WEIRTON - A variety of area organizations are receiving some slightly used computers, free of charge, thanks to a government program and the efforts of the Weirton Christian Center.
Thirty-nine nonprofit organizations are receiving the computers, which were made available by the Social Security Administration. The distribution of the computers took place Monday in the city.
After learning of the program during an AmeriCorps VISTA meeting in Flatwoods, W.Va., Weirton Christian Center Executive Director Kim Weaver began to work toward acquiring the computers for children at the center, many of whom do not have access to computers at home.
DONATIONS — Volunteers on Monday helped to unload computers being made available for numerous nonprofit organizations in the region. The computers are being made available to the agencies for free by the Social Security Administration, and previously were used by the government.
"The Christian Center plans to give their students an opportunity to earn one of these computers to take home, by faithfully attending life skills classes, as part of the Center's Journey Project," Weaver said. "(Kindergarten through fourth-grade) students will receive manners, and computer access and keyboard software, middle school will learn Microsoft programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and high school will be trained in those, as well as job-training skills."
Staff member Maranda Matheny already has started these classes during the after-school program, according to Weaver.
"Parents will play a part in this by volunteering at the center in any way they can, and we will also offer computer training to them at the center or the Mary H. Weir Library," Weaver said.
The computers had to be picked up in Baltimore, so, in an effort to share costs and include other agencies in the distribution, Weaver informed nonprofits in the region through the Weirton United Way, Brooke-Hancock Family Resource Network and United in Christ.
Eventually, requests for 2,200 computers had been received for organizations as far as Charleston.
Monday's delivery included 1,644 computers and 850 monitors, which were distributed at an ArcelorMittal warehouse.
The 39 agencies receiving computers included local parochial schools and Hancock County Schools, the Weirton Medical Center Foundation, Wheeling Youth Services, as well as after-school programs, church programs, libraries, domestic violence centers and senior programs.
The computer distribution program is available year-round to nonprofits. Microsoft also provided special discounted software for the Windows Operating System and Microsoft Office for each of these computers, which were wiped clean by the Social Security Administration.