you're reading...

Cornelius News

Digital equity: Computers for Habitat kids

Eric Maldonado, 8, tests his family’s new laptop

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity will provide refurbished laptops for all of its new homeowners with school-aged children, thanks to a partnership with E2D—Eliminate the Digital Divide, another local non-profit. Developing a partnership with E2D was a natural fit.

Founded in 2013, E2D relies on donations of decommissioned laptops from corporations such as Lowe’s, Electrolux, Harris Teeter and Atrium Health. After receiving the technology, the organization repurposes and distributes it to local families in need to ensure that students have affordable access to at-home technology.

“Home-based access to digital technology has become a necessity in schools and in the workplace,” said E2D Co-Founder Pat Millen. “Just having access to a computer at home opens so many doors. Without it, students cannot do their work and struggle to apply to colleges and find job opportunities.  We are delighted to be a part of this powerful collaboration.”

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity distributed its first laptop from E2D this summer, to new homeowners Juan Olvera and Telma Maldonado, whose four school-age children will now have it as resource for their studies.

“We have seen firsthand how affordable housing can change a family’s life and provide more opportunities, particularly for children growing up in a stable home,” said Our Towns Habitat for Humanity CEO Chris Ahearn.

To date, E2D has partnered with 140 schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school (CMS) system and provided laptops for 6,500 for CMS students. The estimated number of people in Charlotte using E2D computers daily is 20,790.

Since 2013 E2D has helped provide over 6,500 digital solutions for low-income families in the Charlotte Region.  E2D obtains laptop donations from generous corporations and refurbishes them to distribute to students.  E2D also helps source low-cost access to broadband solutions as well as provides digital literacy training for its families.

E2D is committed to providing exposure to workforce development opportunities and IT skill training for CMS youth through its Re-Image CLT initiative.  E2D hires, trains and employs some of Charlotte’s most at-risk youth as computer lab technicians to refurbish laptops that will in turn be distributed to their fellow CMS peers. Re-Image CLT labs are located on the campus of Garinger, South Mecklenburg, and West Charlotte High Schools.

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) organization bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope in North Mecklenburg and Iredell Counties. Habitat homeowners build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. In addition to new home construction, Our Towns performs critical home repair services to alleviate serious health, life and safety issues.  To learn more, visit ourtownshabitat.org.  You can also follow Our Towns Habitat on Facebook and Twitter.