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14th CS continues to advance the Computers for Learning program

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COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Even with COVID-19 transforming everyday life, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi continues to advance the Department of Defense’s Computers for Learning program.

In 1996, the Computers for Learning program was created under Executive Order 12999, which states “Educational Technology: Ensuring Opportunity for All Children in the Next Century.”

The main focus is for federal agencies to distribute excess IT equipment to schools and educational non-profits, says 2nd Lt. Benjamin Duncan, 14th Communications Squadron equipment control officer.

“The goal is to work with local schools to get them enrolled in the program so they can receive equipment at no cost,” said Duncan. “As the Air Force gets more technology, they can’t hold on to all of it, it eventually has to be retired and this gives the opportunity for schools to get functioning hardware.”

The program’s challenges are lack of equipment from the base and communication within the school district, said Leslie Flynn, Columbus AFB school liaison.

Currently less than 3% of schools in the state of Mississippi are enrolled in the program.

“With COVID-19 and distanced learning, the need for equipment has certainly escalated,” she said. “We’re hoping this year we can really help our local schools. We need people in various departments to help by looking and turning in equipment.”

Flynn said all equipment, such as computers with Windows 10 capability, keyboards and monitors can equip schools and educational non-profits to help students gain access to a better learning environment.

“You’d be surprised how the smallest of things could be of value,” Flynn said. “A computer mouse, keyboards… It’s certainly nice to get computers and monitors, but even some of the more basic things would be greatly appreciated.”

The last donation made by Columbus AFB was estimated at $67,000 worth of equipment to Victory Christian Academy in 2015.

Over the next four years, the 14th CS plans to revamp the program by donating over 2,000 computers.

Even with COVID-19 as the new normal, Flynn said she believes she and others can help the community tremendously.

“I’m hoping, this year, for really good participation with an asset roundup,” she said. “I hope everyone is enthusiastic about giving, knowing that the equipment will help children in the community.”

For any questions about the program or how to donate, please contact Leslie Flynn at leslie.flynn@us.af.mil or call the 14th CS at (662) 434-2666.

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