Ben Nickerson pulled into the parking lot at Monomoy Regional Middle School in Chatham today to deliver Laptops for KidZ computers, as he has done many times before. Today is special because it's the 100th time his has delivered laptops to a school in the Monomoy region.
Over the past eight years, the Masonic Angel Foundation's Laptops for KidZ project has placed nearly 2,000 refurbished computers with schools across Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts. Laptops are donated by area businesses and individuals. The Masonic Angels' team of volunteers refurbishes the devices, reconfigures then with a fresh Windows 10 license and delivers them to area schools to be sent home with children who do not have access to a computer outside school hours.
Monomoy Middle School guidance counselor Kristen Hayden has worked with Laptops for KidZ from the very beginning. When she was counselor at Wixon Middle School in Dennis she received some of the very first laptops the Masons provided. Looking back on that long relationship, Ms. Hayden reflects, "I would like to reiterate how very thankful I am for your continued support for our students and families over the years! When I am able to present a laptop to a family, it is often the best part of my day."
Monomoy Middle School principal Mark Wilson had a lot to say about the impact of Laptops for KidZ on students at his school. We include his remarks verbatim below.
The Laptops for KidZ program not only provides a computer for students to own and use at home that furthers their education, it also supports an even more noble cause - access and equity to education.
We live in an age of extraordinary discovery and dynamic change. To keep pace, classroom instruction has evolved to include web-based experiences. For students who have ready access to a computer, laptop, tablet, or other connected device at home, school is open 24 hours and day and 365 days a year. But not all students enjoy that access, and so their school is open 8 hours a day and 180 days a year.
And that is an un-level playing field.
Although MRMS is a one-to-one technology school - each student receives a Chromebook to use during the school day - before we became that one-to-one school we established a silent partnership with Laptops for KidZ so we could equip each child with the tool he/she needs to make education a year-round opportunity.
Through their generous and silent support, over the last three years we have equipped 100 children with a laptop they can take home and call their own.
For me, Laptops for KidZ is not about students receiving a laptop, although that is excellent in and of itself. Rather, the program is about ensuring equitable access to education for ALL children, regardless of their unique household situation, and that is a very noble cause that is worth celebrating.
On behalf of MRMS students and families, a huge "SHARK shout-out" to Laptops for KidZ on their 100th donation and thanks for leveling the playing field.
Laptops for KidZ was established in 2010 as a project of the Masonic Angel Foundation. The 100% volunteer-operated program receives laptop donations from local individuals as well as from global corporations. As a non-profit member of the Microsoft Registered Refurbisher program, Laptops for KidZ is able to install Windows 10 Professional on all of its computers.
Many families that receive laptops from the Masonic Angels qualify for Comcast's Internet Essentials program for low-income households.
In addition to Laptops for KidZ, the Masonic Angel Fund chapters at St. Martin's Lodge in Chatham and Pilgrim Lodge in Harwich provide various schools in the Monomoy region with "Beehive School Tools" school supply packages, monthly Beehive Food packages as well as winter coats.