Updated 06/06/2011 08:32 PM
Local program gives technology access
With each new technological advance, the gap between those who have access to technology and those who don't continues to grow wider. Earlier this year, we told you about a local group working to bridge that gap in Broome County by refurbishing old computers. Our Carmen Perez caught up with the group and found out who is benefiting from the work.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y.--"It's better because sometimes we will get here and want to go on the computer but won't have enough time, but now they are moving faster," said one teen.
Moving faster because the computer lab at the Oasis After School Program just got an upgrade.
Christie Zwahlen, the Digital Divide Project Coordinator, said, "The computers that they were using were so old and outdated, they had so many viruses. Now that they have better computers, they will have access to their teen friends through social media and be able to do their homework and research."
The Bridging the Digital Divide Project donated six refurbished computers to the program. The group gets the computers from donated and recycled electronics. They have been working with community partners and a class at BCC since January to rebuild around 35 computers. The computers will go to area community organizations that lack access to technology.
"Our goal is also to increase computer literacy. Just because someone has one doesn't mean they know how to use it," said Zwahlen.
Some of the teens got to participate in the rebuilding process and they are getting to take home a little something extra.
Jordan Bridges, who is a teen in the Oasis After School Program, said, "We learned a lot of stuff like how to build stuff and clean it out and take it apart."
"We provided them with skills and also gave them better access," said Zwahlen.
The teens who helped rebuild the computers also got to take one home.
"I can have fun on it, get my homework done and look up stuff," said Bridges.
With each refurbished computer, someone's trash turns on a world of possibilities in someone else's future.
The Binghamton Housing Authority, the American Civic Association and the George F. Johnson Dream Center will also benefit from the refurbished computers.
The Digital Divide group will hold another collection event on June 24th at Broome Community College and begin refurbishing computers in the fall.