11 June

Here Goes: The Bishop Maginn Laptop Campaign.

by Jon Katz

I’m very excited to formally announce the Army Of Good’s computer laptop campaign for Bishop Maginn High School in Albany, a struggling private Catholic school riding some rough waves but always remembering what faith is really all about – helping the needy and the vulnerable.

I learned the last week from the school’s English teacher that Bishop Maginn has no computers for the students or most of the teachers to use.

Henry was direct, he said it was desperately important for their students, many refugees from Asia and other parts of the world to learn about computers.

Principal Mike Tolan reinforced this plea, children who have no exposure to computers will be at a great disadvantage in life as they move through the school system and hopefully, towards college. He said he has just not had enough money in the budget to do this.

Students can’t even apply to many colleges without using a computer. At Bishop Maginn, you rarely see a cellphone, and there is no Wi-Fi or computers or tablets at home.  Many of the students have to travel some distance to get to the library to check e-mail.

There is just no money in their families for technology. And there is little or no technology in the school.

So we all did our homework and came up a computer that the teachers and staff say is familiar to them. This is the 218 Acer Chromebook, priced at $205, a fine price for a new and well functioning computer.

It’s a highly regarded durable basic laptop, easy to use and maintain. It does everything the students and the teachers need  it to do.

Principal Tolan says the school needs 26 of these machines. I am pleased to be the first to launch this campaign, I bought two of these laptops today and shipped them to the school.

Kathleen, a generous donor to the Army Of Good, is sending  me a check for $1,000 so I can purchase five more. That means we will need to raise $3,1900 to do this, fortunately we have a few months.

My goal is to have all of these – 26 –  laptops up and running at Bishop Maginn by September, when school starts up again.

We’re starting up a new choir, restoring the art program to full capacity, selling the work of their young artists, getting shoes and clothes and food to the neediest if needed. It would be great to round this off with computer technology, so essential for them as they transition to America.

We’ll be putting some microscopes up on the Bishop Maginn Amazon Wish List shortly, the school’s only microscope is broken. But that’s for next week.

There are several ways to donate if you wish, and please remember that donations to the school are tax-deductible, the school will send verification letters if needed.

Over the next week, the school will be setting up a direct donation page on its website, BishopMaginn.com. In the meantime, you can send a check in any amount to Mike Tolan, Principal, Bishop Maginn High School, 75 Park Street, Albany, N.Y., 12202. Please mark the check “laptops.”

If you prefer – I know some people do – you can  send me a contribution in any amount via Paypal, jon@bedlamfarm.com, or mail a check to Jon Katz, Laptop Program, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

You may also purchase one of these laptops directly from Amazon and ship it to the school. Please make sure to have it shopped to Bishop Maginn High School, 75 Park Avenue, Albany, N.Y., 12202.  — 518 462 2247.

I feel confident we can and will do this.

I can’t think of many better ways to have a profound impact in the lives of these children, and this very worthy school. Blessings to you all.

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