Monday, September 2, 2013

HAITI :: Putting the "labor" in Labor Day :: A computer lab for St. Vincent’s

A year round gift
Never have a row of cardboard boxes lining a hallway ever looked so wonderful! That's because these aren't just any boxes; they are filled to the brim with gifts from our supporters at Elkins PLC for the students, faculty and staff at St. Vincent’s Center for Handicapped Children.

What's in those 16 boxes you might ask?

Each box holds a Dell desktop computer—including hard drive, keyboard, speaker and monitor—the foundation for the new computer lab (laboratories d’informatique) at St. Vincent’s in Port-au-Prince. The lab has been designed to meet the needs of all students regardless of ability: the room and desks will be wheelchair accessible; computers will be outfitted with braille and other software specific for the student's varying needs. 

Tom Landry II diligently wrapping monitors and keyboards 

Elkins PLC, a boutique commercial real estate firm in New Orleans, offered the computers following partner Shawn Richard’s recent trip to Haiti as a Red Thread volunteer and Camp Jake counselor. So profound was Shawn’s experience with St. Vincent’s students that he and the firm aspired to further students’ ability to engage more of the world on a daily basis. Elkin’s gift of technology is the first of many to bring this dream to fruition.

Shawn, partner at Elkins PLC, with a St. Vincent's student in Haiti

The concept for the lab builds on Camp Jake Director, Tom Landry II’s vision for Camp Jake. "The Red Thread’s goal is to broaden the horizons of each member of the St. Vincent's community. Beginning with Camp Jake in 2012, St. Vincent's students are brought to the Haitian coast for a 7-day camp filled with new experiences geared toward building self-confidence and societal awareness. The computer lab will build on this foundation, giving residents of St. Vincent's a porthole through which to explore the world beyond their native Haiti and, in the process, learn valuable computer skills that will serve them well into the future."

Prior to shipment, James Juneau of New Orleans based Axxess-IT prepared the computers with much needed software and updates. Today, Shawn and Tom put the “labor” in Labor Day as they packed box after box for the equipment’s scheduled departure this Tuesday. Finally, Haitian wireless service provider, Digicel, generously donated all of the furniture, paint, labor and wifi connection boxes for the entire lab. Digicel has also committed to maintaining the lab and providing free wifi to the entire St. Vincent’s campus.

Shawn wrapping individual computer speakers

With all of the boxing complete, a weary Tom is homeward bound

A hearty thanks to Elkins PLC, Axxess-IT and Digicel for their dedication to the children at St. Vincent’s! We look forward to sharing photos of the completed lab, which is slated to open in October 2013.

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