Cary teens collect tech for good

akenney@newsobserver.comSeptember 8, 2013 

Griffin College, 16, left, and Jasper Brindis, 15, pose with the early haul from their technology drive, which will send computers for refurbishment and use by people in need. Jasper is vice president and Griffin is president of the Green Hope High School Computer Club.

ANDREW KINNEY — akinney@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

  • Want to donate used electronics?

    Email ghhscomputer@gmail.com to donate items through September. Items are accepted in rooms 2000 and 2304 of Green Hope High School, in the school commons and near the car pool lane. The school is at 2500 Carpenter Upchurch Road in Cary. The organizers also can pick up electronics Sept. 21 and 28.

    Items that can be donated include laptops, desktops, tablets, LCD monitors, hard drives over 20 gigabytes, RAM of at least 256 megabytes, optical drives, thumb drives, keyboards and mice, computer speakers and cellphones.

— It’s not unusual to hear teens ask for a computer or phone. But it is unusual when they’re asking on behalf of someone else – and that’s what a group of coders and tech enthusiasts are doing at Green Hope High School.

The school’s computer club, led by Griffin College and Jasper Brindis, is collecting used computers, peripherals and phones for refurbishment and donation to others.

“My family, we always were on the cutting edge of technology. We always had the newest stuff. When we wanted computers, we got computers,” said Griffin, 16. “And now in our downstairs closet, under the stairs, there are seven computers. What are they doing? Collecting dust.”

Jasper, 15, was thinking on the same track. He and his father had worked several sessions with Kramden Institute, a Durham-based nonprofit that refurbishes computers and sends them across the state to people who need them.

As the new leaders of the Green Hope High School Computer Club, vice president Jasper and president Griffin decided to put their organization toward a new, charitable goal.

“I’m sure half the school (population) has old computers laying around their houses,” Jasper said.

To promote the idea, the two went to local business owners, including Cary’s new PDQ restaurant, Planet Smoothie, Chick-fil-A and Zpizza, for sponsorships and rewards for those who donate. Each donation will earn a Chick-fil-A coupon and a shot at a bigger package of coupons.

The group will send the computers, tablets, phones and accessories to Kramden Institute for processing.

After the drive, the club hopes to expand its mission permanently, from simply using computers to sharing their power. That’s an increasingly important goal, considering how thoroughly local schools have digitized themselves.

“If a kid’s at school without a computer, you’re at such a disadvantage,” Jasper said.

“That’s our job – to get as many people as we can a computer,” Griffin added.

Computer donation also tackles the problem of “e-waste,” the form of trash an electronic device becomes at the end of its often-short lifespan.

The pair had planned to collect only 15 computers and 25 phones, but they were well on their way to passing that number before the drive officially started.

To make a donation, email ghhscomputer@gmail.com. The teens can arrange pickup from Cary, Apex and Morrisville on Sept. 21 and 28; otherwise, items will be accepted at Green Hope High School until the end of September.

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