’re excited to offer this resource to our community and we hope you take advantage of it.
The Laptop Upcycle team!
PS - If your kids need a laptop to start coding or you know someone who does, you know we can help with that!
Valentine’s Day might be considered the ultimate Hallmark Holiday, but we think it's the perfect opportunity to showcase the Laptop Upcycle people that make the love happen in our lab:
Yep, these are the students who get a laptop. They’re so grateful and thrilled to be in school and online with a computer that is their own.
Drivers delivering laptops throughout COVID and instructors working with our interns.
Our community donors
Single laptops and providing gift cards and cash when we need it most.
Our foundation donors
The Don Katz and Leslie Larson Foundation, Montclair Foundation, Best Buy Community Grant, and The United Way of Montclair for the support funding, the grants and the lab space.
Our high school interns
They're showing up every Thursday and Sunday, enthusiastically learning and earning community service hours (and fixing laptops, cables, and more).
Our corporate donors
Guardian Data Destruction, Pfizer, Essence Global Advertising and Ukodit for donating laptops and computer bags.
Can you tell we love our Laptop family - our interns, volunteers and donors! And the kids! How do we know the efficacy of our program? Just read the appreciative notes from students, parents and teachers. It’s AMAZING how much love comes with a working laptop.
During February, please consider showing us the love with a laptop donation, your time or $$. And, we’ll send you a Hallmark-worthy thank you (and tax receipt you'll really love)!
The whole, really grateful, Board of Laptop Upcycle - 8 dedicated people working tirelessly to keep laptops coming in the door, running our student internship program, writing emails, social media, submitting grants and so much more.
Happy New Year!
Hard to believe that January is almost over when it feels like it’s just begun!
We are so grateful to all our December donors via Giving Tuesday, our Facebook campaign and emails. It was our largest end of year donation ever!
And (drum roll), your monetary donations paid our rent, internet fees, and insurance. That means the Lab stays open for our interns, techs and volunteers. You’ve funded our essential workers! Bravo!
But, let’s remember, even with the changes in the Oval Office and vaccinations on the horizon, COVID and poverty continue to make learning, especially online, a challenge for many students in our community.
We need laptops. Our supply is very, very low.
How can you help? Look around at home - under your bed, desk drawers and closets. Ask around. Solicit your neighbors, family and friends. On your next Zoom or Slack chat, ask your coworkers, IT guys, the boss or friendly customers. You never know who may have an unneeded laptop to donate (with a webcam please!). We need them. The students need them. (And you get a tax receipt!). Click here for our latest donation guide including data security.) Found a laptop (or 20)? Contact us to coordinate a safe drop off or drop us a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve got a LOT of laptops we will (super happily) pick them up! It’s that easy.
Thanks again for a most rewarding end to 2020 but do not forget to pat yourself on the back. To date, 821 students have benefited from your generosity to Laptop Upcycle! And, if you wanted to donate to our end of year campaigns but simply forgot, just click here.
Mark Zbucki, Board Member & IT Engineer
PS Do you have a student who wants to learn about computers? Our intern program in the lab has resumed in a safe, socially-distanced way. Join the Laptop Upcycle Lab Facebook group to stay up to date or grab a spot for a lab session here!
Whether it’s end-of-year giving or planning for the upcoming year, we are grateful to our donors who give locally to create a big impact for our community. As a nonprofit based in Essex County, New Jersey, we are 100% donation funded with no paid staff. It’s bootstraps and your generosity that do it all.
And what, exactly, has your generosity accomplished to date? Here it is in black and white as we close out the end of 2020 -- a memorable year that is even more stark for those kids who don’t have a computer for virtual learning.
Did you know that the new CARES Act allows a $300 charitable deduction for individual taxpayers? A bright spot for nonprofits!
For the majority of people who no longer itemize their charitable giving, the CARES Act allows these individual taxpayers to deduct donations to a qualified non profit of up to $300 on their 2020 federal tax return.
Such deductions must be:
Take advantage of this change, send a cash donation to us before December 31st, and Thank You!
COVID is terrible for all of us, but can you imagine what virtual learning is like for a student or family who can’t afford a home computer?
Please help Laptop Upcycle continue our mission to provide free refurbished laptops and internet access to these students.
To date, with the generous support of our donors, we have accomplished so much:
Any amount is appreciated. We are 100% funded by your contributions that help us refurbish donated laptops and provide wifi connectivity. (Not surprisingly, many laptops need a little TLC before they’re usable!).
Have a laptop (or many) you don’t need? Click here to let us know. We will pick it up, securely wipe the hard drive, refurbish it and quickly get it to a waiting student.
Thank you for your generous support! We couldn’t do it without you!!!
And we mean it -- straight from the Laptop Upcycle Lab in the basement of the United Way building. We are grateful to those businesses, organizations and individuals who think of us throughout the year allowing us to provide laptops to kids in need. With COVID forcing virtual learning everywhere, your generosity has allowed 800 students to get their work done.
And (drumroll please), we’d like to pat everyone on this list on the virtual, safely distanced back for all your 2020 thinking that’s helped so many.
Please consider adding your name to our thankful and thinking list for 2021 with a donation or proposal.
Sarah Damaskos, Co-founder and Board Member
The Laptop Upcycle Team
School’s out for the rest of the year thanks to COVID-19. DO YOU NEED A COMPUTER? If so, is this YOU?
At Laptop Upcycle, we clean up and recycle laptops that are given to us free of charge. And then we give them to high school and middle school students in need. Your laptop is FREE and you can keep it FOREVER. We know you need a working computer to keep up with school – even more so now you they can’t go to school.
Believe it or not, there are NO strings attached. Free laptops for kids who need laptops.
What if you don’t need a computer? Do you have a friend in need? Someone on your bus or your team or in your classroom (when you used to have a classroom)?
Be kind and share this link to get started.
It’s that easy! We’ll get back to you! Quickly.
PS: Schools and community groups, we’d like to talk to you. We’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has an innovative solution to fill the school technology gap. If you have students in need of computers, we’d like to help. Start here: https://www.laptopupcycle.org/
PPS: Businesses and individuals, donate your unneeded laptops. It’s a pretty great feeling when you know that your old computer (securely cleaned of course) is helping a kid get to graduation and beyond. Think about all that extra space in your drawer/cabinet/under the bed that you’ve got now. And a 501(c)(3) tax donation receipt to boot. All in all, good karma and good sense for helping students with a computer you don’t even use! So, if you’re interested in good karma, click here: https://www.laptopupcycle.org/donate.html
In the last few weeks we've been pretty busy giving laptops and hot spots to students who need them. Heck, we even gave out 7 just today. Here's one example of why we do it. Please consider helping us help others, and visit our Donate Page. Thanks!
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.