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AWF looking for laptops



Article Published: Jan. 19, 2012 | Modified: Jan. 31, 2012
AWF looking for laptops


Anyone looking to get rid of an old laptop computer might consider donating it to the Appalachian Women’s Fund.

The AWF is hosting a laptop drive benefiting two area nonprofits that educate, house or mentor women and girls in need.

On the campus of Appalachian State University, many students carry a laptop — not so for students of the Appalachian Commitment to a College Education for Student Success program.

ACCESS provides tuition to hundreds of students who are North Carolina residents and whose families live at or below the poverty level.

The ACCESS student must be a first-generation college student in order to receive aid.

AWF is accepting donations of laptops to distribute for the current spring semester. Hard drives of donated laptops will be wiped clean by the tech support department on campus prior to being placed in the hands of a student.

For four years, ACCESS has received financial grants from the Appalachian Women’s Fund. The ASU organization covers costs for four semesters. But because these students often have to work to make ends meet, it typically takes them longer to see that degree completion and graduation, according to Beth Marsh, director of academic services for ACCESS. If a student has to attend summer school or work an unpaid internship, ACCESS does not cover those costs. The AWF funds the gap.

Also slated to receive donated laptops is Watauga County’s women’s crisis assistance shelter, OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter). Those laptop hard drives will also be wiped clean before being placed at the crisis shelter.

With laptops, clients can better prepare themselves to leave an abusive partner by re-establishing relationships with family and friends that have been cut off by the abuser. A woman can gain access to financial links like banks and loan officers to make the transition easier, she said. Keeping open communication with counselors, mentors and a support team will provide empowerment to any woman living with domestic violence or sexual abuse. Children living in the safe house will also be able to use the laptops for homework.

Because the technology is ever-changing, the tech support department at ASU recommends that the donated laptops be no older than five years.

Donors can drop off their laptop at Kilwin’s ice cream shop at the Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway on U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock. Store hours are 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Kilwin’s will give those donating a laptop a $5 gift card as a thank-you for their tax-deductible donation.

Drop-off can also be arranged by appointment at the AWF office, located in Boone at the Oak Summit Business Park at 895 State Farm Road. Call the office at (828) 264-4002 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about the laptop drive sponsored by the Appalachian Women’s Fund.

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