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Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset launches Computers for Kids Project

By Staff | Jun 25, 2020

George Gordon’s role is to wipe clean, sanitize and update the donated computers, making them school-ready for distribution. 

LAHAINA – Life is changing at lightning speed; it’s a challenge to maintain pace. Lucky we live in West Maui with solid support from all corners. We are truly blessed with a shower of good deeds, kindness and generosity raining down on us and our ‘ohana.

The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset is a constant in that arena. Blink and another campaign has been launched. Their staying power is evidenced by the Malama Maui Nui monthly Third Saturday recycling event, donation and maintenance of rescue tubes at West Maui beach parks, scholarship awards, school supply drives, dictionary distributions and the celebration of the birthday of Dr. Seuss, just to name a very few.

COVID-19 hasn’t diminished the spirit of community service for this Rotary chapter. In fact, the sunset members “have adapted as our West Maui needs have changed,” Katie Zimmerman advised the Lahaina News.

Zimmerman is the club’s community service co-chair along with Sara Foley for the 2020-21 Rotary Year.

“At the beginning of the school closures in March (due to the deadly pandemic),” Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School Principal Dr. Rebecca Winkie noted, “the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset generously donated 120 meal gift cards for distribution to our students and their families. In addition, one of their business members donated 50 additional gift cards and two large quantities of fresh produce for Lahaina families.”

Computers for Kids Project is their most recent crusade; and, as always, it is a team effort.

“The club learned that Princess Nahi’ena’ena School is a Title I School, and many students do not have access to a computer in their homes,” explained Joanne Laird, project coordinator and past club president.

According to Dr. Winkie, “Title I is the federal education program that provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.

“As we plan for the upcoming school year amid the ongoing pandemic, we need to be prepared for delivery of instruction not only in person, but also via distance and/or blended learning as well. Our goal is to ensure all students have access to a device in their home regardless of their economic status.”

That’s approximately 750 students – a tall order even for the Sunset Rotarians.

“The Rotary approached me regarding the Computers for Kids Project,” Dr. Winkie explained. “They asked if any of our students needed laptops or iPads to complete assignments online during the Continuity of Learning and Enrichment Opportunities provided during Quarter 4. While our school was able to meet the need for loaner computers based on parent request this past school year, those devices were on loan and had to be returned at the end of the school year.”

An action plan committee was formed to hammer out the details, “and here we are with our big launch,” Laird announced.

“It is a challenge,” Laird said, “so that we can generate 90 devices for Princess to be delivered when school opens in August.”

“It is important for students to learn about computer use and hone their computer skills as they grow to be teenagers and adults in a culture where computers are used in much of our everyday lives and jobs,” Laird continued.

“Some students don’t have access to computers at home, and our club thought it was imperative to help those students and their families bridge the gap. Since distance learning became vitally important over the last few months due to COVID, we want to ensure that as many students as possible can continue their education.”

Enter Lahaina News “Computer Guru” George Gordon. This project was written with his skillset in mind.

He is in tune with its underlying purpose.

“It’s important that all the kids learn computer skills from word processing to programs like Quicken, Turbo Tax, photo and video editing for graphic jobs, creating websites and many more skills.

“Any donated computer being a laptop or desktop that has Windows 7 through Windows 10, PC or Apple, will be appreciated,” the weekly columnist observed.

Gordon’s role is to wipe clean, sanitize and update devices, making them school-ready for distribution.

Rotarian Erica Gale, owner of Moku Roots, centrally located in the Lahaina Gateway Center, volunteered her establishment as the drop-off point between the hours of 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

It is strongly suggested that the equipment is placed in a brown paper bag.

“Since the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset Foundation holds a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status,” Laird said, “a form will be available upon drop-off, so that the person making the donation can receive a mahalo letter for tax purposes.”

Laird is positive about the success of the campaign. “We are very sure that our Maui community members will rise to this challenge of donating 90 devices for these families by July 31st.”

Laird can be reached at mamalrd@gmail.com or on her cell at (808) 757-0981.

Laird said, “Let’s help make “90 devices the New Norm!”