A Houston nonprofit aims to tackle students’ digital divide through refurbished laptops

Digital divide: Working to bridge the gap
Digital divide: Working to bridge the gap

HOUSTONWhat’s the issue?

A large majority of students in the Houston-area are having a tough time keeping up with their school assignments. It’s not because they can’t do the work. Many of them don’t have a laptop or access to the internet.

Students are now at home and forced to learn online due to the coronavirus. Many families do not have a computer at home or internet service to complete required school assignments, causing a digital divide. Nearly 140,000 students don’t have access to a computer or laptop and 200,000 do not have a wireless internet connection, according to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

What’s being done to help?

Colin Dempsey and his small staff at Comp-U-Dopt are working hard to keep up with the demand for refurbished computers.

“I get at least a 100 phone calls and emails a day from parents who are desperate to find a way to connect their children,” said the executive director.

The Houston non-profit takes donated laptops and computers, clears and refurbishes them to get to a student in need through their lottery system.

We’ve had over 27,000 families apply for a computer lottery in just the past 2 weeks,” Dempsey said.