Posts

Kramden Partners with the Marcus Harris Foundation

Marcus Harris first learned about Kramden a few years ago after seeing a local newscast highlighting a donation of more than 40 computers the organization made to an area elementary school. “I was incredibly impressed by that,” he shared, “and I began researching the company more and learned just how committed it is to helping bridge the digital divide.”

Ever since, Marcus has been a huge advocate for Kramden’s mission, supporting our ongoing efforts to provide free desktops and laptops to kids who lack them at home.

Recently, Marcus updated us on DaQuanta, a mother of one of the families served through Neighborfood Express, a program that provides free groceries and essential supplies to families living in food-insecure Southeast Raleigh neighborhoods. During virtual learning this past year, Daquanta supervised 16 kids in her apartment complex daily. Unfortunately, the Chromebooks the kids were issued by the school system had been malfunctioning regularly, causing them to fall behind in their academic efforts. After receiving desktop computers from Kramden, Marcus proudly reported that not only have their grades improved, many of them have made the Honor Roll for the first time ever!

Marcus delivers 16 computers to Daquanta’s home

The Marcus Harris Foundation was launched in 2018. The foundation works to uplift kids and families from underserved backgrounds, focusing on areas such as education, food insecurity, advocacy for survivors of domestic violence, and, most recently, affordable housing. “Our primary motivation has always been finding innovative ways to provide impactful assistance for those who need it most,” explained Marcus.

“We owe it all to Kramden for making it possible for us to help these kids and families like we have.” – Marcus Harris, The Marcus Harris Foundation

Kramden first partnered with the Marcus Harris Foundation in 2019, awarding devices for children receiving free haircuts through their Kutz for Kids program. Earlier this year, the collaboration expanded when Marcus launched Neighborfood Express.  So far, in just a few months, Marcus and his team have helped distribute over 30 computers along with countless supplies to families in need. Thank you, Marcus, and your dedicated team at the MHF for this great partnership!

Central Carolina Student Benefits from Kramden Laptop

Like so many families across the country, Central Carolina Community College student Nathalia and her husband found themselves scrambling for a computer in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic caught us off guard,” she explained. “We did not expect to be all taking online classes and in need of a computer at the same time.”

Before receiving a computer from Kramden, Nathalia had to share the only laptop she had at home with her husband and two kids.

Nathalia, CCCC Student and Kramden Computer Recipient

“Before, I had to prioritize the kids and their classes. I had to watch recorded classes, but it is not the same thing because you cannot ask questions and interact with your professor and students. I had to stay up very late to use the computer while everyone else was sleeping.”

Last year, thanks to funding from Coastal Credit Union Foundation, Kramden refurbished and distributed 50 laptops to Central Carolina Community College students like Nathalia. This was part of a larger grant that provided funding for 500 devices for area families in 2020.

“After I had my new computer, I could get on track again and participate in live classes. My kids had a computer for them; my husband only used the computer after work, so he could use the kids’ computer, and I still had mine just for me.” Nathalia didn’t just get on track with her new computer. She used it to finish her Associate Degree with a G.P.A. of 4.0!

“I know you all aim to help and do good for us, students in need, but the reality is that what you do is so much more than can be truly measured. Some good acts have a ripple effect, and they echo in eternity” said Nathalia.

Thank you to Coastal Credit Union Foundation for your ongoing support and commitment to Kramden’s mission!

Online Workshop Update

Pre-pandemic, it would not be unheard of to spot one of Kramden Institute’s instructors loading up the minivan with laptops and an overhead projector screen for an offsite Basic Computer Class. At the same time, another may be seen prepping for summer camp, while another headed out to teach an afterschool technology workshop.

Like many of Kramden’s programs, class operations shifted in March to find ways to provide services safely. On March 26, Kramden launched its Online Workshops program and has since provided classes to over 760 total students. Children and adults ages 9 to 87 have participated in a wide range of STEM workshops covering topics ranging from Image Editing to a Build a PC Live Demo. To date, 75 workshop sessions have been held.

Technology Education Manager, Marshall Burkes has been thrilled with the great response to the online courses.

“Teaching online has been extremely rewarding as an instructor because we’re able to give people an outlet for their energy and curiosity. Both kids and adults are eager to learn and connect with people.” – Marshall Burkes, Technology Education Manager

As Lead Instructor Lile Stephens shared, “One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching online is seeing how excited students get when something clicks, as well as their eagerness to ‘share’ what they have been working on.”

Students of all ages have responded with positive feedback, noting similar enthusiasm to learn something new. “It was both educational and fun.” said Malachi, an elementary schooler.  Cole, a college student, wrote, “Great overview. it definitely gave me the confidence to open up [the app] and get started.” “Extremely informative. This instructor is outstanding. Wish I had more teachers like him when I was in school. Excellent teaching style!” said Patricia.

Kramden’s online workshops were made possible by COVID-relief grant funding from Strowd Roses Foundation, Best Buy, and Protolabs. The Education Team is continuously working to develop new online class and workshop offerings. Visit kramden.org/classes to check out the latest.