Managing the inventory of parts has its costs, however, and TCP and participants have been absorbing these costs.
TCP members have picked up computers from all over the North West Corner in their own vehicles. An upcoming project at the Torrington Company underscores the commitment in time and equipment that is involved, with roughly an hour's travel time and 4 hours of technical help, formatting drives of computers being given to us.
•Identifying and inventory management.
TCP now has hundreds of individual components that need to be inventoried, organized and shelved. Most of these parts are in good shape but desperately need to be labeled and separated. Non-functioning and un-needed parts should be discarded regularly, and this requires time, organization and transportation. Currently, this is done twice a year, to coincide with regional recycling.
•Better shelving, storage, seating for classes, and lighting.
TCP has used existing closets and the few shelves that are available are overflowing. C A Lindel has donated air-conditioning and seating (Thank You!), but lighting should be improved if we offer classes. Slide-out keyboard trays would provide needed space, $30 apiece.
Volunteers have made TCP a community success story, and we can count on continued help from generous involved individuals. Too much work falls on the volunteers that make this process work, and TCP needs the paid help of someone who has a scheduled responsibility. Namely, this work involves: Inventorying donated items, listing donors for the Chamber of Commerce and Canaan Lions Club for receipts, advertising TCP community projects via newsletter and website, supervising activities. Total number of hours per week: 10. Projected cost: $100 weekly, perhaps Great job for high school student.
•TCP provides basic training in the hardware that operates today's computers.
TCP puts unused hardware in a laboratory setting. Donated by corporations and individuals thru our affiliation with the Canaan Lions Club, these computers are put through some basic tests and TCP shows how to save working parts and refurbish worthy older computers with recycled, working components. TCP needs funds for purchasing software and operating system licenses for these computers. Typically, this is Windows 95 or 98 and commonly used application software such as Word or Excel, available as Microsoft Office 97 or MSOffice 2000. We have been fortunate enough to receive enough of these in the past year, but have had to pay out of our own pockets for more and more software this year.
•TCP gives refurbished computers to the community and shows participants how to troubleshoot their computer.
Everyone is welcome, and many people continue to stay involved as they learn to get comfortable with technology.
TCP needs funds for purchasing parts, which may not be available on a regular basis through donation. These parts often include: modems (not often used in corporate machines given to us), hard drives (many computers have hard drives that no longer work), CD Rom drives (these are more likely to not survive through the hardship of repeated use) and RAM memory (current operating systems need as much RAM as they can get, often double what is given to us. The average cost of needed parts per computer given away: $75. TCP gave away over 100 computers during calendar year 2000, to non-profit groups, municipal departments, day-care centers, students and other individuals. TCP had to charge for the cost of replacement parts when they were needed for these computers and I personally paid for parts until recipients were able to do so themselves. We must overcome this hardship with a budget for replacement parts.
TCP provides a networked, classroom setting for research on computer networking and repairs. Unheard of in any community setting, this feature sets TCP apart from anything that students are likely to see and experience in computer training that is FREE and OPEN TO PUBLIC. Even in expensive training facilities charging $1000 or more for - weeklong classes, the availability of networked systems like ours is limited. The TCP network lab was assembled by high school students from Housatonic Valley Regional HS. Local companies and individuals donated all parts. TCP needs funds to maintain this facility with replacement parts, software, training and manuals.
° Training has been a big part of TCP. Organized classes offering training in Windows, Word, Spreadsheets, Databases, Internet and Email, Web design and Networking all would be natural extensions of what we already provide! Much of this training happens here on an impromptu basis and should be secured with funding to organize regular, scheduled classes in this facility, which now has the equipment to host the courses. There are 8 working computers, all Pentium 100 - 300 MHZ operating Windows 95, 98 or 2000 in our lab. This is an ideal environment, in the perfect downtown location for many people. TCP needs funding for software, instruction, seating, lighting, manuals and marketing costs.
The instructors are readily available at $30 per hour; many have donated their time in the past year to get TCP started.
Class fees may offset some of these costs. Many people currently take part in programs at the high school and would prefer the downtown location of the Douglas Library.
The Computer Project, formerly Computers for Learning
A Volunteer Project of the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce
and the Canaan Lions Club
PO Box 515
Salisbury, CT 06068
First Selectmen's Office
Town of Salisbury