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State Honoree

Jacob Komar

Connecticut

Jacob Komar, 10, of Burlington, Conn., a sixth-grader at Talcott Mountain Academy in Avon, initiated a program called “Computers for Communities” that has refurbished and upgraded 53 outdated computers and installed them in the homes of disadvantaged families. Jacob, a self-described “computer fanatic,” was shocked when he learned of an entire warehouse at his school filled with old computers that were going to be thrown out. He realized he could revamp the computers and give them to people who could not afford their own. “I thought that by doing this, I would help a lot of kids get a head start,” said Jacob. First, he secured the school district’s approval to take the old computers, and then went to work on the machines – analyzing, trouble-shooting and rebuilding. He had to call numerous software companies to transfer licenses, and installed new software and hardware where appropriate. In order to identify those in his community most in need of computers, Jacob worked with the Department of Social Services. When the computers were ready, Jacob installed them in their new homes and taught 140 family members how to use them. As word of “Computers for Communities” has spread, Jacob has received more computer donations. He hopes to recruit other young kids to help with his project, and expand it to other communities.