Lots of people use computers at work and school, but can't afford to have one of their own. New River Valley reporter Orlando Salinas found some college students who rehab old computers and then give them away.
Our story begin inside the computer lab at New River Community College's satellite campus in Christiansburg. That's where students formed a computer club that Information Technology Professor Dr. Dave Fifer said began with a little collegiate thievery.
"Sure I'm a firm believer in stealing great ideas in education"
Fifer said he proudly stole the computer club idea from another community college. The point is simple; repair computers and then give them away to fellow students.
"And this is the really exciting part. When we give a deserving student one of those computers, it's not just a computer for them, it's for the entire family."
The computer club began this year and recently gave away its first 5 computers, while turning away 125 other students who said they couldn't afford one.
d'riche York and Erika Leonguerrero are students and club members. Both stood with tools in their hands and tried one thing after another to fix a desktop computer. Eventually they figured it out.
"Probably the story for the computer club is 'help us out'' said d'Riche. '' Yeah it's a lot we have' added Leonguerrero' 'it's what we need and don't have to work with at this moment."
Laptops, desktops, notebooks, ipads, the NRCC computer club doesn't care. They want them all.
Student Phillip Mcelraft is a club member who said he's barely getting by. He and a dozen other students make up this club that gives back.
"Makes me feel like I'm doing something to better someone else's life"
While Dr Fifer was talking, I noticed a big stack of laptops behind him. Turns out they were donated by a law firm but the hard drives have been removed. Fifer made his pitch;
"So we need about two thousand dollars to provide hard drives for these laptops but once we do, they're ready to go right into the hands of students.
The plan is to give away more computers next Fall.