On August 13th, Masonic Angel Foundation volunteers Mathew Vyse, Joshua Bean and Joshua's son Danny traveled to Exeter, Rhode Island to pick up the laptops at Carousel's regional facility there. "We had a wonderful experience at Carousel. They were very welcoming, interested in our program and excited to hear about how the computers would be used," reported Mathew Vyse. Vyse has volunteered with the Masonic Angel Foundation for six years, ever since he moved to Orleans from Idaho. Josh Bean joined Universal Masonic Lodge in Orleans just a few months ago but has become a highly active volunteer with the MAF's food and school supply distribution programs.
The volunteer technicians of the Laptops for KidZ project (LFK) refurbish donated Windows laptops or Chromebooks and then place them with area schools to be sent home with children who do not have computer access outside school hours.
LFK's volunteers wipe the hard drive on each incoming machine, make necessary repairs to the laptop and then configure it with a fresh Windows 10 Professional license they Masonic Angel Foundation (MAF) receives as a non-profit member of the Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Program. Each laptop comes with Apache OpenOffice, Avast! antivirus and Adobe Reader pre-installed.
School staff manage the selection and assignment of recipients. LFK/MAF volunteers never learn the identity of the children who receive their laptops.
"The laptops received from Carousel were especially nice," reports MAF president and co-founder Robert Fellows. "These are Dell Latitudes with an i5 processor, 8 gigs of memory and a solid state drive. They are fast, rugged and powerful." A significant number of the Carousel laptops will be delivered to Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, where many of the applications the students use demand a powerful machine.
Indeed, the first fifteen of the Carousel laptops will be heading to Cape Cod Tech. The next two batches of 15 will be placed at Monomoy Regional Middle School and Barnstable Intermediate School. Three machines have already been allocated to children served by Justice Resource Institute. The rest will likely be spoken for long before they come out of the refurbishing shop.
“As a large organization, we have the privilege of witnessing first-hand the transformation that technology can provide to communities,” said Scott Moody, VP of IT, Carousel. “In our steadfast commitment to support the communities in which our team members live, work, and play, it is truly an honor we could provide these machines to Laptops for KidZ to help our future technologists and leaders succeed.”
The Masonic Angel Foundation started the Laptops for KidZ project in 2010. They have placed nearly 3,000 laptops throughout Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts. All devices are delivered to schools that partner with a Masonic Angel Foundation chapter in their district. There is absolutely no charge for Laptops for KidZ computers.
Many students who receive Laptops for KidZ computers qualify for Comcast's "Internet Essentials" $9.95/month broadband access program.
Many area school administrators have praised the Laptops for KidZ project for helping to "level the playing field" for children from financially-challenged homes. Students without home computer access often suffer a competitive disadvantage in their studies - or are forced to stay at school into the evening to get all their online work completed.
If you would like to donate a Windows laptop or a Chromebook, please visit www.laptopsforkidZ.org.