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.