Summer 2003

Computer Recycling/Refurbishing in Rural Washington State and at the CTCNet Conference
by Ronda Evans

The conference session on computer recycling and refurbishing for beginners covers successful programs, where to get hardware/software, and what to do with it when you get it. Advice will be offered on designing assessments of what equipment and hardware both organizations and individuals need versus what they think they want.

By developing a model program for the effective use of recycled computers, the RECA Foundation has been working to meet the technology needs of the Tri-Cities community since 1992. It has helped establish 10 technology centers, built and run the Columbia Free-Net, recycled computer equipment to low income families, and helped to build the technology capacity of our local non-profit organizations through low-cost, recycled hardware, and technology planning and training. Supporters and collaborators of RECA and CBPIN include Webbworks, Meier Enterprises, Boss Internet, the Human Services Coalition, the Kennewick School District, and the Mid-Columbia Library.

RECA offers recycled computers at reduced cost to low-income and disabled community members in the Tri-Cities-area. The beginning computer, sold for $100, is designed to help a new user learn to type, read, do math, learn geography, paint, write, and learn basic computer skills. This computer allows users to explore without concern about damage to the computer—an ideal setup for young children, non-English speakers, people with learning disabilities, and adults with no computer experience. The security system, which doesn't allow one to add, delete, or modify system software, protects the computer from costly repairs and maintenance. These refurbished computers include over 20 educational software programs such as: Reader Rabbit, Math Rabbit , The Oregon Trail, Where in Space is Carmen San Diego, Merlin’s Math, Dino Geography, Dino Add/Subtract, Alge-Blaster (Algebra program), Treasure Cove, Letter Chase Typing Tutor, Hoyle’s Book of Games, Paintbrush, and MS Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Notepad).

RECA also offers an Internet-ready computer for $250. This computer provides word processing software and other programs to assist in study and work related activities. Donated Internet accounts are available for eligible students and low income families. Additionally, RECA offers accessibility assistance and computer maintenance and training at reduced rates.

The session complements the Birds of a Feather session for techie-to-techie discussion.

Ronda Evans is President, Co-Founder, and Co-Manager of the RECA Foundation.

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