Local Eagle Scout Candidate assisting community electronically

Eagle Scout Candidate Ryan Kelley works on a donated laptop.
Eagle Scout Candidate Ryan Kelley works on a donated laptop.(Emily Tadlock)
Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT
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OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - An Eagle Scout candidate from Old Town is still scouting, even during the pandemic.

For his project, he’s taking an electronic approach to helping out his community.

”In our data collection this summer, about 275 of our elementary school families said that they either had no device at home or a shared device at home,” says Jon Doty, Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment for RSU 34.

RSU 34, like many school districts in the state, is using a hybrid learning model for their students.

But not everyone has access to the necessary equipment for remote learning.

“Little kids, 1st graders and 2nd graders, have enough trouble keeping track of a pair of mittens. We don’t want to have them worry about taking their computers back and forth from school to home, and we know there’s so much potential this year for disruption,” says Doty.

An effort led by Eagle Scout Candidate Ryan Kelley aims to address that gap.

He’s hosting an online learning computer drive.

“People bring in used and slightly damaged hardware to us so we can re-purpose it and install Chromebook operating system onto it so that we can then use it for online learning,” says Kelley.

Kelley says he drew inspiration from e-waste projects where people recycle electronics.

He plans to repair what he can to help those in need and recycle the electronics that are too far gone.

“There’s still families who don’t have computers capable of going online and using the webcam. Being in a classroom of up to 30 people, they don’t have the graphical capabilities to do that. So, this is just a way to try and get computers into people’s hands so that they can learn and succeed this year,” says Kelley.

Doty says, “Even if a family has means to purchase things themselves, there are a lot of things you just can’t get right now, and so being able to collect those things that are just sitting in somebody’s closet or basement and rehab them and get them out to kids is helping address a big gap in the community.”

Monday was the official drop off day, but anyone can drop off electronics clearly marked for donation to any of the RSU 34 school lobbies Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Kelley and his team of scouts will take it from there.

If you are in need of pickup, please call 478-4295.

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