Students get computers... for free.

March 5, 2009 3:36:03 PM PST
Students at one school in Spring Garden are now the proud owners of free laptop computers.The devices are thanks to Philadelphia's Nonprofit Technology Resources Center, or NTR.

The computers were refurbished and donated.

"We prepare the machines in advance, and we teach them how to take care of them," said Stan Pokras, the Executive Director of the NTR.

Twenty 11th graders from Kensington International Business High School were selected. They got a chance to meet Philadelphia's First Lady, Lisa Nutter, and tell her how a computer would impact their lives.

"My brothers and sisters, we do a lot of projects for school, so it's going to help everybody in my house out a lot," said student Marcus Perrin.

"I'm just happy to have my own computer, and I can do so much more without going outside when it's cold," said student Shakia Jackson.

"This program will allow students to realize their potential as researchers and young professionals," said English teacher John Lavin.

The machines were rebuilt by participants in NTR's "Tech-Redi" program. It's a welfare-to-work program where the participants learn new skills to help them in the job market.

The NTR Thrift Store benefits the community by selling computers and accessories at low cost, and the thrift store profits go right back to programs like Tech-Redi.

"I feel amazed because it was learning, too. And it made me feel good because the younger people are learning and doing more positive things," said Tech-Redi student Tovarria Guess.

"The bridge with PWDC is equally important because people are getting trained in refurbishing the computer, which is a great adult connection to this youth initiative," Lisa Nutter said.

It's a connection that will benefit these students now, and in the future.

"I just want to be ready and prepared for next year," Perrin said.

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