Transcript for This company provides laptops for students in need
high enough Our next guest is on a mission to get kids the right tools to succeed in school by putting laptops into the hands of students who need most. Here to tell us more is co-founder of laptop upcycle, Jon Bonesteel. Thank you so much for being with us. You started laptop upcycle three years ago, tell us what inspired you to create it. Okay, I will. It started actually with simply enough with a Facebook post, I had run a local discussion group and a friend of mine had posted a request for a young man who actually was doing his homework on his mom's cellphone and she was looking to help out this family and at the same time, I was running with a couple of friends a company in town -- and we had a few laptops laying around, I thought why not set this up and give it to the young man so he could have the tools for school. We did that and handed it over to him and he was really excited and it helped him keep up with his studies and got the cell phone back to his mom and after that, we thought that maybe this was probably a little bigger problem than just the one-off, so I talked to some of my friends and some of my other contacts in town and we worked on trying to scale this up to serve more young adults in the local area. That's amazing. You've given to date I believe 722 laptops to students in need. What's the feedback been like? It's been really positive. It's been great. It's pulled the community together. We have help from other nonprofits locally. It's been really heartwarming, and the thank you notes that you get in the mail are just precious. And I can only imagine, how incredible you started this three years ago, the need has only grown greater with distance learning, so this pandemic, how has it affected your method of working with children? Well, it's kind of hit us twofold. Firstly, we had a system for giving the laptops to the young adults in our lab, and clearly we had to stop that once the pandemic hit. We switched over to a distance or a no-contact give-out system, I would go to the lab, get a stack of laptops and bring them back to my house and then communicate with the young adults and their parents. So that was the one change. The second piece is that 100% of the work that's done on these laptops to get them ready for young adults is done by volunteers, and that's primarily students in our public schools, we've got a great group of high school and middle school students who come in and do the work to renovate and test these laptops, we had to stop that when the pandemic hit, and take a break, and we recently restarted that about a month ago and, you know, of course with distancing, ppe and temperature testing before the kids come and work, and we limit the amount of work that they do, and the other thing is that these volunteers, the students have been so anxious to get back in the lab, pause they love the work, they learn new things and, you know, they've kind of gone a little stir crazy staying at home. So inspiring to see all of the young adults that you're helping throughout your community. Thank you for sharing your story. And inspiring others, Jon. Sure, could I mention that if people are willing to help and if they'd like to get help, we'd love to scale this up. They can visit our website at laptopupcycle.org and communicate with me. Nationwide, the national Christina foundation and the alliance for technology recycling and reuse support these efforts nationwide. We'd love to get the word out for them as well. Sounds amazing, Jon. Thanks again. Thank you for letting me tell our story.
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