Purchase photos

Business computes value of giving





Old computers have found new life at Sicoir Computer Technologies in Hays during the past year.

The business approached Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County with an idea to give disadvantaged families secondhand computers. Ten computers already have been gifted.

"We get people that bring in computers and things like that all the time as we upgrade businesses, home users, things like that," said Lance Bickle, co-owner of Sicoir. "A lot of times the machines are still usable."

Often the computers need a new hard drive or memory. Sicoir holds the machines for a few months in case the owner needs anything on it, and then the company erases information on the computers.

Dallas Haselhorst, co-owner, said the computers are not top of the line, but they are a significant asset for needy families. Finding new owners for abandoned machines is an example of "reduce, reuse, recycle" and cuts back on needless waste, he said.

Access to technology in the home also can help intellectual development.

"It helps bridge that gap, that educational divide that may exist," Haselhorst said.

The store expects an increase in abandoned computers because Microsoft is ending support for its XP systems in April, and many users will buy newer products. The Linux operation system is put on the donated computers because it requires less maintenance.

Alisha Brownell, match support specialist for Big Brothers Big Sisters, said the computers make a difference in many lives. She donated her own computer to the program.

"We're able to give them to the families that are involved in our program, and the kids are able to use them if they've got school projects to work on," Brownell said. "The parents are able to use them if they need to update a resume or do some job searching online, so it's really beneficial for the whole families that are getting them."

Sicoir is preparing to give six more computers to the nonprofit. Although the equipment is old, the recipients are grateful.

"I don't think any of the families we've donated the computers to have ever had a computer," she said. "They all go to the library to use the library computers."

Anyone can visit Sicoir, 1503 E. 27th, and donate computer equipment to the cause.