By Morgan Roan
University of Georgia
The Georgia 4-H Youth Technology Leadership Team runs the Need-a-Computer program that provided the computers.
The program started three years ago in Walton County as tech team member Rachel McCarthy's 4-H teen leadership project.
McCarthy's sister Amanda and father Jim are also involved in the tech team, which expanded the program into a statewide team service project. George Walton Academy in Monroe donated 20 Gateway computers.
Tech team workThe 25 members of the Georgia 4-H Youth Technology Team met in the fall to refurbish the computers. They cleaned them, restored the hard drives and tested each computer and monitor to make sure they worked right.
The team created the Need-a-Computer application, reference form, letter and promotional aids.
All Georgia fifth- through eighth-grade 4-H'ers could apply. First preference was given to those who didn't have regular access to a good computer.
"I think the project has excellent benefits, especially to the children who receive them," said Jillian Farley, a tech team member. "It really enables them to get involved in our rapidly advancing technology environment. Without this project many children would still not have access to a computer."
ApplicantsThe 4-H'ers who applied had to submit a 4-H activity form and character reference with the application. They had to write an essay, too, on "Why I want or need this computer."
"It's very gratifying to receive letters and read what the children wrote," said tech team advisor Cheryl Varnadoe.
In all, 50 Georgia 4-H'ers applied. University of Georgia Extension Service county agents are notifying the 20 winners. The Tech Team "hopes the winners will use their computers to excel in their schoolwork and enhance their 4-H participation," Varnadoe said.
The Georgia 4-H Youth Technology Leadership Team's main goal is to teach and train 4-H'ers and adults to better the Georgia 4-H Program.
Keeping on"This program met a need," Varnadoe said. "We plan to continue the project on a yearly basis."
The tech team members' interests include videography, graphic design, photography, writing, Web development, Web program delivery, wireless technology, Global Positioning Systems, Geographic Information Systems and computer programming.
Anyone who wants to help the Need-a-Computer program through equipment or cash donations can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the tech team, visit their Web site at www.georgia4h.org/public/edops/techteam/default.htm. For more on Georgia 4-H, contact your county UGA Extension office. Or visit www.georgia4h.org.
(Morgan Roan is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)