Donated laptops in action at Pathfinders' youth shelter.
November 20, 2020
Virtual learning is challenging enough. For youth experiencing homelessness, finding the time and resources to attend school remotely is even harder.
United Way’s Techquity initiative provides resources like laptops, tablets, wifi hotspots, and tech accessories to those who need it most. In 2020, one of the priorities of Techquity was to connect youth experiencing homelessness with the tech they need to attend school.
"The youth and families we serve are some of the most traumatized and marginalized in our entire community,” said Tim Baack, president and CEO of Pathfinders Milwaukee. “It’s not a surprise but incredibly disheartening to see how big the impact of COVID has been on our youth and families.”
The mission of Pathfinders is to empower youth and change lives. The organization serves youth and adults aged 25 and under experiencing homelessness, housing instability, and trauma. During COVID-19, Pathfinders has continued to provide services such as youth shelter, a drop-in day center, and street outreach.
“As an organization, we learn by listening to our young people and finding out what they need from us,” said Tim. “And one of those resources they need right now is technology.”
At Pathfinders’ youth shelter, laptops donated through the Techquity initiative are used by students to virtually connect to their classrooms. In contrast to the older-model desktop computers, laptops allow the youth to remain socially distanced while learning.
“Transportation is another major barrier for the youth and families we serve, so travelling to MPS to pick up laptops and Chromebooks was a challenge,” said Tim. “Having those laptops donated by United Way here at our shelter has eliminated that barrier.”
The Techquity initiative is supported by individual financial gifts and donations of unused technology by local companies. To date, more than 140 laptops and tablets have been distributed to those in need in our community.
“As usual, United Way didn’t wait for us to ask for help,” said Tim. “They reached right out to ask ‘what do you need?’ Our students now have easy access to the laptops here on site thanks to United Way and its partners.”
Your donation to the Techquity initiative is put to immediate use, providing essential technology to students and families throughout our community. Click here to learn more.