Robin Schultz and Olivia Lenamond
Robin Schultz and Olivia Lenamond refurbish computers in their lab at Artists on the Bluff and distribute them to students in the Hoover City Schools systems.
Surrounding Robin Schultz, computer towers are stacked like bricks. They climb the walls of his office in the Artists on the Bluff building.
Schultz, a Bluff Park resident and owner of the company PC Medics, has amassed most of them through donation. Local residents give him their unwanted computer hardware, and using his expertise he prepares the equipment for a second life serving students.
In 2011, Schultz started a project he called Learning to Be the Light. Its mission is to refurbish computers and install them in the homes of Hoover City School students who need them for schoolwork but don’t currently have home access.
“We get names of students from the principals at the schools and then we take over from there,” Schultz said.
While serving as Simmons Middle School Principal, Carol Barber said she shared names of students with parents’ permission to assist Schultz with the project. As long as the student’s home has Internet access, Schultz said he is willing to install a Windows PC, monitor, keyboard and mouse.
The project began years ago when Schultz installed a computer in the home of one of his Sunday school students, Olivia Lenamond. At the time, Lenamond was living with her grandmother and studying information technology at Hoover High, but she didn’t have a computer to work from at home.
Lenamond later worked with Schultz in an internship, and during that time Schultz learned Lenamond was in need of a different home environment. In 2011, he gained guardianship of Lenamond and his family welcomed her into their lives permanently.
Lenamond is now a sophomore studying information technology at the University of South Alabama. On weekends when she is home from school, they spend several hours working on the computers, Schultz said.
“We decided we had this talent of being able to fix computers. So why not use it to give back?” Schultz said. “I honestly don’t believe there is a computer out there that we can’t fix.”
Learning to Be the Light is not currently a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, but Schultz hopes that with fundraising efforts they will be able to reach that status in the near future. Schultz and Lenamond set a goal of collecting $3,500 over the next few months to help cover the costs of the project.
“Every little bit counts,” Schultz said. “We are doing this because we just feel it’s the right thing to do.”
Schultz, who is also the creator of the Bluff Park website, said the name Learning to Be the Light comes from a song of the same name by a Christian music group called Newworldson. The song is based on a Bible verse, and Schultz feels it displays the motivation behind the project.
“It pretty much spoke about what we wanted to accomplish,” Schultz said. “We want to provide a positive experience for these kids. We just have a passion for it.”
For more information about the project, visit learningtobethelight.org.