Seven or so years ago, a retiring Scotia Bank executive in Vancouver, Canada saw an opportunity to give back to the people who were busy making his soon-to-be-retired life more comfortable. As he walked out of his executive door for the last time, he saw multiple computers in the trash bin so he rescued them and, thanks to the willingness of Canada’s West Jet Airlines, was able to ship them to México at no cost. Adding his generosity to the cash donations of others, Friends of Barrón was able to outfit the primary school with its first-ever computer lab. Trash to treasure.
Through the years, others have stepped up to the plate to outfit a computer lab in the secondary school so the matriculating kids could continue their cyber-education. Although FOB actually had to build the classroom as well as supply the computers, again applying donated cash from individuals as well as funds from the EDM Charity Golf Tournament, the computers went on-line.
After the high school opened, our volunteers went to work once again to create a state-of-the-art computer lab there to prepare those same graduating primary school kids, now teenagers, for a changing world. This was how Joe Oviatt chose to feather his retirement nest and those kids are eternally grateful.
But the reality is that those computers that Joe and West Jet brought down were antiquated seven years ago… that’s why Scotia Bank was trashing them. But they were golden to the primary school and they have nursed them and repaired them and learned from them all those years. But folks, while it’s time to acknowledge the contributions those donation made back them, it’s also time to ask for new donations to replace them. There are only nine functioning computers today in the primary school computer lab and the average class size is 30 kids. It just doesn’t work anymore.
Friends of Barrón is fortunate enough to benefit from this years’ Charity Golf tournament but misfortunate enough to be confronted with other realities. While the secondary school’s 127 kids have computers, they only have two toilets. EDM’s $2500 donation is mostly consumed with the construction of four more stalls, adding that money to community in-kind contributions of labor and cash. But there is just not enough left over to buy thirty $290 computers. A ten-thousand-dollar chunk is just too big. But if we could get thirty EDM residents and friends to donate $290 each, we could get that primary school computer lab back into the 21st century and that new crop of fresh-faced kids started along the path of computer literacy.
So check the thickness of your pocketbook. Think about kids who have to choose between working bathrooms and cyber-literacy. If you can find it in your heart to care like Joe Oviatt cared, post a comment and pledge your support. We’ll come find you.