"ComputerCorps Volunteers Love Their Work"
BY AMANDA HAMMON, Appeal Staff Writer, April 8, 2001
For Chris 16, volunteering at ComputerCorps has given him more than the ability to piece together a computer.
The Douglas High School student used to have problems staying out Of the juvenile probation system. Referred to ComputerCorps two years ago, he's straightened up, and his fellow volunteers call him a "techie genius"
This gives me focus," Chris said. "It has helped me learn a lot, not just about computers, but how to become a decent human being."
FOR YOUR INFORMATION:
For information on Computer Corps call 883-2323, or head to the Web at www.computercorps.org.
Computer Corps, a nonprofit group dedicated to making computers and computer skills available to everyone, is readying its new training, donation, recycling and service center in east Carson City to be open to the public by June.
Saturday, however, past, present and potential future volunteers wandered through the Corps' 40,000-square-feet of space. The group started moving in September, but took an opportunity Saturday to introduce volunteers to the new facility.
Chris has been working at the site, helping to rebuild computers in the new service center. The old service center at the Corps' Morgan Mill road office was disorganized with things always getting lost. The new facility is a huge step.
In a tour of the two, 20,000- square-foot buildings, Program Director Ron Norton can't help but points out everything – and he really means everything – in the building is donated.
From monitors, hard drives and printers filling one 20,000- square-foot warehouse and the sound system taken the Corps' old Lucky drugstore site to the bright red patterned casi- no carpet and the office furniture, ComputerCorps is an operation cobbled together with donations.
Since the Corps opened in 1998, 500 volunteers have donated. more than 50,000 hours to put more than 1,500 computer systems back into the community. More than 7,000 hours of training have been provided to those willing to learn and more than 5,000 computers have been kept from being thrown into landfills by recycling.
It keeps senior volunteers like Burt Cobb off the streets, he joked. At one point, he had never used a computer. Cobb can now strip a computer to its barest parts and has a computer at home.
Proficient at using the Internet, Cobb said volunteering up to 25 hours a week fixing computers beats sitting at home in from of the computer.
Liana Hagui, 25, came to Carson City from Brazil about two years ago. A neighbor got her involved with ComputerCorps, and before long, Hagui was teaching classes and writing curriculum for the Corps' computer training programs. Now, she and her boyfriend, Anthony Masini, spend their Saturdays volunteering.
It’s funny. In college, I was afraid to give a speech, she said. "But when I came here, they gave me the opportunity to teach, and I like that. The best part is teaching seniors. They really want to learn and you see the sparkles in their eyes. It's rewarding."
Anyone can volunteer 100 hours with ComputerCorps and with a small donation, receive a computer in return. Norton said the Corps has about 90 volunteers, but could use 200. While the Corps has moved into their new space, monetary donations would be gratefully accepted as the group is still figuring out exactly how they're going to pay the rent Norton said.
"You wouldn't believe the number of people we're affecting," Norton said. People interested in donating can call 883-2323. For information, head to the Web at www.computercorps.org.