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Rotarians deliver 60 computers for students at Princess Nahi‘ena‘ena Elementary School

By Staff | Aug 27, 2020

Katie Zimmerman delivers computer equipment to Princess Nahi‘ena‘ena Elementary School. Zimmerman serves as chair of the Computers for Kids project. PHOTO BY MATTHEW THAYER.

LAHAINA – Altruism is an underlying virtue defining the behavior of the majority of souls invested in Rotary across the planet. Pandemic or not, the Lahaina Sunset Club is no different. Its dauntless spirit continues to conjure up good deeds for our community; and they’re not random.

Their Computers for Kids crusade commenced in late June with a goal of collecting 90 computers to donate to the elementary school students attending Princess Nahi’ena’ena.

With online classes starting for most West Side public school students on Monday, Aug. 17, the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset delivered 60 rehabilitated computer devices, caravan-fashion, on Saturday, Aug. 15, to the elementary school campus.

“The Rotary Club’s generous donation of refurbished computers supplemented our school’s efforts to provide every student with a device at home for distance learning. Moreover, the student recipients in grades 1-5 will be able to keep the donated computers forever; whereas our ‘loaner’ computers must be returned at the end of the school year,” Principal Dr. Rebecca Winkie advised.

“It was heartwarming to see the smiling faces of students and families as they selected their computer(s) to take home,” she observed.

Good will and benevolence aptly described the overall ambience.

Katie Zimmerman was the Rotary lead and is proud of the long-lasting accomplishment.

“The Computers for Kids donation will help to fill the need of families who don’t have a computer at home. The keiki that will receive the refurbished computers will be able to keep them and continue using them year after year,” she explained.

It was a group achievement.

Lahaina News Computer Guru George Gordon was an integral part of the team.

“George is not a Rotary member, but he presented at one of our recent Rotary Zoom meetings. He spoke right around the time we were cultivating the idea to collect, refurbish and donate computers to students in need.

“We approached him about helping us with the technical stuff, and he was enthusiastic about being able to put his skills to use to help the students at Princess Nahi’ena’ena School,” Zimmerman affirmed.

It was no easy task.

George described the prep process: all data was erased; Windows 10 or 7 was installed, along with a free copy of Microsoft Office; and each computer was disinfected, with all dirt and scratches removed.

“All in all,” Gordon noted, “each computer averaged two hours or more. This took a long time as I also had my computer customers waiting for repairs. Some days I would spend 12 hours or more. If I had charged for all the computers at about $125-$150 each, then I would have made about $9,000.”

The hard work, he said, was worth it.

“It felt awesome delivering all the computers to the school that day. It was a huge relief after making 61 computers functional for the school kids,” he added.

5A Rent-A-Space provided equipment storage free-of-charge, and Moku Roots offered a collection drop off point.

Joining the delivery caravan last weekend were Zimmerman, Liz May, Judy Bishop, Leanna Roberts and spouse, Jennifer Frey and her dad, George, and Joanne and Larry Laird.

With a goal of 90 computers the benchmark, the computer collection campaign is ongoing.

“They can be dropped off at Moku Roots between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. seven days a week,” Zimmerman continued. “We are also collecting monetary donations to purchase hardware, if needed, for the devices.”

Contact Joanne Laird at (808) 757-0981 or Zimmerman at (808) 280-8986 with questions. All donations are tax-deductible under the club’s 501(c)(3) tax status.

According to Zimmerman, “The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset is a dedicated group of people who strive to enhance the quality of life in West Maui and beyond by engaging in meaningful, achievable projects. We work to achieve high ethical standards in business and lifestyle and promote good will and peace. We are a diverse group who enjoy finding solutions for any kind of challenge – all while having a smile on our faces (under our masks)!”