Glen Harmon is Geek of the Week!


Glen Harmon is Kramden’s Geek of the Week! Glen has been volunteering with Kramden since June of 2014 and is the most recent addition to our Management Team. In just a little over a year, Glen has contributed 500+ hours of service to Kramden and often volunteers two or more days week. Glen recently made a huge contribution to Kramden by funding and implementing a new hose reel system for our air compressors. It is this dedication and initiative that makes Kramden so successful. Thank you, Glen!

Favorite Geek Book: Lord of the Rings

Favorite Geek Website: Lifehacker

Favorite Geek Movie: Star Wars

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with Kramden? My favorite thing about volunteering at Kramden is threefold: 1) I enjoy the opportunity to serve others, especially those that do not have the technology to learn. Kramden gave me the chance to help undeserved students obtain computers to use for homework completion as well as the internet to learn about the world around them. 2) I really appreciate the impact that Kramden has on the environment by recycling technology. 3) -Certainly not the least- The staff at Kramden have a strong commitment to serving the technology needs of the community. They are always very generous with their time and they don’t mind answering questions no matter how many times you ask!

Best Kramden Moment? Becoming a Super Geek!

When you are not volunteering at Kramden, what do you do? I enjoy watching pro football, college basketball, walking, building computers for myself and friends, seeing a good movie, and reading.



23 Receive Free Laptops after Program Graduation



Twenty-three public housing residents graduated Thursday from a series of digital literacy classes that are part of a new connectivity program offered by the town of Chapel Hill.

The participants attended classes taught over four weeks by workers and volunteers from Durham-based Kramden Institute. Thursday, they were able to take home for free the refurbished laptops they’d learned how to use.

Some class participants will also soon have free Internet connection in their homes. AT&T will be wiring eight of the 13 public housing neighborhoods and will offer a free connection for the next five years.

Class participant Tiera Jackson said that although she has Internet in her home right now, the bill is very expensive. She estimates she pays $146 a month for both Internet and television service.

Another class participant, Stephanie Brown, agreed.
“I’m breaking my neck to keep up with the payment,” she said. “When you’re working part-time, every little bit helps.”

Participant Nurul Khan said he was proud of Chapel Hill for offering such a program to its residents.

“This computer training is a pathway for children’s education,” he said. “This knowledge is the prime conduit of walking ahead.”

Many said they’d use the computer to help them both with everyday life and with long-term dreams.

Jackson, a student at Alamance Community College, said the computer would help her and her grandmother, both of whom are aspiring writers.

Brown, who works part-time as a housekeeper, said she planned to start job applications with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Thursday as soon as she took her laptop home.

“Computers are so much now,” she said. “You can’t get a job without it.”

Brown is also trying to open a third-shift daycare program, and she said the laptop will help with her bookkeeping for the company.

“You just can’t imagine the big help it’s going to be when we’re trying to reach our goals,” she said.

Read more here:

By Katie Jansen
The Herald-Sun, July 13, 2015


Public housing residents to receive free laptops, Internet

Durham Herald article picture 2015

The town of Chapel Hill last month promised them the ability to connect, announcing a partnership to provide free Internet and laptops to residents of public housing.

Anyone who is interested can sign up for a series of digital literacy classes taught by employees of the Kramden Institute. Upon completing the classes, class participants will be able to take home a free refurbished laptop.

The Kramden Institute, founded in Durham in 2003, has donated more than 19,000 laptops across 71 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

Kramden’s mission is to provide technology and knowledge to bridge the digital divide, said Lile Stephens, technology education instructor with Kramden.

The town has partnered with Kramden to provide several series of four classes. Participants will learn computer basics, how to use office programs, how to share safely on the Internet and how to use media on the computer.

Class participants came to class with varied reasons about why they chose to participate. Some shared with their classmates what they’d like to learn.

Cassandra Farrington, who has lived in Chapel Hill all her life, said she wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to provide her 10-year-old son Author what he needs for school.

“He had a fourth grade project that was more on the level of a college project,” she said, describing the assignment that lasted all school year and required students to do research about North Carolina history and culture.

Farrington said that although she already knows computer basics through her job at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ after-school program, it was good to take a refresher course. She also brought her aunt, who benefited from the basics class.

Berthe Mairounga, another participant in the class, is originally from Chad and has been in Chapel Hill for two years after spending two years in Durham. She also plans to use her computer for her children — four boys and two girls who range in age from 6 to 19.

Mairounga said that although all of her children know how to use the computer, she doesn’t know much about it.

Her kids attend Northside Elementary, Smith Middle and Chapel Hill High. She said that when they have homework, they have to wait in line to use the family’s one desktop computer.

Because having a laptop would help her kids with school, Mairounga decided to take the digital literacy classes along with the English as Second Language and citizenship classes she already takes.

Sarah Viñas, housing and community planner for the town, said the recent class was over capacity. The town will offer two more sessions in August and October, and the August classes are already almost full, she said.

Viñas said the town is open to continuing the digital literacy program past October if there is continued interest.

The free Internet will be provided by AT&T through a regional program called North Carolina Next Generation. In Chapel Hill, AT&T will offer Internet in the majority of the town’s public housing units for five years, as well as Internet in five community sites for seven years.

Viñas said eight of the public housing neighborhoods will be able to participate in the program. Internet build-out is currently taking place, and five neighborhoods should have access by August — just in time for school to start.

Viñas said that some of the town’s residents already pay for Internet, which underscores what a “tremendous necessity” an Internet connection is.

“They’re prioritizing this over other things,” she said. “We’re really excited to help residents check one bill off their list when they’re already burdened with being low-income.”

Author, who goes to Seawell Elementary School, is happy he’ll soon have a computer at home and an Internet connection for the next five years.

“He’ll probably go on the YouTube and play games, too,” Farrington said. “He’s still going to be limited on how much time he has on the computer. You don’t want them stuck on the computer all the time. You’d rather have them outside playing.”

Read more here:

By Katie Jansen
The Herald-Sun, June 27, 2015


Erik Shuster is Geek of the Week!


Erik Shuster is Geek of the Week! Erik has been volunteering with us since 2013 and stands out as a dedicated volunteer who isn’t afraid to take on any task assigned. Erik has recently begun a summer internship with Kramden. During this internship, Erik will work on a variety of projects and will manage summer volunteers. Congrats and thank you for all you do!

Favorite Geek Book: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

Favorite Geek Website:

Favorite Geek Movie: The Princess Bride 

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with Kramden? I love the idea that I can help people with a skill I really enjoy.

Best Kramden Moment? The volunteer appreciation night last year was really fun!

When you are not volunteering at Kramden, what do you do? I practice Tae Kwon Do and I am training for my second degree black belt. I am also a part of a robotics team which is very busy in spring. I like to tinker with things or play games in my free time.


Kramden Institute Chosen to Host Google-NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellow

Downtown Raleigh

Digital Inclusion Fellowship

For many reasons, access to the Internet is important to people here in the Triangle. It helps students complete their homework, allows families to find the right health clinic and connects seniors with their loved ones. Still, many people don’t have access to the web. Studies have shown that oftentimes people aren’t online because they don’t have the skills to use a computer or they don’t understand how the Internet can help in their daily lives.

For these reasons we’re thrilled to announce our part in the first-ever Digital Inclusion Fellowship in partnership with Google Fiber. Starting today, we’re calling for applications to become a fellow at Kramden. Our fellow will work with other partners in the region to make sure that everybody can cross the Digital Divide: by getting computers, getting trained and getting connected. We’ll host a fellow for one year, who will be a full-time employee of Kramden Institute, receiving salaries and benefits funded by Google Fiber. We hope our fellow’s work will strengthen our organization’s digital literacy and broadband adoption efforts from the inside out.

Google Fiber is collaborating with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) to bring this fellowship to the Triangle and to seven other Google Fiber cities across the country. NTEN, who is facilitating the fellowship, will make sure our fellow is trained to become a digital inclusion expert and sharing what he/she is learning with 15 other fellows across the country.

At Kramden, we’re looking forward to partnering with the Triangle Literacy Council, who will also host a fellow over the next year. Together we aim to make the Triangle a national leader working to bring more people online.

Now Accepting Applications

Are you passionate about helping underserved communities in the Triangle area? Do you believe access to the internet is important to the daily lives of our residents? Do you want to be part of a national community of digital inclusion advocates? If so, apply to be our fellow at

AT&T, Kramden Institute join Chapel Hill to bridge digital divide in public housing


Regional partners joined the town last week to form a bridge over the digital divide for public housing residents.

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt announced the launch of free AT&T internet service on May 8 at the South Estes Public Housing Community off Estes Drive. The Kramden Institute, located in Durham, will provide residents with free computers and digital literacy classes.

The town is taking a multipronged approach to closing the digital divide and ensuring all Chapel Hill residents, regardless of income, can get online, project officials said.

A 2013 White House broadband report found that 93 percent of families making more than $100,000 have broadband access at home, compared to only 43 percent of families making less than $25,000.

Public housing residents in Chapel Hill earn less than 80 percent of the area median income, or $53,900 a year for a family of four. Many are below 30 percent of AMI, or $24,250 for a family of four.

“Ensuring that all our residents can access information via the Internet is essential,” Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said. “We are thrilled to work with these community partners to make this possible.”

AT&T’s role in the project is part of an agreement worked out through the North Carolina Next Generation Network, a regional partnership among Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary, Durham, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, and their local universities – Duke, N.C. State, UNC and Wake Forest.

The company will begin providing several Chapel Hill properties with AT&T U-verse Internet, television and voice services over the next year.

Chapel Hill’s seven public housing neighborhoods will receive free AT&T U-verse Internet, which provides up to 3Mbps for five years.

The effort is particularly aimed at helping students keep up at school. The legislature passed bills in 2013 that called for a move away from textbooks and implementing more digital materials in schools by 2017.

A town survey in 2014 found that one out of every four public housing residents with school-aged children didn’t have internet access at home. Ninety-six percent of those who responded to the survey also reported having an interest in computer training classes.

“Internet access is critical to success in today’s economy, whether you’re doing your homework, applying for a job or sharing with friends and family,” said Robert Doreauk, AT&T’s regional director of external affairs. “AT&T is proud to work with Chapel Hill and to provide a vital service to its citizens.”

Public housing residents were able to sign up for four free digital literacy classes, including topics such as computer basics, the Internet and safe sharing, public library services, office programs, and media and creativity.

The Kramden Institute is sponsoring the classes for all public housing residents, ages 14 and up. Residents who complete the program will get a free laptop from the Kramden Institute.

About a thousand residents live in the town’s public housing communities in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
Read more here:

-The News and Observer: May 8, 2015


Chapel Hill to bring free Internet to public housing


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The town of Chapel Hill Friday announced a new program to offer free high-speed Internet to residents of public housing.

The program will roll out to eight of the town’s 13 public housing neighborhoods by the end of the year, bringing AT&T U-verse connections with speeds of up to 3 Mbps for five years. The company is participating in the program as part of an agreement with the N.C. Next Generation Network, an initiative of several municipalities and research universities, and will provide service at no cost to the town.

Chapel Hill neighborhoods receiving Internet
• Airport Gardens
• Church/Caldwell
• Colony Woods West
• Eastwood
• North Columbia
• Pritchard Park
• Rainbow Heights
• South Estes

“The Internet brings the world into your living room, and bridging the digital divide and bringing internet to everyone has been an important part of the goals we’ve set for our community,” Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said during a news conference Friday.

Once the units are wired for the Internet services, residents will be able to call AT&T to sign up through a special call in number the town and company will announce later.

Residents of Chapel Hill public housing ages 14 and up can also get a free, refurbished laptop if they complete a four-part computer training class with the nonprofit Kramden Institute. The courses will cover a range of topics including computer basics and standard office programs.

Kleinschmidt said having access to the Internet is vital for education and job creation. A survey by the town last year of public housing residents with school-aged children found one in four households reporting not having Internet access at home.

“I’m not standing here with a banner behind me that says ‘mission accomplished.'” We all know that. And it doesn’t meet all the needs of the people in low-income areas of our town, whether public housing or elsewhere,” Kleinschmidt said. “But we will go further, because we need to expand opportunities for education, research and job creation and drive economic growth.”

Reporter: Tara Lynn
Web Editor: Tyler Dukes

20,000 Computers Awarded!

Thank you to every single volunteer, donor, supporter and friend of Kramden Institute for helping us achieve a historic milestone: our 20,000th computer awarded! Thanks to this collective effort, we have improved the lives of tens of thousands of deserving students and their families, helping them achieve both their school and personal goals.

Since Kramden was founded back in 2003 by Mark and Ned Dibner, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds. It took 9 years to get the 10,000th computer awarded, back in May 2012. And now, only three short years later, we’ve doubled that mark. So again, a big thank you to everyone and we’re looking forward to the 30,000th computer, and the 50,000th and the 100,000th and as many as it takes to make sure everyone has the technology tools and training they need to bridge the digital divide!

20K Collage

Costa Rican Schools Receive Kramden Computers

Kramden Institute recently partnered with East Chapel Hill Rotary Club to deploy 105 Kramden laptops and 30 XO tablets to nine schools in Costa Rica. The project, made possible by a grant from Goodwill Community Foundation International, provides on-going technical support by the Rotaract Club in Puntarenas.

The Rotary Club distributed the computers during a trip in March and Kramden’s Director of Technical Operations, Jason Ricker, made a follow-up trip last week to provide technical support and training to Roterac Club members. The laptops, equipped with the open-source Ubermix operating system in Spanish, will have access to internet provided by the Ministry of Education.

Although the schools have only had the computers for a short time, they are already making strides to implement technology into the curriculum. One teacher is using Google Earth to teach geography to her classroom. Without access to physical maps, the computers have been able to bridge this gap in resources. In addition, the teachers are able to access GCFAprendeLibre. This Goodwill program provides free educational resources to Spanish speaking communities.

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Mitchell Geiss is Geek of the Week!


Mitchell Geiss is Geek of the Week! Mitchell has been volunteering with Kramden for a few months now and just finished a 3 week internship with Kramden. In the 3 short months he has been a volunteer, he has racked up over 100 hours of volunteer time. These 100+ hours have been spent not only refurbishing computers, but completing other projects for the Kramden staff. Thanks for all your hard work, Mitchell!

Favorite Geek Book: The War of the Worlds – H.G. Wells

Favorite Geek Website: YouTube

Favorite Geek Movie: Transformers Movie Saga

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with Kramden? Helping donate computers to students and families who couldn’t afford one.

Best Kramden Moment? Putting an Xbox One together. I only have a PS3 and never got to put an Xbox together.

When you are not volunteering at Kramden, what do you do? When I am not volunteering I am studying or working on school work. Also, I like to play golf with my family and watch movies with friends.