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Donation of 20+ Laptops to Local At-Risk Scholars Supports Their College Dreams

With all the unexpected aspects of life right now, there are many events getting postponed and cancelled. While most high school seniors had to miss their formal graduation ceremonies this spring, that will not stop them from moving on with their next step as college this fall. For at-risk youth, there are multiple unknowns regarding college – even without the challenges of a pandemic. For example, many families wonder “How will I be able to get my son or daughter a computer for college?”

That’s why DREAM Alive Executive Director Eric Muller was thrilled with the idea of Elements Financial donating more than 20 laptops in gently-used condition, “Our organization recently held a virtual graduation party for our graduating scholars using Zoom. During that ceremony, I got the joy of announcing that students would receive laptops from Elements – and you can imagine their excitement and relief!”

“The idea came up at a DREAM Alive board meeting, “ said Jeff Joyce, CFO of Elements Financial and a board member for DREAM Alive. “We were discussing possible gifts to the graduating seniors, and as the parent of a graduating senior myself, it crossed my mind that many of them would be going to college and need a laptop and not have access to one. I knew we were decommissioning laptops at Elements, so I asked if we could donate some of those being taken out of service.”

According to Adam Arffa, CIO of Elements Financial, the laptops are Lenovo X270's with a current value of $500 each. They have an Intel core and a 256 Gb hard drive, and they’re pre-loaded with Microsoft cloud-based software so they will continue to update throughout the students’ undergraduate college years. The total in-kind donation totals upwards of $10,000.

If Elements had not donated these computers, Arffa said, “We would have recycled the laptops, meaning had the hard drives shredded and the laptops resold by the recycler. We wish that all the laptops will be used in good health by the students.”  Charles Akinbola, a former employee of DREAM Alive and current Lead Branch Manager at Elements, takes pride in staying involved as a board member for DREAM Alive, “This organization doesn’t just talk about making a difference, they change the lives of at-risk youth and impact our community through a proven methodology. They have had a 100% high school graduation rate since 2010. The scholars stay in school, out of the streets and harm’s way, and pursue post-secondary education and careers. DREAM Alive meets kids where they are and shows them the path out of generational poverty. It’s a powerful mission.”

This organization doesn’t just talk about making a difference, they change the lives of at-risk youth and impact our community through a proven methodology.

- Charles Akinbola | Lead Branch Manager

The DREAM Alive staff will pick up the laptops from Elements when they are ready and deliver them to the graduating seniors by the end of July. The laptops were preceded by a cash donation of $3,400 raised by a group of Elements employees whose donations were doubled by a company match. This contribution helped DREAM Alive to provide all the seniors with a $200 cash gift and a Door Dash dinner for their families on the night of the virtual graduation.

Support Your Community

If you would like to support the scholars of DREAM Alive, please contact Eric Muller, Executive Director at emuller@dreamaliveinc.org.

Photo: Vashni Johnson of Elements Financial shops with a DREAM Alive scholar during their annual holiday shopping event. This is an opportunity for our DREAM Alive scholars to practice the budgeting skills they learn in the program by purchasing and giving gifts to families in their local community.

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