Twelve local students will receive refurbished and free computers this week thanks to a city recycling initiative that filters used electronics from the solid waste cycle and uses volunteers to rebuild still-viable parts and pieces into fine-tuned machines.
As a way of recognizing America Recycles Day, observed officially nationwide on Nov. 15, Keep Johnson City Beautiful, in concert with the city’s Solid Waste Division and Information Technology Department, have teamed to participate in the city’s second PC 4 Me program.
The students will be recognized and awarded certificates of recognition by Mayor Jeff Banyas at the City Commission’s Thursday night meeting. The computers will be hand delivered to the students’ homes Friday, said Eva Hunter, Keep Johnson City Beautiful coordinator.
“Children are asked to write an essay on why they need a computer, and we consider what their goals are and how they will be using the computer and choose 12,” she said. “America Recycles Day is just now being recognized in our area. Our goal is to capture components and rebuild the computers. Many computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, CD players, and so on, are found in the area’s waste stream.”
PC 4 Me is a program originated and implemented by the city’s Green Team and is coordinated through Keep Johnson City Beautiful. Its main goal is to rebuild those components while adding necessary new ones, and placing working computer systems back in the community to deserving school-age children.
One complete computer system is awarded to one fifth-grader in each of the city’s elementary schools while two sixth- and seventh-graders from the middle school each receive a system. In order to be eligible for a computer system, the student may not already have a working computer in his or her home. Interested students are asked to write a 100-word essay on “Why I Want a Computer.” The submissions are reviewed and ranked by Keep Johnson City Beautiful volunteers. Essays with the greatest amount of first-place votes from each school then are selected to receive a complete computer system.
Hunter said the city’s IT department employees assemble the computers. The Solid Waste Division and Keep Johnson City Beautiful kicks in funds to supply each student with a printer, paper and ink.
The 2011 PC 4 Me winners are: Haley Locke, Riley Boggs, Cherokee Elementary; BreAnna Johnson, Fairmont Elementary; Durkess Hall, Ann Thomason, Joshua Delgado, Wesley Huff, Indian Trail Middle; Evan Ingle, Jaden Carpenter, Lake Ridge Elementary; Oliva Smotherman, Mountainview Elementary; Alexica Johnson, North Side Elementary; and Isaac Menjivar, Woodland Elementary.
Keep America Beautiful Inc. is the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization with a network of more than 1,200 affiliate and participating organizations. The group forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment.