When April Simpkins first learned that state schools would be closing and students would shift to distance learning, her first thought was, “What about the kids who don’t have computers at home?”
Simpkins felt an immediate responsibility to provide for those students.
As a small business owner, Simpkins replaces her staffs’ computers every two to three years to keep up with the changes in technology – leaving her with more than enough.
“I had a stack of computers in my home that weren’t being used at all,” said Simpkins. “I’ve always intended to donate the computers. I just never got around to it.”
For Simpkins, donating the computers meant more than just getting rid of old inventory.
As a child, she was raised by a single parent, and her access to resources and opportunities was limited.
“We would have been one of those families who didn’t have a computer in our home,” said Simpkins. “I’ve never forgotten the kindness and generosity of friends, our church and our family. My community planted seeds in me and set an example of the importance and the power of giving.
Simpkins isn’t alone in her efforts. The seven computers she donated contained sensitive data and the hard drives needed to be erased. After putting out a request on social media for help wiping the computers, Simpkins received several offers from volunteers, including her 12-year-old son.
“It really touched me because he didn’t know how to wipe a computer, but wanted to do something to help other families,” said Simpkins. “I’m so proud of my son for trying and so appreciative of my neighbor for helping.”
In addition to helping clean the computers’ hard drives, Simpkins’ neighbor also upgraded the operating systems.
With support from the community, Simpkins found homes for all the computers. She believes the donations will not only help students complete their virtual school assignments but also eliminate the feeling of isolation that they receive from not having technology in the home.
“It makes room for research through the web and connecting with classmates using virtual meeting technology,” said Simpkins. “No kid should experience that [feeling left out] during a time in our country where self-quarantine and isolation have become the norm.”
Simpkins’ hope during the wake of the coronavirus outbreak is that the spirit of support and assistance lives on in the community.
“I hope the community continues to recognize those who are going above and beyond to serve our community, she said. “Maybe hearing about it will inspire others, like
me, to take action.”
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