released offenders

3 years 7 months 1 week ago Friday, February 14 2014 Feb 14, 2014 Friday, February 14, 2014 8:57:00 AM CST February 14, 2014 in News
By: Megan Schultz, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - A new program through Columbia Public Schools allows high school students to give back to low-income families, and get a grade for it.

Through the "Repair it Forward" program, high school students repair donated computers and then give them to low-income families. Students learn to repair computers in their "A Plus IT Essentials" class at the Columbia Area Career Center.

David Hopkins who teaches the class said the Career Center goes through other organizations to connect with families who need computers, but he said he hopes the Career Center can have its own donation drives in the spring.

One of the organizations Hopkins donates to is the Voluntary Action Center, which will have its eleventh annual "Homes for Computers" drive Saturday.

"Homes for Computers" donates 30 computers to families inside the Columbia city limits that have at least one school-aged child and meet the income requirements.

The Voluntary Action Center used to rely on the Downtown Optimist Club and the City of Columbia's refurbishing technicians, but this is the first year the Voluntary Action Center will also use the Career Center's students to repair the computers.

"They've started helping clean up the computers because what they do is they completely wipe out the computers and refurbish them," said Jackie Wilmes, a social services specialist at the Voluntary Action Center. "They wipe out all of the information on the computer and put in a few more programs. There's one program they put on that is similar to Word and that reverts to Word when opened so the children still have something they can do like homework assignments."

"It's a good experience for the students," said Hopkins. "They get to actually work on real computers and it gives them a sense of community. They get to give back to the needy."

As technology becomes more prevalent in the academic environment, Wilmes said making sure homes have at least one computer is more important than ever.

"It's really important especially now with schools going to more technology-based assignments," said Wilmes. "If a child doesn't have a computer in the home sometimes it can be very stressful to the parent to figure out where the child is going to complete this homework, how are they going to complete this homework, kind of relieve some of the stress for the family to know that they have a computer in home and are able to do some of that in the home now."

Hopkins and Wilmes both agree that providing computers to low-income families could create a positive cycle, allowing students to get better grades in school, which could lead to college scholarships.

"We may just be giving them a refurbished computer but that could allow a child to have time to do their homework, could increase their grades in school, and lead them on to understanding that 'hey I like doing this stuff' and maybe encourage them to continue on to do something else in their future," said Wilmes.

The computers don't just help the students.

"There are parents that may be applying for jobs or filing their taxes, or they have more than one school-aged child," said Hopkins. "One computer can affect several lives."

Wilmes agrees.

"They might have the barrier of 'well how do I get to somewhere that has a computer? How do I get to the library because maybe I don't have transportation of my own and I have to use the bus system and that might be hard to rely on when you have kids,'" said Wilmes. "It's just a nice thing to be able to relieve a little bit of that stress so that maybe they can stay home and do it on their own computer."

She said the Voluntary Action Center has recognized that computers have negative consequences in addition to the positive consequences associated with them.

"When we distribute we also provide an Internet safety training for families so they better understand what that computer is also bringing into their home and what risks it might create in the home that they haven't experienced before because they didn't have a computer," said Wilmes.

If you would like to donate your computer to "Repair it Forward," contact David Hopkins at dhopkins@columbia.k12.mo.us.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Charity bikers gathered in Centralia today to show support for a young sexual assault survivor. At least... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 7:05:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Cooper's Landing had its first Rock n' Roll River Festival Saturday, where families enjoyed food, a fun atmosphere... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 4:35:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
CAMDENTON - The goal of the seventh annual Lake of the Ozarks Air Show on Saturday was to salute veterans.... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 4:14:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Central Missouri chapter of Parents of Murdered Children and Missouri Missing hosted a memorial picnic Saturday... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 3:55:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri has one of the lowest enrollment rates when it comes to the 529 College Savings Plan.... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 3:28:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Today MU, Auburn, Clemson and LSU are announcing their partnership in the U.S. Tiger University Consortium. Clemson president... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 3:16:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in Top Stories
EVERTON (AP) — Missouri school districts that adopted a four-day school week in recent years are not finding the savings... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 2:14:48 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A school district in Kansas City is praising a bus driver for safely getting 34 children... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 2:10:35 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An undercover police officer and an Air Force lieutenant were among the 120 people who were... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 2:07:00 PM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Latter House Kingdom Ministries of Columbia will host their tenth annual Fall Festival today at the... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, September 23 2017 Sep 23, 2017 Saturday, September 23, 2017 7:59:00 AM CDT September 23, 2017 in News
ELDON - The people of Eldon are rallying around a family whose son suffered a spinal injury during football practice... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 7:31:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – A local gym held a fundraiser Friday night, and all it asked for was five minutes. But... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 7:03:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - One person is dead and three more are injured after a two vehicle crash on I-70. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 5:53:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Planned Parenthood is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate an appeals court order that slowed... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 5:47:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Gov. Eric Greitens will begin his first trade mission Saturday when he and First Lady Sheena... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 5:20:15 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Thirteen-year-old Jackson Morton was diagnosed with cancer in December 2016. "You can't even describe the emotion at... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 4:58:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Jefferson City Public Schools Superintendent Larry Linthacum released a letter addressing the three students who posted a picture... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 4:05:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Orthopaedic Institute is now offering a free sports clinic called Friday Night Lights. Sports physicians... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 22 2017 Sep 22, 2017 Friday, September 22, 2017 3:15:00 PM CDT September 22, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
6am 69°
7am 69°
8am 72°
9am 76°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
Open House
5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
Peter Popoff Miracle Ministry

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
6:00p
The Karate Kid III
8:00p
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy