Computers 4 People: Providing Technology to Hudson County Residents

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In a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics, about 20% of 8th-grade classrooms reported not using computers for schoolwork during the school day. Often times, this is a result of decreased access to technological resources — fast-forward to the pandemic, and it’s even more of a gap in access. This concern, which has been labeled nationally as the “digital divide,” has proven to be an issue here in Hudson County for numerous programs providing educational and social resources for students. Sixteen-year-old Hoboken resident Dylan Zajac heard about this issue and knew that something had to be done. We had a chance to sit down with Dylan to learn more about Computers 4 People—a non-profit organization founded by Zajac in early 2019.

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{Photo credit: @computers4people}

How Computers 4 People Came to Be

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{Photo credit: @computers4people}

As a young person, Dylan uses technology in almost every aspect of his life. From school extracurriculars to gaming, Dylan started to notice how crucial items like computers and tablets were for both learning and playing. Along with this realization, Dylan also started to develop a passion for fixing up old computers as a way to get new tech at a lower cost. He pulled in some of his friends with similar hobbies and skills as a way to refurbish old tech and potentially make money. However, what started as a potentially lucrative business venture, quickly turned into a charitable solution. 

With a father in the tech industry and a step-mother in non-profit work, Dylan grew up with an understanding of technology as well as an understanding of the needs in under-resourced communities. These understandings, coupled with curiosity and a trip with friends to a thrift shop, is how Computers 4 People was born. 

Read More: Hudson County CASA Hosting iPad Drive for Children Without Access to Technology

“Me and my friends started going to thrift shops and buying old electronics and selling them. One of my friends had the idea to start going into schools to get more computers and refurbish them for homeless shelters,” says Zajac about how he got started on this mission. As the idea developed, Dylan brought his dad, who has a background in tech, on-board and they realized that under-resourced communities could use the computers for good and he began to lean on an additional family member whose background came in handy. “My stepmother works in non-profits, so we thought it would be a good idea to turn this into a non-profit as well.” 

Zajac worked hard to create the organization—getting 501{c}3 status, creating a website, forming a Board, getting computers, finding storage units, and more in under one year at the age of 16. After being turned down by one storage unit, he went to CubeSmart in town to request space. 

“They were really nice! They took my paperwork and within a week I was able to start using the unit which helped a lot as we had just received a donation of 30 desktops,” he shared. His love for technology and his love for giving back to the community has manifested into hard work and a dedication to providing as many places as possible with access to technology in addition to taking part in various extra-curricular activities as a student himself, such as varsity soccer, basketball, piano, leading the robotics team, and skiing. 

Getting Started

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{Photo credit: @computers4people}

As he began working on more and more computers, he reached out to organizations in the area that provide educational resources to underserved communities. Soon, he was up and running, and that first donation, one that went directly to the Hoboken Jubilee Center, really made him feel proud. “I had been talking to Veronica and Andrew at the Jubilee Center to coordinate,” Zajac mentioned that the Jubilee Center had been looking for four desktop computers to set up for students to do media work and edit movies. After coordinating with leaders at the Jubilee Center, he was able to set up the desktop computers. “While I was there, some of the kids were in the room and they were very excited to have the computers at the program!”

See More: Using Technology to Improve Mental Health: A Therapist Weighs In

Computers 4 People Today

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{Photo credit: @computers4people}

Now, just months later, Computers 4 People has donated to multiple locations throughout Hudson County and North Jersey, all with a teenager at the helm. “We have a lot of inventory and are looking for more organizations in-need and to expand as much as possible,” Dylan noted that he wants to support as many organizations as possible. “I really would like to be able to hire people, get an office space, and expand to different states so that we can donate as many computers as possible,” he told Hoboken Girl. As the program grows, Dylan hopes to expand his reach to those rebuilding their lives during and after incarceration in addition to the work he’s been able to accomplish in schools. Dylan also shared that everyone can help with this mission —“Everyone can help by donating their computers or even their time! Anyone who knows about tech or is willing to help can.”

For those looking to donate, head to www.computers4people.org and fill out the donation application. Computers 4 People accepts all electronics including desktops, laptops, keyboards, tablets, monitors, and more. Based on requests from schools in Hudson County, currently, there is a strong need for laptop computers and the inventory cannot fulfill all needs. All donations are tax-deductible and a form can be obtained on the site as well. 

Have you donated to Computers 4 People? Let us know in the comments!

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Jordan and Joelle are true Jersey Girls. Originally hailing from down the shore in Hazlet, NJ, the girls made their "rite of passage" move to Hoboken a few short years after graduating with degrees in Communications from Loyola University. Outside of their 9-5 as senior publishers in NYC, the twins can be found walking their yorkie-poo Chica, working out at the best hot yoga studios, or trying out the best restaurants in town. Like many 20-somethings, Jordan and Joelle are balling on a budget and know how to score the best deals around town!


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