Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TAYLOR Daily Press Article

Taylor Daily Press published an article about the BEEP (Basic Electronics Essentials Program) we hosted at TH Johnson middle school. It was exciting & satisfying to see the children leave with very nice desktop systems & also with the skills to use them. Full story below :

TAYLOR DAILY PRESS / Tuesday, March 15, 2011

 M.P. "Putty" Collins likes that the kids in his program are destructive.

 "I loved that they had no inhibitions about breaking them open, that they were all like, 'Yeah, let's break these open and see what's inside'," Collins, the CEO, president and co-founder of the educational nonprofit, Computers4Kids!, said. "That really makes me feel good that they want to do this."

 But these kids are tearing apart technology, and it's not with an angsty destroy-anything-in-sight mentality; it's for the purpose of learning.

 Friday, Collins and his team hosted a Basic Electronics Essentials Program (BEEP) at T.H. Johnson Elementary for 20 third through ninth-graders, selected by local churches for the program. After taking apart the desktop computers, the kids were taught how to put them back together, given basic software knowledge and then allowed to take them home after the four-hour course.

 "Our mission is to increase TAKS scores, so we address the needs primarily of low TAKS performing schools," said Collins, whose program was brought to Taylor after he was approached by John Matthews, the coordinator of family services for Taylor Independent School District. "It's just a great educational tool."

 Matthews assisted Collins in finding the space, time and students to complete the course.

 "They seemed to like it a lot. (The students) were excited to get the machines," said Matthews who, like Collins, would like to focus the program on third-graders to be able to track the effectiveness of having a computer on a student's educational progress. "We're going to try to keep this momentum going. It's a great program. I'd like to see it done in May, like four or five times."

 Computers4Kids!, which was founded in 1999, provides computers for free or at discounted rates for students and families of students around Texas. The program holds educational courses, offers tech support to families and teachers, refurbishes donated hardware and recycles unusable systems. With thousands of computers given away each year, many of the donations come from government agencies.

 "In order to be viable in the workforce and viable in school, you need to have the latest educational resources at your disposal. The way you can do that is with a computer," said Collins, who added that the computers given to TISD students were donated by the Texas Legislative Council, the attorney general's office and Texas Health and Human Resources. "If you don't know or understand computers, you are going to be left out. They are what has changed the world."

 Collins and his crew also sell computers at about half of their retail value to students and their parents out of their warehouse in Austin. To get more information about Computers4Kids! or find out how to donate, visit their website at

 Though Matthews selected these students by inquiring at local churches, community members are encouraged to nominate kids to be involved in the program the next time it comes to town. To do so, call John Matthews at (513) 365-2278.

 "I thought those students were extremely receptive. I think they are truly appreciative for those computers, and I had many of the parents that were there thanking us," said Collins, who added that there are always computers available to be given away. "They're not getting something for nothing. They are sharing in the experience. They are giving us their attention and interest to show that they are worthy of getting these computers, and that they understand the value of them."