Sky's the Limit Needs Only 210 Laptops to Help Students!
Created November 15, 2010 by Caroline McIntosh
Mission: Sky’s the Limit Youth Organization (STL) provides students with access to the tools and resources they need to pursue the infinite opportunities and possibilities available to them.
• Raise funds to purchase refurbished computers.
• Provide refurbished computers to students from under-resourced communities.
• Establish a mentoring and tutoring program to get the students up and running.
• Facilitate access to online resources, creating an awareness of the many learning opportunities available to students.
• Improve the students’ overall computer skills and develop their essential workplace skills.
• Reduce waste and recycle technology, thus reducing the technological waste-stream.
• Offer a solution to the Digital Divide.
Digital Divide: the polarization of society into two extreme groups: those with access to technology and those without access. Most students in middle and high-school are assumed to have a computer in the home to finish their assignments. Without computers, homework doesn’t get done and students may fall behind. Computers also give students and their families the capability to access the Internet. The Internet is a major learning resource and should be available to all. STL is providing the tools and nurturing the young minds of the leaders of tomorrow. STL is achieving our mission to provide under-resourced students with the tools and resources they need to succeed in today’s competitive workforce.
“People of all ages will have to be sufficiently competent, digitally and otherwise, to be aware of their learning opportunities, and have the ability to access and leverage them quickly and efficiently. Those who are not digitally savvy may fall behind.” (Improving Canada’s Digital Advantage: Strategies for Sustainable Prosperity, Government of Canada)
Brief History: Lara Tavares, founder & CEO of STL, grew up in Kanata, Ontario where her father worked for Digital Equipment Corporation. This gave Lara the unique opportunity to have access to a computer at a young age as she quickly realized that a computer is a valuable resource and can offer many opportunities. This insight lead her to create STL in 2004 after a successful decade-long year career in graphic design, web development and information architecture.
For 8 years now, STL has been providing refurbished computers to under-resourced students participating in a partner organization’s program. Students are provided support through an orientation or mentoring or training program that ensures that the students become familiar with how to use a computer and the Internet. Student recipients may also be referred by teachers, guidance counselors or apply for a computer online independently.
Most students in middle and high-school are assumed to have a computer in the home to finish their assignments. Without computers, homework doesn’t get done and students may fall behind. Computers also give students and their families the capability to access the Internet. The Internet is a major learning resource and should be available to all. Active computer users can use technology to make a difference in their own lives, in the lives of their families, and their communities. When a student receives a computer from STL, that student’s entire sphere of influence benefits. Younger siblings have the opportunity to practice their skills from an early age. Parents have a chance to develop their skills, do research, or type a resume. Relatives and friends also can have the opportunity to have access to the computer.
“Use of computers can enhance how children learn by supporting four fundamental characteristics of learning: (a) active engagement, (b) participation in groups, (c) frequent interaction and feedback, and (d) connections to real-world contexts” (Roschelle et al., 2000).
Environment: STL has also impacted the environment in a positive way. The average life span of a computer in Canada is 5 years. Burning computers creates carcinogens and burying them contaminates the ground and water. STL provides environmental benefits by ensuring that computer systems are reused and recycled so that they do not end up in landfill sites.
Awards & Accomplishments:
• STL was able to place its 1000th computer on Friday, August 8th, 2008.
• In 2008, Lara received the following awards and recognition:
o 2008 FLARE Magazine Volunteer of the Year Award
o AronIMAGE award (Youth & Community)
o PricewaterhouseCoopers Individual Leadership Grant ($2,000)
• STL was able to hire a past recipient, Grace Han, as an administrative assistant in 2008.
• STL was awarded “Best of North York” & “Best of Bayview” 2009 (Community Spirit & Public Eye) by Post City Magazines.
• Lara received the Harlequin More Than Words award in 2009 ($10,000 USD).
• Over 1960 computers placed to date!
Sky's the Limit has only 210 laptops left to help kid's across Canada in 2010! Help us to change lives :) Thank you for your vote! www.stlonline.org