Student repairs computers for needy
A few months ago, Chris Peterson was working as a computer repair technician when he decided to utilize his skills to help out a local non-profit. His decision has helped place over 1,000 computers in the hands of well-deserving children and adults in communities across Houston.
Comp-U-Dopt is a non-profit organization that offers donated computers and technology education to children in underserved communities.
“When people who can perform particular tasks are willing to give a few hours a week, it makes a great deal of difference,” Peterson said. “With so many students at UH studying to get out in the world, why not find a non-profit that matches your goals and give them a hand.”
Peterson, an industrial design major, is working towards a second UH degree and volunteers for Comp-U-Dopt, that was founded in 2007 by international technology lawyer John Osha of Houston.
“So far, simply being there to help with the problems they could not solve (has been the most rewarding part),” Peterson said. “There were, and are, many computers that are awaiting some repair. Without the ability to fix these units, they simply wait.”
Erin Powers, a member of the Comp-U-Dopt Board of Directors, said the organization encourages the development of technology skills for children, promotes computer reuse and better stewardship of the environment.
“The organization has extraordinary momentum,” Powers said. “Hundreds more children are on the waiting list. Corporate and individual donations of computers, financial support and time can make an immediate difference in a child’s life.”
While assisting the organization in repairing and refurbishing computers, Peterson realized that many families cannot afford computers, which is something he said he believes students take for granted.
“They seem to be all around us and it’s quite odd to think some people don’t have at least one in the home,” Peterson said. “Sadly, even resale non-profits such as Goodwill sell old computers at a cost too high for some.”
Once a computer is adopted, Comp-U-Dopt also provides support to its recipients. If a computer stops functioning properly, they can bring it in to be checked out.
The organization relies on the time and talent of its supporters.
“Volunteers like Chris help foster educational inspiration in local children,” Powers said. “Like many in the UH community, Chris has a full schedule with school and work, but makes time for community service. His work refurbishing donated computers reflects his dedication to helping children acquire increasingly necessary technology skills. Everyone at Comp-U-Dopt is grateful for his service.”
The organization works with retired and professional volunteers statewide and also students from UH, Rice, Texas A&M and Texas State universities.
Peterson encourages UH students to find a place where they can give back to the community.
“For all the computer science students, Comp-U-Dopt would make a great place to utilize computer knowledge for a good cause,” Peterson said.
Comp-U-Dopt continues to strive to help the community one refurbished computer at a time, and to constantly keep growing and helping others as an organization.
“As of this week, more than 1,900 children and adults are using refurbished computers donated by companies and individuals,” Powers said. “We hope to provide computers to 3,000 children and adults in 2011.”