Thursday night the Wellfleet Elementary School received the 750th Laptops for KidZ computer place in a school since May 2010. Project director Mario Meré of Yarmouthport presented the Toshiba Satellite laptop to school counselor Dr. Maggie Mack during the Masonic Angel Fund’s 15th anniversary celebration at Universal Masonic Lodge in Orleans.
The Laptops for KidZ project was launched by the Masonic Angel Foundation in March 2010 after the Masons observed the increasing amount of school work that was required to be completed on a computer. With many Cape families struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, the Masons were concerned how a family in such a situation could afford a home computer and Internet access for their children.
Laptops for KidZ is 100% volunteer operated
As of December 13th, Laptops for KidZ has placed 761 refurbished computers across Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts since the first laptop was placed in May 2010. As with all Masonic Angel Foundation programs, Laptops for KidZ is 100% volunteer operated. Computers are donated by local businesses and individuals as well as by corporate donors around the nation.
When a computer is donated to LFK the program’s volunteers wipe and overwrite the hard disk to eradicate any data remaining from the previous owner, physically destroying hard drives that don’t survive the process LFK calls “nuking”. Then the volunteer technicians make necessary repairs to the machine and reconfigure it with Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, Open Office, Adobe Reader and Avast! Anti-Virus. As a non-profit member of the Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Program the Foundation receives generous pricing on Windows licenses.
Impact on the students
Local schools are enthusiastic about Laptops for KidZ. Nauset Regional Middle School has received 124 computers from the Masonic Angels since May 2012. NRMS principal Dr. Maxine Minkoff recently told Cape Cod Today, “Because of them, every student at the Middle School who needed a computer has received one.”
The directors of both Sturgis Charter Public School (Eric Heiser) and Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School (Paul Niles) have emphasized how important the Masons’ laptops are in “leveling the playing field” for underprivileged students. Lighthouse Charter has received 75 computers from the Masons since 2010 and Sturgis has received 35 machines since 2011.
During Thursday night’s anniversary observance, MAF co-founder and president Robert Fellows mentioned that many laptops placed through LFK serve a role in providing assistive technology to students with learning challenges. From a child with Autism learning to communicate with a virtual sign-board to a handwriting-delayed child using a keyboard to complete written assignments, Laptops for KidZ often helps a child “find their voice”. For other students, the availability of a laptop allows them to avoid staying at school until 6 p.m. to complete online assignments.
MAF/Laptops for KidZ and most Cape school districts partner with Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which makes low cost broadband service available to families qualified for Federal free or reduced school lunches.
Donate Your Laptop
Demand for Laptops for KidZ computers remains high. Right now the program has 8 laptops in the refurbishing shop with unfulfilled requests for 10 more. Businesses and individuals wishing to make a tax deductible donation of their used laptop may contact [email protected] or call 508-255-8812.