Snaps are due to John Stephens, our first assistant here at Hometown Pasadena and now the editor of the Pasadena Indepedent and its sister weeklies. He got to thinking about the One Laptop Per Child program, which provides computers for kids in developing nations, and wondered about the many kids right here in the San Gabriel Valley whose families cannot afford computers. “I was thinking about this, and looking around my apartment, which could be mistaken for an e-waste facility,” he says. “And I realized how easy it would be to find older, out-of-service PCs that were, in fact, headed for an e-waste facility.”
John called up Sultan Salahuddin, owner of Priceless Computer, and asked if he’d be willing to help. They set a goal of collecting ten computers, stripping them, installing free Linux operating systems, and outfitting them with free software, from Mozilla internet browsers to Open Office word processors. Nothing cost money — it just required effort to find the old machines and get them ready to go.
Then John launched an essay contest for kids ages 8 to 18, and the first ten winners are getting these rehabbed and highly functional computers. Here’s his story about the program and the first winners, Monrovia brothers David and Joshua Schery, whose faces in the photo here pretty much sum up the appeal of this program.
If you know a family who could benefit from this program — or if your own kid needs a computer and you can’t afford one — go to the online application. This is a pilot program, and the ten computers will go fast. Want to help? Let us know in Comments, and we’ll get the message to John.