NEW KENT – Bridging Communities Regional Career and Technical Center & STEM Academy in New Kent County recently received 65 computers, monitors, and accessories, compliments of Vincent and Lupita Gaines.
Vincent Gaines is President and CEO of Enhanced Customer Care Solutions, a remote call center based in Long Island, New York.
The Gaines family rented a trailer and drove from New York to New Kent on Jan. 27 to deliver the computers to Bridging Communities, located at 7930 New Chipping Lane, where the school's web and game design class will refurbish them.
"When our company moved from a brick and mortar environment to a remote (work at home) environment, we found ourselves with a surplus of technology," Gaines said. "In this case, approximately 65-70 computers and monitors were held in storage [and] we weren't sure what to do with them."
Gaines was inspired to donate the computers after reading a November 2013 Tidewater Review article about Bridging Communities.
The Bridging Communities Regional Career and Technical Center, which opened in September 2012, is one of 22 Governor's STEM Academies in the state, and the first new technical center in Virginia in 20 years.
The center serves as a non-profit consortium, and includes: New Kent, Charles City, King William, King & Queen, and Middlesex County public schools.
Last November, the school provided 20 New Kent Middle School students with computers free of charge, thanks to the Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment Program (VA STAR).
"I read how computers were refurbished and distributed to students in New Kent that otherwise would not have had a computer," Gaines said. "For us, a computer is a standard household item and everyone needs and should have one."
Gaines spoke with Dr. Stephen Trexler, Director of Bridging Communities and IT Specialist, and teacher Pam Canaday, and decided that "their objectives were worth supporting."
Once refurbished, the computers will be donated to Third Union Baptist Church in King William County to help it create an afterschool program.
"We are about 2-3 months out for the church donation since those computers still need to be repaired and refurbished," said Trexler.
Bridging Communities also plans to donate refurbished computers to children in King and Queen County as part of its Bridging the Gap program (a collaborative effort with the Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment Program).
"We are looking to have the donation event in about 6-8 weeks at the King & Queen Elementary School," Trexler added.
Gaines has a soft spot in his heart for the area. He spent the majority of his summers in King William County with his grandparents, Thomas and Nettie Williams, and is in the process of moving there.
"Giving feels good and makes [my] heart smile. It was with great pleasure to be able to donate these computers for such a worthwhile purpose," Gaines said.
Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.