At the Goleta Union School District, a team of Los Prietos Boys Camp members was arranging flat screen monitors, keyboards, power cables, and old desktop computers, before refurbishing and placing them in a new home. The camp members were astonished to see many rows of computers when the Computers For Families (CFF) technician, Walter La Riba, opened their containers. This was when the Computers For Families program moved their devices to the Goleta district headquarters located at 401 N. Fairview Ave.
CFF is a joint program of Santa Barbara County Education Office and Santa Barbara Partners in Education. The program has offered more than 11,000 computers to families and students who does not own desktop since the founding of the program in 1996. Boys from Los Prietos, which is a high school and county probation detention center refurbished and distributed the computers to the families.
“We tend to get a lot of donations during the holiday season,” said La Riba, who has been an employee of CFF for eleven years. “The computers are in good condition and functional. They just need some repair.” La Riba said that about 600 computers are donated to the families in South Coast annually.
According to the United States Census Bureau, access to internet and computers has become a necessity to gather data and to search for jobs. Superintendent Bill Banning of the Glendale Unified School District supported the initiative, and said that, “This program helps prepare students to be fully engaged in their education at school and at home. The lack of home-based access to the technological tools that have become part of contemporary schooling is a significant deficit for families that can’t afford to provide it.”
The nationally acclaimed CFF program is an effort to offer broadband access to low income families to help them connect to the internet. The biggest need of the program is dependable access to broadband connectivity for some of the families. Pew Research Center said that the cost for broadband services per month is the main reason for the lack of home broadband subscriptions for many families.
It is to be noted that these families got information about the discounted internet from Cox Communications via their Connect2Compete service. Around one-third of the students in the US, mainly those from the low-income homes, lack internet access in homes and Connect2Compete program from Cox works to change that.
“The program continues to provide families with computers and has expanded its focus to providing wireless connectivity and low-cost access to the internet,” Banning said.