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Southwest Neighborhood Assembly Technology Task Force
by Perry Klein, Chair


The SWNA Technology Task Force has been established to help reduce  the “digital divide” within our community.  For the past several years,  SWNA’s Technology Task Force has collected surplus computers from the  community in order to refurbish them and make them available to needy  families, primarily in the public housing projects in Southwest (James  Creek, Syphax and Greenleaf).  We have collected several hundred donated  computers, including nearly 300 from the Graduate School USA and over  200 from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, both  located in Southwest DC.  We receive software at low cost through  Techsoup which arranges software for non-profits, and SWNA is also  established as a Registered Microsoft Refurbisher, which makes it  possible to obtain Microsoft Windows and Office software at very low  cost.  Still, it averages around $100 to refurbish a computer.


In 2012, we set up several computer laboratories at Amidon-Bowen  Elementary School and Jefferson Middle School, and continued to maintain  computer centers that we had set up at Syphax Gardens and Greenleaf  Gardens Midrise public housing administered by their Resident Council  offices.  The Syphax Gardens computer center has been used for SWNA’s  “Computer-for-Kids” program, the free eight-week training program run by  volunteers of SWNA’s Youth Activities Task Force and described in their  report.  We delivered desktop computers to families whose youngsters  completed the program.  We have also been refurbishing notebook  computers and made several available for needy college-bound students in  support of SWNA’s Scholarship Task Force program. 


During the summer we provided internships to two young adults from  Greenleaf Gardens public housing in our neighborhood, to train them to  rebuild computers and help install them for our new computer centers.   These were funded by a grant from the Friends of Southwest DC and  individual donations.


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 SWNA Interns Duane Patterson and Andre Wilkinson, with Mayor Gray and Chancellor Henderson at one of the computer labs the interns set up at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School.