*** 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
As anyone who is familiar with us knows, our primary mission is to support students in Middle and High schools with the tech tools they need to succeed in school. We have had a great back to school season, including huge success at the Sentinels-16 Back to School event a couple of weeks ago.
We at Laptop Upcycle are also passionate about assisting teachers in their classrooms. Sometimes these champions of our schools run in to road blocks or budget limitations within their districts when they are in need of equipment. Laptop Upcycle is happy to help where we can. Earlier this year we helped set up a tech lab in Paterson, NJ. Most recently, we noted a request from a teacher at the Arts High School in Newark via the Donor Choose site online. Donor Choose allows teachers to request supplies and support equipment for their classrooms. Mrs. Janae Taylor (below) in the Mathematics Department at the Arts High School was in need of a few Mac OS computers for her lab.
Our Board member Cynthia Newlin contacted Mrs. Taylor and reviewed her needs. Luckily we had a few extra Macs in stock that would fit her needs, so we were able to set up her work space in Newark and now both she and her students can more easily complete their assignments. Thanks Cynthia and thanks Donor Choose for connecting us.
Today the Laptop Upcycle team had an awesome day at the Sentinels-16 Back to School event in Lackawanna Plaza. Board member Cynthia Newlin led the other volunteers Judith Celestin and Rebecca Feit-Klein from Essex County Community College and one of our star High School volunteers Amelia Wong. On a hot day they gave out 80 coupons for free laptops to students in need. Those who picked one up, will stop by the lab next to the library later this week to pick up their own laptop for school this Fall. Please remember that even if you couldn't make it to the plaza today, you can always request a laptop or free hotspot online at our web site here. Thank you so much to our passionate volunteers and all those who came out to meet them today!
Laptop Upcycle has successfully qualified as a participating organization of the T-Mobile Project 10 Million to help provide internet access to all students who need it. This means we have 240 hotspots to hand out to any family in need in our local area. Go to our Get Technology page to see if you qualify.
If you own one of the more than 230 existing hotspots that we have given out in the past 5 years thanks to the generous grants from the Don Katz and Leslie Larson Foundation, please note that these have been disabled to due to a network consolidation by T-Mobile, and you are eligible for a replacement.
We have scheduled a delivery session for July 30 from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM in the Laptop Upcycle Lab at 60 South Fullerton Ave, Montclair (use the side entrance and ring the bell if the door is locked). Bring your old hotspot and get a replacement. Or apply and get approved online this week. If you are not available this Saturday, please contact us and we can arrange another date/time to meet you.
All hotspots have filters for safe family browsing and are totally free with enough bandwidth for school work. Want to learn more? Check out https://www.t-mobile.com/business/education/project-10-million
See you in the Lab.
Your Laptop Upcycle Team
Recently we highlighted the initiative championed by our Board member Cynthia Newlin to provide laptops to the Girl Power group led by Special Education Teacher Ms. Renee' Cleaves-Bryant and Paraprofessional Ms. Lydeasha Crawford, who teach at Public School #16 in Paterson, NJ.
But Amelia was just the start of our great session on the 15th. After a walk through of the initial set up of the Girl Power students new laptops by Jon (the only "Y" chromosome in attendance), we were all treated to a Zoom presentation by Chattie Broadnax McGill. Ms. McGill is a Director at Kontoor Brands in Greensboro, NC and has a degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University. Kontoor Brands may be best known for Wrangler jeans, but they do so much more. Ms. McGill joined the company after graduating from college and shared her unique wisdom as both a woman and a person of color in the technology and business world. She also discussed some of the new hot areas of STEM that the students may wish to consider. The School #16 young women were enthralled by her presentation and asked a number of great questions.
In the past 5 years Laptop Upcycle has with the support of a generous donation from the Don Katz and Leslie Larson Foundation provided over 235 free WiFi hotspots to local families of students in need. These devices have been a key component of our strategy of delivering technology tools to those who need them locally.
Two weeks ago we were informed by T-mobile that as a result of the merger between T-mobile and US Sprint that the service on these devices would terminated due to network consolidation. These devices are set to expire today (June 30, 2022).
Laptop Upcycle has been working aggressively with T-mobile to arrange replacements for the sunset devices. We are hopeful that a new agreement with T-mobile to be a part of their Project 10 Million initiative will allow us to replace all of the existing devices, but we have yet to receive final approval.
We hope to have good news very soon and will share our plan for replacement devices as soon as we possibly can. We’re sorry for the pending service disruption, but the short notice was out of our control.
As soon as we have an update, we will share it with all.
Laptop Upcycle outreach to neighboring communities continues to accelerate with the help of Cynthia Newlin's hard work. Recently Cynthia conducted a training session with Special Education Teacher Ms. Renee' Cleaves-Bryant, and Paraprofessional Ms. Lydeasha Crawford, who teaches at Public School #16 in Paterson, NJ. They will assist Laptop Upcycle in distributing and supporting both Girl Power and Boys Group with the tools they need for summer programs and school this Fall. Of course, the 24 laptops they received from us are theirs to keep. We're also looking forward to hosting Girl Power in our lab later this month for some hands-on training!
Thank you Ms. Cleaves-Bryant, Ms. Crawford, and Cynthia! You all rock!
Look What You Can Do
First, before we get to our ASK, we want to thank you for all your support. You have contributed in so many ways. From single personal donations of equipment or funds, to larger business/block donations, and even just word of mouth recommendations, your support has allowed us to:
But, we want to do so much more for those in need. The challenges in our and neighboring communities continue, and many students STILL don’t have the tools they need to succeed in school.
So Here is Our Ask
To build programs and support growth in our educational and giving activities, Laptop Upcycle desperately needs to add Volunteers to our team. If you’re reading this, we know you have super powers. You may be a marketing wiz, or a nascent tech nerd, or an expert grant writer. Or perhaps you’re a business development expert who could help us scale up our operation to touch more markets. We’re not looking to monopolize your time, because we know how busy everyone is these days, but if you can give some time, some ideas, or some strategy to an excellent cause we would like to hear from you.
Yesterday on a beautiful Spring day Cynthia and Jon delivered 52 freshly refurbished small form factor i3 desktops to the Frank J. Napier, Jr. school in Paterson, NJ. Principal Derwin Smith and Vice-Principal Jennifer Woods will use the new workstations to both replace the aging XP vintage desktops in their computer lab and update the devices driving the smart boards in classrooms. Cynthia Newlin, Laptop Upcycle Board member and long time volunteer, established the relationship with the technology focused school and has led the way by helping us deliver over 30 laptops two months ago directly to students in need at the school. The updated lab will allow teachers at the school top better support their tech programs at the school.
As always, this was a team effort and we have a number of people and organizations to thank. In addition to the amazing work by Cynthia, we appreciate:
Join Laptop Upcycle as a Summer Intern this Summer and make a difference for young students locally. We are looking for a rising High School Senior or older volunteer to help us expand. Here is the detailed job description:
The successful candidate will work with the Laptop Upcycle Board of Directors to leverage existing promotion and communication channels and explore/develop new tools to expand regional awareness of Laptop Upcycle and promote our mission in three (3) primary areas.
We are a 100% volunteer organization, and we can not monetarily compensate you in this role; however, we will provide you with a high quality laptop which you may keep upon the internship completion. Any questions, or to apply for this internship, email us at email@example.com.