Ray Huard … Deadrian Coneley couldn’t wait to get home with her 6-year-old daughter to try out the computer she just picked up. “It’s very exciting,” Coneley said. “It’s going to be fun.”
Coneley was among nearly 250 Vista Unified School District families who were recently able to buy refurbished desktop computers for $80 and refurbished laptops for $150 at the Vista Literacy Center through a Computers 2 SD Kids (C2SDK) Connect2Compete event.
Those who didn’t already have Internet service also could sign up for it from Cox Communications at a reduced price of $9.95 a month for two years.
“Once a little kid gets a computer in his hands, it’s a smile ear-to-ear,” said Ramin Mesghali, a volunteer who helped unload computers from a big yellow truck in the Literacy Center parking lot and hand them off to families who came for them.
To qualify for the low-cost computers and reduced price Internet service, families must have one or more children in a school free lunch program, said Cherie Pierre, C2SDK chief executive officer. C2SDK is a San Diego-based nonprofit agency that has been providing computers to low-income families in San Diego County since 2004, Pierre said. With school lessons relying more on computers, students are at a disadvantage if they don’t have one at home, she said. “They can’t really be successful in school without a computer,” Pierre said. In 2014, the agency distributed 6,457 computers, about 2,000 of which went to families with children in Vista Unified schools, Pierre said.
“Vista’s been very good,” said MyMy Lu, Cox communications manager. “We’ve had more events in the district than anywhere else.” Pierre said Vista and Escondido are the two most active school districts in working with her agency.
Families from 21 Vista Unified Schools signed up for computers that were distributed at the Vista Literacy Center, Pierre said. The computers C2SDK sells are donated by companies, like Qualcomm, and by individuals, Pierre said.
After refurbishing, they come “fully loaded” with Microsoft Office, anti-virus software and PowerMy Learning educational software that has more than 1,000 games for students in kindergarten through high school, Pierre said. They’re also guaranteed for a year.
If there’s a problem, “It doesn’t matter what the problem is, we will fix it that computer for free,” Pierre said. “If we can’t fix it, we will swap it out.” After the first year, C2SDK charges $20 for repairs, Pierre said.
Anna Gonzalez said her three children need a computer but she hasn’t been able to afford one until (C2SDK) offered the refurbished models. “This is great,” Gonzalez said.