Montcalm Community College students donate computers to help homeless

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 9:43 am on Monday, December 12, 2011

The Electronics club donated 10 computers to be distributed to families and foster homes caring for homeless children.

SIDNEY — Christmas came early for students who lack a computer to finish school work outside of school hours.
Members of the Electronics Club at Montcalm Community College (MCC) were searching for a way to give back to the community this fall. They decided the best way was to  refurbish computers for homeless students.
The club, which consists of six members and meets every Monday night, gave back 10 working computers to the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) this week. The computers were out of date and donated to the school district.
“We’re an electronics club, so naturally we decided to do something with computers,” MCC Electronics Club President Kyle Ignatoski said. “When we asked, ‘Who would want computers?’ the homeless shelter answered immediately.”
Brenda Greenhoe, homeless services grant director for the MAISD, was elated with the 10 refurbished personal computers she received to give her clients.
“If I didn’t have a skirt on, I’d be doing cartwheels,” Greenhoe said. “Many of my students live in homes with relatives, some are in foster care, but most of them have no opportunity or place to go to write papers for class or gather information.”
Greenhoe said as technology has improved over the years, expectations on how student turn in their schoolwork has changed as well. She said most teachers require papers to be typed and printed from a computer or handed in electronically by email.
“These computers will allow families who have taken in homeless students to provide for these students, allowing them do their work at school, put their information on an external jump drive and then continue to do their schoolwork at home,” Greenhoe said.
The 10 computers will be distributed to various homeless shelters, families, foster homes and to the Relief After Violent Encounters (RAVE) battered women’s center in Greenville.
“These computers will provide a critical recourse so these kids won’t fall behind in their studies,” Greenhoe said. “This whole process was a great project for MCC students to provide for future MCC students.”
The electronics club originally only intended to donate six computers, but refurbished 10 working computers for Greenhoe to distribute thanks to extra donations.
“This was a project these students chose,” Greenhoe said. “What they have done is just amazing. To come up with something like this is pretty remarkable. It makes such a difference.”
Greenhoe said with the amount of time needed outside the classroom to finish schoolwork, many of her students had nowhere to turn once schools were closed for the day.
“The students can now save their work away from school and then return to school the next day to print their assignment or email it from the school,” she said.
Greenhoe said she couldn’t be happier for the new opportunity her students now have to work from a computer outside of the classroom.
“The world is becoming so competitive in the work force, it’s a horrible travesty facing our next generation, not having the tools available to allow these students to succeed.” she said. “These computers will hopefully help to level the playing field for these students.”

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