Rockhurst University Grad and Staffer Gives Back to Former Youth ProgramJuly 24, 2013

D’Angela Sims, ’13, remembers participating in the Swope Corridor Renaissance’s Upper Room summer academic camps when she was growing up.

She remembers as part of the program, students were required to read about two books a day and then jump on a computer to take an online test to check their comprehension. At that time, there were more than 30 students vying for the three or four open computers.

 “You would have to take the test before you could move on to the next reading level,” Sims said. “Everyone wanted to move on, but with only a few computers available, we would have to spend a lot of time waiting.”

 Years later, the program still found itself in need of more and more technology to help accommodate the needs of the children, but this time it got a little help.

 At the end of June, Rockhurst University’s Community Center, in partnership with the University’s computer services department, which Sims works for as an IT analyst, donated 85 laptops to the program. These laptops were used by University faculty and staff before the regularly scheduled technology upgrade.  Fifty-nine were in working condition, and the rest could be utilized for parts or for rebuilds.

 Instead of giving the laptops away to organizations that would strip them for parts, Mike Miller, helpdesk technician, asked Alicia Douglas, director of community relations and outreach, to help find a home for these laptops. Sims said she was excited when they chose the Swope Corridor Renaissance.

 Henry Hodes, research director for the Upper Room, said the influx of new technology will not only help the students in the summer program, but the majority of the computers will be used at their new community center, which is set to open in September.  Not only could the new laptops give the community better access to technology for child and adult learning programs, the non-working laptops could be used to teach the next generation of IT engineers.

 Hodes said the best part about the whole exchange was seeing one of the program’s graduates finish high school, get a college education and then turn around and give back.

 “D’Angela embodies our mission of education for life,” Hodes said. “It’s great for us, but it is especially great for the kids that she spoke to. She is a role model for us all.”

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