A friend has dropped off some calculators he no longer needs. Not strictly in our strike zone, but if you know of a student who needs one for school, send us an email. The same Laptop Upcycle policy applies - we need a note from a counselor or a free/reduced lunch for to verify need. Thanks much.
Everyone knows we give laptop computers and free wifi to students and their families who need it in Montclair, but we also support our students in three ways with various activities at our lab at the United Way building here in town. Here’s the run down.
Support for students’ Laptop Upcycle laptop is provided at Open Lab times at the HackNCraftNJ lab every Saturday morning from 10:00 AM – Noon. Students are welcome to stop by and someone will be in the lab to assist them.
Laptop Upcycle is also running two coding and development meetups each week where students (and their parents) are welcome to join us. On Sunday afternoon we host a Take CS50 Together meetup where those interested in coding and computer science work together on the Harvard University Introduction to Computer Science curriculum. It is a college level class, but it is fun and engaging.
We also have just started a weekly Thursday After School Class/Meetup on the Raspberry Pi platform and projects using the Pi. There will be specific topics each week on the Raspberry Pi and we will encourage participants to do their own projects where we support each other. This meetup is for Middle School students and older. Laptop Upcycle staff members will be running this meetup, so they would also be happy to support any laptop issues at this meetup as well. The meetup is from 3:00 PM to 5:00 every Thursday in the lab. Come out and learn some Raspberry Pi!
Finally, we have established a dedicated Laptop Upcycle Intern working session in the lab for every Sunday afternoon from 4:00 PM to 6:00. Students who are interested in obtaining community service hours and also want to learn some cool technology (fixing laptops, hacking around with Linux, or developing support systems), we would love to see you.
The links for the specific meetups are embedded above, or you may sign up for all of our meetup notifications on the HackNCraftNJ Meetup page here.
When we deliver laptops to young adults in our schools, we always ask for a brief thank you note. It doesn't always happen, but when it does, it's a wonderful thing and it makes our volunteer work worth it. Here are 16 of them from Buzz Aldrin School earlier in the year.
Welcome to October and a brief back to school update from us here at Laptop Upcycle.
It has been about a year since our humble beginning here in Montclair. In that time, we have made a great deal of progress. From a pure numerical stand point we have given out 96 laptops to students in the Montclair Public Schools. We have also given families in our town 18 free wifi devices that allow their household to get free wifi for 5 years.
While we are certainly proud of this achievement, we are more excited that we have made great progress on learning what it takes to develop our nonprofit to expand and serve even more in our community and beyond. In essence Laptop Upcycle is like a computer program one may code. Simply stated, there are inputs, some processing, and some outputs. For us the inputs are the laptops and funds donated to us, the processing is the dedication and hard work of our volunteers to wipe, clean, and update the machines for delivery, and the output is the exciting and rewarding event when we give laptops to young adults. Of course, there is some other stuff thrown in there, some PR, some partnerships, and some relationship building, but that’s most of it.
Colin McCarthy of Essence, an Upcycle Super Hero
The accompanying photos on this post show these steps in action. Early on, we promoted our efforts on Facebook and our request for laptops that were no longer being used was picked up by Colin McCarthy at Essence in New York. Essence was one of our first contributors in 2016, and quite frankly, we would not be where we are today without them. The photo above was taken two weeks ago when Colin and Essence contributed their SECOND batch of high quality laptops. We (and the kids) could not be more thankful.
Our IMANI program delivery this past Summer
Speaking of the kids (the output part of the equation), this past Summer Sarah and Jon spoke at the IMANI Summer program at Montclair High School. As a result of that partnership (thanks to Joann McCullough), we were able to give laptops to this group of kids before school started last month. We also dropped off another group at the High School last week and have another delivery planned next week. Ms. Chanda Fields is a superstar at the High School, and we really appreciate her help.
Finally, we wish to thank all of our volunteers (the process) for making it all happen. See some of us on the splash screen of our home page. Mike Brown and Mark Zbucki joined us this past Spring and have been amazing. Mark created our new student centric Ubuntu software image and automated our systems, and Mike created a process flow system for our laptops which helps us turn around our donations even quicker. He also led our Summer intern program that introduced some new energetic volunteers to our group. They are key to the future of Laptop Upcycle and we are grateful to all of you – the two Ethans, Alex, Reese, Patrick, Amina, Sam, and Sydney. We’re excited that we have a new group starting with us too.
As is often the case, I have gone on a bit too long. So much for “brief”. We’ll share more on our new plans very soon. Stay tuned!
Jon for the Laptop Upcycle team