Computers for Everyone is a welcoming space where people can get the tools they need to realize 21st century opportunities. East Palo Alto's population of nearly 29,000 is diverse: 64% Latino, 17% African-American, 8% Pacific Islander, 6% White, and 4 % Asian. 40% are foreign-born. Almost 70% speak a language other than English at home. Our neighboring community, Belle Haven, in east Menlo Park actually resembles East Palo Alto's demographics more than fellow neighborhoods in its own city.
Education and income are major factors in access to technology--the higher the income and educational attainment in the home, the more likely the home has at least one working computer and Internet connectivity. A snapshot of our local communities shows that 15% of residents hold bachelor's degrees or higher, the median household income is less than $48,000, and the typical household has 4 members.
In 2014, just minutes away from tech industry giants, the need for access to digital literacy trainings, low-cost repairs and equipment, and affordable Internet connectivity is as big as ever. And CFE strives to meet that need, every day.
"I just can't deal with that library anymore. Three computers and they are all down."---Adult student buying a low-cost refurbished machine.
"I have three jobs right now, but I still find time to come to the shop to learn more technical skills from Bill and practice working with customers. It's hard, but I want a job in the IT field and I need to keep working at it until I find one."---Raul, current intern, started July 2013.
A typical day at CFE reveals the ongoing technology needs of our surrounding communities. Calls come in or folks stop by throughout the day with questions ranging from password retrieval to software application problems. On any given day, you can find teens, seniors, single parents, extended families, or adult students at our shop having their equipment repaired or buying a refurbished system-all at costs they can afford. Intern technicians help support our goal while gaining valuable technical and customer service skills. Every day, our WiFi 101 network is running and allowing community members free Internet access.