Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sky’s The Limit

Sky's The Limit

The program has both societal and environmental impacts. Not only is the person who receives the computer affected but also the family of the recipient. Younger siblings will be exposed to computers from a younger age and parents will be able to learn and develop skills, do research, or write resumes. Environmental benefits include ensuring that computer systems are reused and recycled so that they do not end up in landfill sites.


How did Sky’s The Limit start?

Sky’s the limit was founded in January 2004 by Lara Tavares. Lara was fortunate enough to grow up with a computer in her home and realized that this is not a reality for all youth nowadays. She became familiar with what is referred to as the ‘Digital Divide’ (the divide between the technical haves and have nots) and started STL to bridge it. It all began with 100 desktop computers to Regent Park, delivered  by hand, door to door.


Where do you get the computers from that you donate?

STL fundraises to purchase refurbished laptops from our supplier ‘Compugen Finance’, as well as holds laptop drives to receive donated laptops. All donated items are safely and securely wiped by our supplier or by our IT Manager before going to the recipient.

Who gets the computers?

We have two types of applications for computers: a group application and an individual application. The criteria for the group application is that they must be a registered charity, a youth organization, and have an existing computer program for the youth to utilize. The criteria for an individual applicant is that they are a youth under 30 with a reference letter from either their principal, teacher or guidance counselor, or a community worker. Unfortunately we receive more asks each year than we are able to provide for, so we have a waiting list for the qualified individuals who have been accepted. Group applications open up twice a year, in the winter and summer, for spring and fall deliveries (follows the school year).

What are the biggest challenges?

The biggest challenges are helping people to understand the necessity of having a computer at home for youth nowadays. School assignments are mandatory on the computer, resumes are online, research is through internet databases etc. If more people understood the Digital Divide then perhaps it would be a better known cause and we would receive more donated laptops.

How many computers have you donated to date?

STL has donated 3141 computers to date.

What provinces do you work with and are there others joining?

We work from British Columbia all the way to Newfoundland. Our applications are open for every province in Canada, and we have seen an increase in applications from First Nations communities on the West Coast.

Anything else you want to share?

This Christmas, if you receive a new laptop computer, consider donating your old one to Sky’s the Limit. It will be wiped of all your personal information (you can even keep your hard drive if you’d like) and given to a youth in need. Tax receipts are issued for the value of the laptop.

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