2020 Olympic Medals to be made from e-waste

 

The Olympics is an amazing event. Thousands of athletes representing hundreds of countries come together every two years to compete. Millions of people around the world watch the best of the best give everything they have, every ounce of strength and skill, to win a medal. When the games take place in Tokyo in 2020, those medals will hold a little extra meaning.

Organizers of the Tokyo games recently announced plans to collect millions of used cell phones and other electronics from the Japanese public and use the metal recovered from recycling the e-waste to produce the medals. With collection boxes planned for more than 2,400 NTT DOCOMO stores and public offices around the country, the committee hopes to collect eight tons of metal (gold: 40 kg, silver: 4920 kg, bronze: 2944 kg) in order to produce the 5,000 medals for the Olympic and Paralympic games.

In a press release, Ashton Eaton, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder said, “The weight of a medal around your neck is always a good weight and when an athlete at Tokyo wins a medal, the weight of it will not be from the gold, silver or bronze; it will be the weight of a nation. The awesomeness of this project makes me want to come out of retirement and compete for one.”

While the medals for the 2010 and 2016 games made partly of recycled materials, this will be the first time the medals will be made entirely of recycled metals.

A side benefit of computer recycling

In a recent newsletter, Free Geek, a computer refurbishing organization in Portland, shared some information about their computer recycling program. One number in particular caught our eye, the amount of gold and other metals that would be recovered from all of the materials they recycle.

After reading the email from Free Geek, we decided to find out just how much gold we helped recover last year.

In 2016 alone, Kramden sent 6,813 pounds of motherboards and other printed circuit boards to our recycling partner. Each ton contains an average of 5 troy ounces of gold[i]. Let’s have some fun with math.

6,813 pounds = 3.4 tons

5 troy ounces = 0.34 pounds

3.4 tons * 0.34 pounds/ton = 1.156 pounds of gold recovered

That’s a little over half of the gold bar pictured here:

Just over a pound of gold may not seem like a lot on its own, but let’s take a moment to put it in context.

Big mines produce 125 tons of waste rock per ounce of gold produced. That means the 1.156 pounds of gold our recycling efforts helped recover saved more than 4.6 million pounds of waste rock from being generated.

The impacts of gold recovery don’t stop there. Moving and processing all of that rock requires a lot of energy, both gas and electric. To extract gold during the mining process, the ore is doused with cyanide, an extremely lethal environmental containment. Puddles containing cyanide solutions are hazardous to wildlife and accidental spills into rivers led to large scale kills of fish and other aquatic species[ii]. Gold mining also releases large amounts of mercury, arsenic, and antimony into the environment[iii].

For us, it’s always nice to see another way in which the work of our amazing volunteers helps the world.

 

 

Partnership with Triangle Literacy Council

 

Collaboration with community organizations and schools across the state is a key factor in the success of our programs. We’ve kicked off 2017 with a bang thanks to one of these collaborations.

Triangle Literacy Council (TLC) is a Raleigh-based organization that works to improve the lives of adults, youth, and families by teaching basic literacy and life skills. One of their biggest programs is the Juvenile Literacy program, which has been extremely successful in preventing recidivism of court-involved youth and increasing participants’ educational levels. This model has proven effective in preventing criminal behavior, improving academic skills, and increasing emotional and social awareness for better behavior in schools, at home and in the community. The program’s intent is to provide at-risk youth with direct one-on-one tutoring and/or small group classes that address basic literacy deficiencies and align with North Carolina standards as well as to prepare them for End of Grade Testing.

Kramden partnered with TLC to award computers to participants of the Juvenile Literacy program at 22 different schools and community organizations in Durham, Person, Granville, Franklin, Harnett, and Vance Counties. Staff from TLC came to Kramden in December for training on how to award the computers and use the Ubermix operating system. Earlier this month, Kramden staff delivered 381 computers to TLC sites across the Triangle, with more headed out later this month.

This partnership allowed Kramden to serve students at schools we haven’t worked with before and have a deeper impact at some of our partner schools. In addition, partnerships like this one have a multiplier effect. Having access to a computer means these students can build on the skills they learned during the Juvenile Literacy program, using the computer for homework and making use of the suite of educational programs that come preloaded on every computer awarded.

2016 Impact Report

Digital Literacy and Computer Awards at the Oaks

 

Recently, Kramden Institute partnered with the Raleigh Housing Authority, the City of Raleigh, and Google Fiber in an effort to address the digital divide for residents of the Oaks, a Raleigh Housing Authority community of 50 individual housing units in the North Raleigh area.

As part of the partnership, Kramden Institute, supported by a grant from Google Fiber, provided free digital literacy classes to residents of the Oaks. Residents were trained by Kramden staff on computer basics, office programs, the internet, and social media. The City of Raleigh supported the program by providing volunteer teaching assistants for the class, all of whom are alumni of the City of Raleigh’s Digital Connectors program. Residents who completed the 4 weeks of training were awarded a desktop computer. Google Fiber, a provider of gigabit speed internet service and Connect Home partner, will provide free internet service to residents of the Oaks beginning in early 2017 under the Google Fiber Connected Communities program.       

Supported by a great community resident leader, Ms. Lottie Moore, and Raleigh Housing Authority Special Assistant to the Executive Director Sonia Anderson, Kramden Institute was able to enroll 12 adult learners from the Oaks Community in the digital literacy classes.  

Additionally, Ms. Moore, known throughout the community as Ms. Lottie,  and Ms. Anderson helped Kramden identify 25 additional households in the Oaks community with school age children in the home who qualified for our Kramden Tech Scholars program. While the digital literacy classes were taking place, these households were also awarded desktop computers refurbished by Kramden volunteers.

Through successful collaboration, the community partners involved were able to prepare over 70% of the households in the Oaks community for free internet service to be provided by Google Fiber.  

Kramden Participates in Digital Charlotte Meetup

Last night, Michael Abensour, Kramden’s Executive Director, took part in a Digital Charlotte Meetup. He joined panelists from Code for Charlotte, Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D) and Informative Technologies for the 90-minute event. The panelists shared their thoughts and answered questions around the night’s topic – “How to Change the Future With One Device”.

The night began with each panelist describing the ways their organization works toward digital inclusion. From there the moderator dug deeper into some of the key issues surrounding access to computers, recycling, and digital literacy.

The event took place at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and was live streamed using Facebook Live.

 

Informative Technologies Inc. is a social enterprise that has researched and developed scalable, market-driven solutions to the digital divide and electronic waste since 2014. This is made possible by our ReviveOS™ software, which revives “obsolete” computers so they can run better than ever; thus breaking the cycle of planned obsolescence that’s built into competing operating systems today. To get these devices to those who are affected by the digital divide, we are building a community-based ecosystem that connects donor companies with recipient community organizations.  http://informativeinc.com/

Code for Charlotte is a nonprofit working to bridge the gap between residents and local governments. We believe that government and community resources should be open, accessible and friendly to all residence. We use technology, education and advocacy to further this movement and increase civic engagement in Charlotte. http://www.codeforcharlotte.org

Eliminate the Digital Divide (E2D) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2013 with the goal of helping every public school student in the Charlotte area has the access to computer technology and support to achieve academic success. http://www.e-2-d.org

 

 

Wake County Families Receive Computers

By T. Keung Hui, The News & Observer
Read original here.

 

Wake County parents are getting free computers and training on how to use them so their children can have access at home to the digital resources that could help them succeed in school.

A total of 510 desktop and laptop computers will be given this school year to families who participate in the Family Digital Academy program offered at nine Wake schools. An excited group of 100 families received computers Thursday at Hodge Road Elementary School as part of an effort to help bridge the digital divide.

“We’re giving them the tools so even if they don’t have the academic knowledge, they have the tools so they can support their kids academically,” said Rosa Rangel, senior administrator in the school system’s Office of Equity Affairs.

Mariza Romero, who has two daughters at Hodge Road Elementary and one daughter at East Wake Middle School, was looking forward to setting up her new computer.

“It’s good because we don’t have a lot of money,” Romero said. “We have an old, old computer, but we have three girls.”

Rangel said she’s heard similar happy stories since the Family Digital Academy program began last school year at Combs Elementary in Raleigh. With the help of Univision and the Kramden Institute, a nonprofit group in Durham, 150 computers were distributed last school year.

computers

Rangel said the program was so successful that it has expanded to include Brentwood and Washington elementary schools and Millbrook and Southeast Raleigh high schools in Raleigh; Carpenter Elementary and Cary High in Cary; Lincoln Heights Elementary in Fuquay-Varina and Hodge Road Elementary.

Kramden is providing the desktops, and the United Way is donating the laptops. Rangel said laptops are being given to high school students and to fifth-grade students since they’ll have the most need of the computers at school.

The workshops, which are being taught in multiple languages, provide parents with information about different online resources they can use at home to support their children. Organizers say putting these resources into the hands of parents could help close the achievement gap that exists between low-income and more affluent students.

Families are also being told how they can contact AT&T to get access to low-cost home internet service.

“We want you to understand what your child is doing so you can help them with their reading and math,” Rangel told parents at Hodge Road.

For Romero, who can remember the days when classrooms had one computer, she said having a modern computer at home is necessary for her children’s education.

“We used to look at a lot of books for homework,” Romero said. “Now they can just type in Google.”

Church gives away free home computers

By Ryan Hedrick, The Daily Dispatch
Read original here.

Woodsworth Baptist Church gave out almost 50 desktop computers Saturday afternoon to families with school-aged children in need of home computers for their schoolwork. This is the first time that the church has distributed the PCs and it all started when Joyce Royster, the church’s youth director, noticed her children often said that they couldn’t do certain schoolwork because they didn’t have easy access to a computer at home. “I was working with our children on their end-of-grade testing, and I was trying to tell them that they could go online to study the test. ‘I don’t have a computer at home,’ they would tell me,” Royster said.

So Royster contacted Kramden Institute in Durham to see if they could help. Kramden Institute is an organization that was started more than a decade ago by a father and son duo who wanted to help deserving students have more readily available access to computers in their homes. Over the history of the organization, more than 24,000 refurbished home computers have been given out to students across 78 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Royster said that when she contacted Kramden to see if they could help the children in her church, Kramden was more than open to the idea. “They said yes. So I had to go through a training process at Kramden to get started with our church,” Royster said. “The day that I went to the training they weren’t supposed to send the computers then, but they already had them packed up and ready to send them back with me.”

Families that wanted to receive one of the computers had to first go through an application process and be approved by Kramden. The students needed to be in good academic standing and be in grades three through 12. The computers that Kramden distributes to students are completely refurbished with new parts and come with more than 60 programs like word processors and programs to help with skills such as reading and math. Also, Kramden will replace any defective parts in the computer for as long as the student that received it is in school.

Martynetta Hargrove is an assistant pastor at Woodsworth and was present at the church’s giveaway. She talked about how thankful she was that Royster decided to take on such an important cause. “I’m very thankful for Mrs. Royster as our youth director because not every child can have a computer in their home,” Hargrove said. “This is helping a lot of families not just in this church but in the community, and we are so thankful that they will have the chance to have their own computers.”

Melvin Hanks was at Woodsworth on Saturday afternoon picking up one of the computers for his grandson who is in ninth grade at Henderson Collegiate. “It will help him do homework and stuff like that,” Hanks said. “This day and time all kids need a computer, don’t they?” Hanks also mentioned that before now whenever his grandson was at home and needed to access the internet for school work, he would have to do so using Hanks’ cellphone. “I would be looking around and wouldn’t know where my cellphone was and he would have it,” Hanks said with a chuckle. “At least now at night I’ll have my phone.” Royster said that she has already started planning another round of computer giveaways and is taking applications from families that need them.

 

 

Kramden Provides Computers for the NETT Program

 

Earlier this year, one of our favorite partners, WinstonNet, received a grant from the United Way as part of the Place Matters Initiative. The grant provides funds for WinstonNet’s Neighborhoods Empowered Through Technology (NETT) program. This program focuses on providing computer and soft skills training for unemployed and underemployed residents of select Winston Salem neighborhoods. To carry out the NETT program, WinstonNet partnered with the Urban League, Forsyth Tech Community College, Forsyth County Public Library, Winston Salem State University, and Kramden Institute.

100 participants will go through a 30-hour course covering computer and internet basics, office programs, and job readiness skills such as interviewing, resume development, and searching for job postings. The classes are held at Goodwill and Forsyth Tech, keeping them close to the neighborhoods the participants live in. After graduating from the program, participants receive a refurbished laptop from Kramden Institute for $25.

20161011_181430

70% of program participants that have graduated from the program so far are currently looking for jobs or working to enhance their skills to get better jobs. Two classes have already graduated and two more classes are underway. Feedback from participants has been highly positive. One participant told instructors she was very excited because she could now apply to jobs online on her own using a computer.