What do carrots, digital equity and helping the environment have in common?
In 2019, the United States generated 7 million tons of electronic waste, with millions of computers, phones, and other internet-enabled devices going to landfills. These staggering numbers are not only a serious environmental concern, but a missed opportunity! As advocates and policymakers work to connect the last 20% of unconnected Americans, a significant obstacle is a lack of affordable devices. In the greater Denver, Colorado area, this is where Community Computer Connection comes in.
Community Computer Connection, or C3, has been refurbishing and rehoming technology since 2000. Local businesses, communities and residents donate used computer equipment, and the C3 team then repairs the devices and provides them to charities, schools, and families in need.
By equipping communities with affordable devices, C3 is helping Coloradoans overcome a significant barrier to digital adoption. But C3’s assistance doesn’t stop at handing over the equipment! C3 staff works with recipients to spread awareness of low-cost internet options and walks them through the application process to ensure they get connected.
C3’s local focus has allowed them to build a high level of trust with their community, which has enabled them to better support students, seniors, and everyone in between for the last 23 years. “Our local schools and community organizations know that when they work with us, we’re going to provide them with quality equipment that is reliable and affordable. Without that trust, these groups might have to go without the technology they need to function,” said Shawna Soffa, co-director of C3.
Thanks to C3, many Colorado students will head back to school this month equipped with technology that has become critical for the modern classroom. Take it from the systems administrator of Crown Pointe Academy, a small school in Westminster, Colorado: “As a school systems administrator, I am lucky to have C3 as a hardware provider. The staff at C3 is always available to help me accommodate the needs of a K-8 charter school. They provide solutions that help me stay within my budget. I can keep current with hardware that can meet the digital needs of a modern classroom.”
Who knew you could hook up a carrot to a computer? Thanks to refurbished technology from C3, students in Colorado test the energy levels generated by vegetables for a science experiment.