In this modern computer age, it’s easy to forget that some families don’t have the money to buy a computer, software or accessories. This is a problem for several reasons, the worst of which is that the kids that grow up in such homes are getting left behind their more financially well off peers, which can create a permanent gap that many will never be able to recover from. This is particularly problematic in school where some districts use and expect students to have computers, but the students can’t afford them. Of course, it’s also a problem where very few if any of the kids in a district have or have access to a computer because it limits their learning opportunities.
Fortunately, there are some avenues that some low income families can take to help get them computers, or at least access so that they won’t get left behind.
Community assistance centers are likely the best prospect; whether in poor rural districts or urban inner cities, community assistance centers exist mostly through donations from people who do have the resources to do so. These centers provide all manner of assistance, one of which is giving away computers or selling them at very low rates, or at the least, offering them computer and sometimes Internet access at the centers themselves.
Another possibility is the Computer Recycling Center, whereby a group of volunteers collects computers and parts from people that give them away, refurbish them, and then give them away to people or organizations that need them. One advantage of this group is that the computers can be mailed directly to the person or group in need.
Also, there is an organization known as Computers 4 kids, that helps low income people find and obtain computer equipment for students that are at risk and in dire need of assistance.
There is also a group called Freecycle that collects computers, parts and peripherals, refurbishes them if need be, and then sends them to people or organizations that need them. One drawback here though is they are an online operation, so if you don’t have access, you’re sort of out of luck.
Another resource for many students is the local library; though the type and quality of the equipment may vary depending on the county or city budget. This is a particularly good resource for kids who live in rural areas but are able to get to the local library from their school.
And finally, the local school is also a good way to get kids on computers, though it won’t help their parents much. Many schools, both rural and urban have computer labs set up for students to use to complete their class assignments and to learn how to use those computers.