Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All the Magic I could Giveaway

When I saw the opportunity to enter Casey’s (at moosh in indy) HP Magic Giveaway, I wanted to enter right away. Then I saw what she was requiring of her entries. She is looking for someone with a heart of gold to receive this prize. The recipient is supposed to tell about what they will do with all the computers, because one person does not need that many computers on their own. I totally agree, Casey!

And after I read that, I knew that I had the perfect reason to enter. This is not something that I’ve discussed in much length here on my blog, but I will have to in order to fully explain what this gift of computers could mean for me.

Many of my readers/friends here know that I do some tutoring. Actually what I do is tutor for an after-school program at a low-income housing complex. I have been working at the after-school program (ASP) for four years now.

The families at this site are low-income (or no income, as I’ve been surprised to learn that many of them are) and they must meet guidelines in order to come live there. Then our center runs different programs for the residents there. There is a GED program that happens during the day. There are computers available for people taking online courses or looking for jobs. And the biggest thing we do is the ASP that I am involved in.

We currently have about 30 students, grade K-6 (the older kids go to an off-site program that is very similar). This is the largest group that we’ve had since I started there over 4 years ago. We have a LOT of kids. They come right to us when they get off the buses from school. Then we help them with their homework, feed them a snack, and have other fun activities for them.

The other helpers there include a center director, an ASP coordinator, two group leaders, two college student helpers, and a reading tutor (me). I am on staff as a licensed teacher to help with literacy for our students. I help with homework (as does everyone else), then I also work one-on-one with students to enhance reading skills, comprehension, etc.

We all enjoy working with the children. These are kids from broken families. They don’t have much, usually. We know they get free lunch at school (all our kids are applicable for that) and a snack from us, but beyond that who knows if they eat much at home. Many of the parents only do what they have to do with these kids to help them get by. They sometimes let them wander in and out as they please. We know that we are many times the only support, caring, and love that those kids get in a day.

Recently the apartment complex remodeled the apartments and built a new office building. This totally displaced where our center was located. Our center was previously two apartments that had been converted into one big center complete with small offices. And we also had a little apartment upstairs that we used for the younger children. When the remodeling began, we were moved. First the younger kids were moved to a different apartment. Then our offices were moved, and now we are all working out of the community room. And our two directors are working out of a storage closet. This presents quite a problem when one of those people is handicap and in a wheelchair. But these ladies continue on and do what they can with what they have.
Many of our supplies are packed away in boxes and stored in our small outdoor shed. There are days when we have very little to entertain the children. And when you have 30 kids and only 10 operating computers, we can’t always use those either. Most times the older kids get first dibs on the computers, and the younger ones have a chance at them on Friday afternoons.

We use what we have for the ASP. That’s pretty much our motto. But seeing this giveaway made me very excited that I could help our center out. We will soon be moving into a newly remodeled room (small, but nice, and complete with offices for our directors) that all of us will be in together again. I would love to give these directors and students this computer equipment to be about to do work and homework better. We do have some laptops, but the truth is they are all outdated and seeing some wear. The directors don’t have their own computers. The ones they did have were old and not working well. They are currently using the laptops intended for the children, which gives us a fewer computers to use for the kids.

If I won this contest, I would give the majority of the prize straight to the center. I know that our directors and students would be blessed so much with these computers. This is something that we desperately need and can’t afford. We are financed by local grants and over the last few years those have become smaller and smaller. We’re lucky that we have what we do. Just think of all the things that the students can do with brand new computers and other equipment.

Honestly, this isn’t something that we need here at home. We could use a new printer (and I’d be tempted to keep one of the computers), but the rest of the prize would go to help everyone at the center.

P.S. The contest closed several hours after I submitted this entry. Unfortunately I didn't win. Maybe next time.


d e v a n said...

I hope you win!

Kelsey said...

I'll cross my fingers for you!

Jana said...

I really hope you win! Is there anything we can do to convince the giver to pick you?

Nowheymama said...

This makes me weepy. Win! Win! Win!

Mommy Brain said...

I'm reading this a little late. I kept thinking about how you totally deserve to win and how the suspense would kill me waiting to find out. Until I realized the contest ended two days ago and she announced the winner already. Sorry you didn't win but keep up the great work you're doing!

desperate housewife said...

Man, you should have won! If I had a dozen computers sitting around, I would totally give them to you!

Mommy Daisy said...

P.S. The contest closed several hours after I submitted this entry. Unfortunately I didn't win. Maybe next year.