It takes a volunteer to get a 'free' computer

Volunteer Derek Bolstad, 16, works on one of the computers from the "Every Home a  Classroom" program that is offered through ComputerCorps in Carson City. Bolstad is  taking part in the program that makes it  possible for people to exchange  community  service for a free computer  system.   Chad Lundquist/ Nevada Appeal

Volunteer Derek Bolstad, 16, works on one of the computers from the "Every Home a Classroom" program that is offered through ComputerCorps in Carson City. Bolstad is taking part in the program that makes it possible for people to exchange community service for a free computer system. Chad Lundquist/ Nevada Appeal

The "Every Home a Classroom" program offered through ComputerCorps in Carson City has put more than 6,000 computers into homes where children otherwise may not have one.

ComputerCorps launched the program six years ago in which a home with school-aged children can obtain a "free" computer system - monitor, keyboard, mouse and other equipment - in return for community service rather than cash.

"There are 140,000 K- through 12th-grade children in the state of Nevada without a home computer," said Ron Norton, president of ComputerCorps. "About 6,000 children now have computers.

The computers donated to ComputerCorps are upgraded and repaired before being given away by the non nonprofit organization, founded to eliminate e-waste and help children in disadvantaged circumstances.

Norton said there are four ways to get a computer system. The first is "Every Home a Classroom," through schools. The family contacts a school counselor who works with ComputerCorps to get information about the student and his/her family.

"Each member of the family (9 years of age or older) who uses the computer is asked to donate 10 hours of community service at the organization of their choice," Norton said. "It can be a school, church or their favorite nonprofit."

Requirements for a free system, via schools, are: There is no working computer in the home; there is a financial need; the family has been residents of the community for six months; and each member of the family (age 9 and older) who uses the computer, must contribute 10 hours of community service.

Through volunteering, Every Home a Classroom has three ways to get a computer. The first is to volunteer for 48 hours and get a computer system; second, volunteer 24 hours and donate $50 to help further ComputerCorps' mission; the third, is to volunteer for four hours and donate $100.

"These are used systems and equivalent in price of about $200-$250 in a retail environment," Norton said. "Or you can buy the same system in our thrift store at around $125 to $150."

Norton is one of the founders of ComputerCorps. The group started with two volunteers in the basement of the Darling Ranch House in east Carson City. Since it founding, more than 2,000 volunteers have volunteer more than 250,000 hours to the corps' projects.

The group also accepts donations of unwanted and outdated computers that would normally become e-waste.

For information on Every Home a Classroom or to download documents, go to www.computercorps.org or call 883-2323.

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

Need help?

WHAT: Every Home a Classroom program (how to get a 'free' computer)

WHERE: Via schools or volunteering with ComputerCorps

CALL: 883-2323

On the Net

www.computercorps.org

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