Teens teaching teens to build a more digitally diverse and equitable world
Computers 4 People expands to include Computers 4 People 4 Teens
Hoboken, New Jersey (March 28, 2022) – The Kids Tech Summit taking place April 22 challenges K-12 students to use their digital skills to help the community. Four student-led projects have been named as finalists.
One of those innovative groups is expanding upon a mission begun by another teenager in 2018 to close the Digital Divide across New Jersey and New York.
“So many people have old computers in their closets,” explained Dylan Zajac, Executive Director and Founder of Computers 4 People. “All they have to do is donate it, and our organization takes care of everything. We wipe all the information from it, fix it up, and then provide it to someone in need.”
We first met Zajac in mid-2021 during the height of the pandemic. At the time, he was already three years into running Computers 4 People, a nonprofit he started when he was just 15 years old. The organization provides refurbished computers to individuals and organizations in under-resourced communities to promote equity and access.
Now, another young teen, Micah Goodman, is expanding on what Zajac started.
“When I heard about the Kids Tech Summit, I immediately approached Micah about whether he’d like to compete,” said Zajac. “He’s a very involved and dedicated volunteer and knows more about computers than even our adult volunteers. The moment I told him, he was so enthusiastic about coming up with a project.”
After some brainstorming, Computers 4 People 4 Teens was born — an idea that aims to get more middle school and high school students involved in the mission. The goal is to host a series of planning sessions and have each volunteer attend two of them — one that’s a teaching session and a second that’s a “doing” session, where they actually refurbish a computer.
Connecting more people, faster
“I joined Computers 4 People because I like computers,” said Goodman. “But even better is knowing that my work is providing new opportunities to people in need.”
The 15-year-old says he is excited about helping to expand the reach of Computer 4 People through the project — and so is Zajac.
“This will help increase our efficiency, and that means we can donate computers at a faster rate,” said Zajac. “That will help many more people in need find job opportunities, access school, and be overall more connected with the world.”
At this writing, Computers 4 People has donated 640 computers impacting the lives of more than 1,400 individuals, and keeping more than 12,000 pounds of e-waste out of landfills.
“We are going to do even more to help others in the months and years to come,” added Zajac. “This year, we have a larger budget, and with our Computers 4 People 4 Teens project in the works, our goal is to donate 750 computers just in 2022.”
The Kids Tech Summit is a friendly competition hosted by national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN) and sponsored by AT&T. It provides an opportunity for students to use their digital skills to develop 100% student-led projects that directly benefit their communities and help narrow the Digital Divide.
The four finalists, including Computers 4 People, will compete for cash prizes ranging from $7,500 to $2,000. They will present their projects to a panel of technology experts via a virtual event on Friday, April 22, which can be viewed by the public at this YouTube link.