Comp-U-Dopt, a nonprofit with a mission to provide technology access and education, has recently distributed 500 free computers with the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically shifted the education landscape and pushed school districts to scramble to implement online and distance learning opportunities as campuses remained closed. Yet, a significant portion of the student population still aren’t able to access online tools simply because they don’t have a computer at home.
To help these students, Comp-U-Dopt has set up a computer drive-thru in partnership with the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas to get computers into the hands of children without access to a device at home. These students are at risk of losing months of education opportunity as compared with their peers as schools continue to remain closed.
“One of the biggest barriers to virtual learning is students who don’t have access to computers outside of school,” says Megan Steckly, CEO for Comp-U-Dopt. “We are excited to be partnering with the YMCA to ensure Dallas area students have the tools they need to access distance learning resources. Partnerships like this demonstrate how solvable this issue really is for the community.”
According to the Pew Research Institute, 46% of low-income families lack access to a computer at home and census data points to approximately 13 million families across the United States facing the same challenge. With supply chain delays and the global demand for devices at an all-time high, Comp-U-Dopt’s approach is one of the most efficient and only real viable methods of closing the gap for low-income students.
“Part of the Y’s mission is to serve the families in our community and especially during this difficult time, the Y is here to support and provide for our community in its time of need,” said Curt Hazelbaker, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. “There are so many students that need a computer so they don’t fall behind in their school work. We’re so thankful to Comp-U-Dopt for helping Y families and others in the community that need a helping hand during this time.”
Comp-U-Dopt has served 150 families in late April and are distributing an additional 350 computer this week to area residents in need. Most of these will be distributed through a computer lottery. Parents can register for future distributions on Comp-U-Dot’s website, https://www.compudopt.org/dallas.
Comp-U-Dopt pulls lottery registrants randomly in advance of a distribution based on the inventory they have available, selected families then RSVP for a date and time to pick up their computer at one of their distribution sites. Social distancing and safety protocols are maintained, and the device is placed in the family’s vehicle. Computers are given to families free of charge and Comp-U-Dopt also provides information on free and low-cost internet options that match family’s specific needs.
By the end of May Comp-U-Dopt will have distributed nearly 10,000 computers to families without access across their Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Washington D.C sites. 83% of computer recipients are living in households earning less than $35,000 annually.