TeamChildren helps bridge the digital divide with computer donation

The nonprofit organization gave 30 computers to Elkins Elementary.

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

TeamChildren, a nonprofit organization that improves student access to technology, recently donated 30 computers to Elkins Elementary School in Kensington to help improve students’ digital learning.

Bob Toporek, the founder of TeamChildren, received an anonymous letter in December 2016 from a community member asking him to help the school. The letter stated that the school didn’t have any computers, putting the students at risk of falling behind in the digital arena. This situation, often called the digital divide, is where low-income communities lag in the 21st-century economy because they are unable to keep up with technology.

Toporek also once worked with Elkins principal Evelyn Nunez at a school in North Philadelphia, so making the donation was an easy decision.

After raising $4,000 to pay for 30 refurbished desktops with learning programs in music, math, and reading, he donated the computers in early May.

“I know her commitment to increasing academic performance,” said Toporek. “So I knew that if we put them here, they would go to good use.”

Despite what the anonymous letter claimed, Elkins students had been working on computers for many years, but Nunez said that she was still grateful for the donation.

“These computers are a godsend,” said Nunez. “They will make a big difference in our children’s academic and economic future.”

Gianie Oquendo, a 4th-grade student at Elkins, said her mouse moves a little too fast, but other than that, the computers are “very good.”