Making Connections: MacMan Helps Foster Growing Technology-Based Education
local computer repair shop’s program gives refurbished computers to students in need
Changing gears to an online education often presents struggles for students, teachers, and their families. And for many families, at the top of that list of struggles is a lack of access to the technology that makes virtual learning possible.
Enter GivingMac – a program working to connect students in need to their own refurbished computer, thanks to a local computer repair shop, MacMan (4677 Keystone Crossing, Eau Claire).
GivingMac aims to help support families as they rely more and more on digital educational resources, such as virtual learning or a hybrid model of education. The program made its first appearance in 2019 but is seeing increased need amid the pandemic as more students turn to virtual education.
If we can help assist someone’s interest or give them a nudge by providing a tool, that's great.
... Who knows? It could be a turning point for a student.
Owner of MacMan
“We saw an opportunity to refurbish Macs, instead of recycling them, and helping K-12 students with technology,” said Michael Ohren, owner of MacMan. “If we can help assist someone’s interest or give them a nudge by providing a tool, that’s great. ... Who knows? It could be a turning point for a student.”
Most computers used in the program are donated by customers upgrading to new devices. Other computers come in as direct donations – some from local community members and others shipped to Eau Claire from across the U.S.
MacMan's Apple-certified local technicians then get to work refurbishing and preparing the used computers for a fresh start.
“We add memory or hard drives to the ones that need them, upgrade the operating system, and test everything out,” Ohren said. “We will also offer a free orientation if needed.”
Families in need are encouraged to apply for this program. Recipients will be chosen by a volunteer-team of community members and will be quickly notified if and when they are connected to a computer.
Similarly, community members are encouraged to donate their old computers that are new enough for successful refurbishing (typically any models released after 2012).
If you’re looking to help but don’t have a computer to donate, GivingMac has an option to purchase a part that will help upgrade computers too old for successful refurbishing. Donations of iPads are also accepted.
For more information about the program, visit macmanstore.com/givingmac.