Nowadays, computers are considered outdated if they are more than a couple of years old, but Paula Wood’s nonprofit Success in Challenges in Long Beach has been using the same computers for more than seven years, with her students struggling with the slow speed and no Internet access.

But since the five laptops arrived last fall though Edison International’s computer donations program, the mostly minority, underserved students who attend the nonprofit’s tutorial and educational classes couldn’t be happier.

“They were so excited and they wanted to use them for their homework, but they also wanted to get Internet access for their email and games,” said Wood, who has been executive director of the grassroots, social service agency the past four years. “Most of our kids don’t have computers at home and they only use computers when they are at our site.”

Edison International’s “Computers for the Community” Program donates refurbished computers to public and private schools (K-12) as well as nonprofits located in its subsidiary Southern California Edison (SCE)’s service territory. All the donated computers are no more than three years old and are installed with Windows 7.

Schools can receive up to 10 computers and nonprofits up to five computers every two years. Over the past two years, the company has donated 2,689 computers to qualified schools and nonprofit organizations. 

“We are delighted to be able to contribute these refurbished computers to schools and nonprofit organizations that are serving our communities,” said Tammy Tumbling, SCE director of Philanthropy and Community Investment. “Computers and the technology they provide are an important tool for learning in today’s schools and also a key resource that nonprofit organizations use to carry out their mandates and enhance their abilities to help the underserved in the community.” 

Since receiving the refurbished computers, Wood sees a huge improvement in the students who come to Success in Challenges. Not only has she seen more enthusiasm in her students to do their homework, parents have told her they have seen an improvement in their kids’ grades.

It’s also important for the students to be able to do their homework on a computer, she said, and not hand in handwritten assignments whether it be English, science or math. Students also don’t have to rely on library computers as much, since many have reduced their hours.

“It has opened up some opportunities for them to be able to get their work done,” said Wood. “We all take it for granted that everyone has a computer and smartphones, but not everyone does. Some don’t have Internet access.”

Wood first learned about the computer donation program after attending an Edison International grants workshop. She immediately applied and soon received word that Success in Challenges was approved for five laptops.

She plans to apply for another five refurbished computers soon.

”Edison is providing a great service to low-income families who don’t have access,” said Wood. “For nonprofits, something like computers, we do not have the budget for it. Our program is free to the community, and this is a real asset and boost for the community.”

All of Edison International’s refurbished computers are wiped clean of existing data before they are donated. The company also arranges for the donated computers to be securely transported and delivered to the school or nonprofit receiving them.

For more information and to apply for a computer donation, visit www.edison.com/computerdonations.