For the fourth year in a row, a number of graduating Grade 8 students from Hess Street School, a Hamilton “inner city school”, now have computers to take home to prepare them for the challenges of High School.  Computers have become a necessity to complete school work at the High School and Post Secondary level.  Many students at Hess Street School are new Canadians and some families don’t have the resources to provide home computers.  On June 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm, the Rotary Club of Hamilton AM and its partners in this project presented 20 refurbished computers to Hess Street School students in the school auditorium.

The Rotary Club of Hamilton AM provides a Christmas breakfast to the entire school each year and wanted to find other ways where members could support the students and staff. This led club Past-President, Mark Ewer to initiate the “Rotary Right Click Project” and he started searching for retired business and personal computers that could be refurbished and supplied to students that couldn’t afford one. “We all know that there are thousands of computers each year that come off business leases or otherwise get replaced. I was hoping we could breathe new life into some of these machines and at the same time, support students who could benefit from them. Once again, Hamiltonians “stepped up to the plate” and in a short period of time 20 refurbished PC’s were put together.”

Key to this project was identifying surplus computers and the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton (CAS), Hamilton’s largest child welfare agency with a passion for prevention and education supported this project for the 3rd year in a row. “In our work in the community we see the challenges faced by new Canadians and that can be especially difficult for children adjusting to a new school, in a language they are unfamiliar with. We also know funds may not be there for computers which are no longer a luxury, in Ontario schools. We are delighted to participate in a project that can benefit children and have a significant impact in the community.” explains Dominic Verticchio, Executive Director of CAS.

Also contributing was Siemens Canada Limited which supplied 10 surplus laptops to this program. All computers were prepared by greenBYTE, a Hamilton program of the St. Leonard’s Society that specializes in refurbishing and selling of used computers. Greenbyte cleaned and repaired all the machines as required and loaded Windows and Microsoft Office software on all the units. The funds required to pay for licensing and repair came from the Rotary Club of Hamilton AM Community Services budget. Mark Ewer explained “because the computers were donated and license costs were modest thanks to greenBYTE, we were able to make these computers available at minimal cost. We just needed to identify students that could best use this refurbished equipments. That’s where Hess Street School staff came in! This was the right project for the right school and the right partners so we have named it the “Rotary Right Click Project”.