BOULDER - When computers on the University of Colorado campus become obsolete, that does not mean they are going to waste. Students are running a program called Computers to Youth to update these machines and give them to low income kids.
"People don't realize like how much damage it does just by throwing away your computer in a landfill," Basheer Mohamed, sophomore engineering major at CU.
Mohamed is part of a group of students running Computers to Youth which runs day camps for students from inner city schools to teach them about campus life and how to refurbish old campus computers which they can take home.
"This is exactly what they would be getting, a computer used 2 or 3 years ago," Mohamed said.
Dave Newport is the director of CU's Environmental Center. Newport says the campus has more than 10,000 computers which eventually have to be replaced.
"The turnover of computers here is pretty robust," Newport said.
He says Computers to Youth is a win for the university and the younger students receiving the computers.
"It helps protect the environment. It reduces cost," Newport said. "But, the best part is, it empowers students."
It empowers students like Mohamed. He is originally from the Sudan. He moved to Denver and attended CEC MIddle College of Denver. He could never afford a computer until receiving one from this program while he was in high school.
"My family never had a computer, so being able to bring one home," Mohamed said. "Between us and more privileged kids, it was really hard to keep up with them."
He says having his own computer changed his life. He was able to succeed in school and find his passion.
"It sparked my interest for engineering," Mohamed said.
He was also able to use his computer to seek out and apply for scholarships which are now paying for his entire college tuition. That's why he is part of the program, to help students like himself. He does not know where he would be without this program.
"If anything, I'd probably be going to a community college if not just working," Mohamed said. "I don't want to know where I would've been without it."
So far, the program has given away more than 400 computers, monitors or other supplies. Computers to Youth is looking for help from the public. It is running a crowd funding campaign. If you want to find out more click here: http://www.colorado.edu/crowdfunding/?cfpage=project&project_id=10920.
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