OlyPen has provided 85 computers for nonprofits, but the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula and other agencies see the need to grow past what’s available. At one point, the Sequim club had three computers that were able to connect to the Internet. Volunteers and employees piecemeal parts to keep them running for club members.
by MATTHEW NASH Sequim Gazette
As computers age and budgets shrink, the high cost of upgrades might force nonprofits to wait for the economy to rebound or a miracle to appear.
OlyPen’s Computer Donation Program has stepped in to help by donating about 85 computers and an undetermined amount of accessories since starting less than a year ago.
The high demand has left some of their tech resources dry.
“The two major things we’ve ran low on or out of are the Windows operating systems like Windows XP or Vista and RAM (Random Access Memory),” said Chris Lelle, business manager for OlyPen.
“Most of the donations we’ve received are too old to use the parts from to make a good PC to donate to the community.”
Groups like the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, OlyCap, North Olympic Foster Parent Association and Healthy Families of Clallam County continue to wait as combined they’ve requested more than 30 computers.
See more CPUs Since the program began, Kiwanis Club of Sequim-Dungeness has worked with OlyPen to find donors and recipients.
Kiwanis member Shell McGuire said they have tapped into several resources for donations, most recently through Microsoft for operating systems.
His hope is they’ll receive at least 40 operating systems like Windows XP or Windows 7, the newest operating system for PCs.
If the grant falls through, McGuire said they’ve considered refurbishing computers by purchasing hardware and operating systems but this would cost about $125 per computer.
“No one seems willing to step forward with this,” McGuire said.
“The hope is to get some response from Microsoft and find these donations.”
Club computers The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula received a grant similar to the Kiwanis request worth $18,000 for new operating systems and word processing programs.
Due to the age and condition of their computers, the programs are not compatible.
Husband and wife team Byron and Ashley Woolsey, who run the Sequim club’s computer lab, said they have 14 working computers and at one point only three that connected to the Internet. “In my opinion, there’s less than a year before all these computers fail,” Byron said.
The computers were donated by Peninsula College several years ago but, due to their age, Byron must take parts from nonfunctioning computers to keep the others going.
The clubs saw cutbacks in technology and infrastructure, so replacement is dependent on donations of newer equipment or money specifically for technology.
The lab is a popular place for 40-50 children as they use programs that teach typing, computer skills and repair, Internet surfing safety and provide a place for online homework.
Due to the low number of working computers, children wait 30 minutes or longer for a computer even with shifts.
Ashley said other than in school, this is the only place many of the children have access to a computer.
Computers are microchip in community Donations from OlyPen have gone to families, nonprofit businesses and needy individuals from Forks to Port Townsend.
North Olympic Foster Parent Association’s former president Carol Pope said five computers foster families received made a difference for the children who need them for schoolwork and keeping up their computer skills.
“I think it provides stability in providing learning and not having to go and use computers elsewhere. It gives them more time to be at home,” Pope said.
“Families have thought it was fantastic they are doing this because they wouldn’t have been able to get one otherwise.”
“We hope that when people in the community look at upgrading to better PCs and laptops, they will donate their older equipment to OlyPen so we can put it to good use,” Lelle said.
To donate a computer or to be considered for a donation, contact Chris Lelle at 683-1456 or email@example.com or bring it between 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday or 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday to 245 E. Washington St., Sequim.
Receipts for tax purposes are available through Kiwanis of Sequim-Dungeness.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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