Reopened Frederick Douglass Community Center Gives Technology Boost to D.C. Neighborhood

A local nonprofit offering computers as inexpensive as $25 to low-income residents and residents with disabilities in Montgomery County for 20 years brought those deals to southeast D.C. Friday.

The reopened Frederick Douglass Community Center offers those deals plus job training. After being closed for more than 15 years, the renovated community center includes a space for refurbishing computers.

Volunteers with Project Reboot refurbish computers donated by local businesses. The computers then are sold to residents in need.

Wilderness Technology Alliance President Lou August drove to the community center Friday with computers and other technology his nonprofit no longer needs and would otherwise discard.

“It’s a win in not ending up in a landfill and it’s a win by providing it to a low-income person,” August said.

“We also wanted to demonstrate to other businesses and nonprofits what kind of impact they can have by donating surplus equipment to Project Reboot,” he added.

More than 16,000 computers have been refurbished for the poor and people with disabilities in the Washington metropolitan area, Project Reboot President Dennis Courtney said.

That part of the city has a growing need for community assets like this, city officials said.

“Our students are being asked more and more in school to show proficiency in technology and access at home is key to building that,” D.C. State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang said.

In addition to being able to buy a computer for as little as $25, residents will also be able to get computer training at the community center -- life skills and job skills.

Mable Carter, who has lived in the Congress Heights neighborhood for more than three decades, said it is important for young students and residents of her generation alike to be connected these days.

“It’s very important for us to stay in the loop,” she said. “It helps us to keep us alive.”

She was part of the effort to reopen the community center.

“It was an eyesore,” she said. “And our history is one of the things that was lost here.”

To get involved with Project Reboot, go to its website here.

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