LIMA — United Healthcare Community Plan of Ohio recently donated several laptop computers to two area non-profit organizations in an effort to help underprivileged youth and adults have access to advanced technology.
The Cheryl Allen South Side Community Center and the Midway East Neighborhood Association were given the computers as part of United Healthcare’s Community Computers Program. The program helps community and faith-based organizations establish their own computer labs with used, refurbished computers. Cheryl Allen was given two laptops and another five computers went to Midway East. A total of 50 computers were given away across the state of Ohio.
“We help a lot of clients with health coverage through Medicaid,” said United Healthcare Relationship Specialist Monica Peace. “A lot of those people tend to come from lower-income situations. We find our members coming here (to Cheryl Allen) quite frequently. We like to say thank you to our partner organizations with this program.”
Peace said the computers were previously in service in the United Healthcare office in Columbus. The computers have been wiped free of software and are ready for use at community facilities such as Cheryl Allen and Midway East.
“The computers will help in a lot of ways,”Peace said. “It doesn’t do us any good to throw them away.”
Peace said uses would include youth that are completing school projects and adults applying for jobs or trying to learn technology.
“Some adults in this area have spent time in prison,” Peace said. “It is often hard for them to get out of that cycle. Having technology available can help people find jobs and help them keep from going back to prison.”
Cheryl Ann Executive Director Vickie Shurelds said the computers would have an immediate impact on the people the center helps.
“One of the big problems we have is that a lot of the technology we get is not modern,” Shurelds said. “We have a lot of computers donated, and we always appreciate that. However, a lot of times the models will be too old and the clients can’t use them for updated programs or to get on the internet. We are excited about these computers because they can actually handle some of the software and the kids can do what they need to do.”
Shurelds added that the center gives adult users the chance to learn newer technology without being restricted to time limits.
“They can catch up with technology in a more relaxed atmosphere,” Shurelds said.
Shurelds said the new computers would likely be often used by school children doing school projects that required math or science technology.
Peace said United Healthcare annually awards computers to several non-profit groups throughout the state. The computers are awarded to various community centers based on need.