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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Lake View Terrace

Parent Volunteers Get Free Computers

October 25, 2000|STEPHANIE STASSEL and IRENE GARCIA

Laura Mena brought something home Tuesday that she never thought she could afford: a personal computer. And she got it for free.

In the past year, the Parent Center of Fenton Avenue Charter School has given away 400 computers that were donated by State Farm Insurance Co., said Irene Sumida, director of instruction. Parent volunteers were the first to receive computers, followed by deserving students who were recognized by their teachers, said Sumida.

While the Hewlett Packard computers may be outdated in the business world, they are a welcome addition in the homes of Fenton students, 90% of which qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

Mena's two children, Yvonne Ortiz, 8, and Alberto Ortiz, 5, are students at Fenton, where Mena takes English classes.

"At first I couldn't believe it. It seemed unreal that I could get a free computer," she said. "My daughter uses computers at school and has been asking me to buy her one for a while, but I don't have the money. This is the best gift I could get."

The software used by State Farm employees has been removed from the computers, but a Fenton teacher who developed a writing program is willing to share it with families who received a free computer, Sumida said.

Parents who need computer instruction can enroll in a free class Monday and Wednesday evenings at the school, which offers free child care.

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