Computers for Families

By on Mar 15, 2012 in Giving, People | 1 Comment

Computers for Families

Santa Barbara County’s Computers for Families project gets students and families access to technology that helps them learn and grow.

Computers have become as important today for student success as paper and pencil were just 20 years ago. The goal of CFF is to bridge the digital divide between low-income students who cannot afford technologies in the home and their more affluent peers.

Through the organization’s efforts, more than 9,000 computers have been placed into the homes of low-income students, and more than 200 teachers have been trained to improve their instruction by using technologies as teaching and learning tools.

Reduced cost internet access into the homes of low-income students gives them the tools that they need to learn and succeed in the modern economy. Families and students receive an orientation, information regarding Internet, and training on applications before they take their “new” computers home.

The program also trains teens in the Los Prietos Boys Camp, a County-managed residential treatment program for young men committed by local courts, in computer repair.  Graduates of Los Prietos say that the skills they’ve learned have helped them get jobs in the tech repair industry after they return home.

Computers for Families TeacherComputers for Families is a project of the Santa Barbara Partners in Education (Partners), a non-profit organization with members from business, industry, government, and local schools and colleges. Partners’ mission works to yield excellence in Santa Barbara area schools, producing outstanding graduates.

Yardi Systems is among the Santa Barbara businesses that proudly supports CFF with donations of equipment and funding support. Surplus computers are donated to Computers for Families for refurbishment by local businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Ben Romo, Director of Community Education & Special Projects, Santa Barbara County Education Office, tells us that Yardi’s contributions have been beneficial to the CFF effort.

“The support Yardi Systems provides to Computers for Families provides 600 low-income fourth through sixth graders with a computer and access to reduced price Internet access while also training teachers to use technologies as teaching and learning tool.,” Romo said.

Romo shared the story of a family whose son graduated from the Los Prietos program, and has now turned his life around.

“Our son participated in your program at Los Prietos Boys Camp in 2003. This year he earned his bachelor of science in computer technology.  The results of your work may not always be immediate, but rest assured your work is very important to the future of those you touch,” said the young man’s father.

 Images courtesy Computers for Families, students photographed with permission.