I Can't Let My Kids Be Stupid

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The title...It sounds like an odd statement...something that really doesn't need to be said aloud...

Unless you really think there is a good chance of it happening.

His name is Joe Pastrano. He along with his wife Eloisa and 3 children live in Round Rock. Joe works two jobs so as to allow his wife to stay home with the children.

Joe is a pretty conventional kind of guy...the kind of guy we all would be lucky to call a friend.

Word of Joe's need for a computer came from an anonymous source...roughly 40 percent of ours do. People don't particularly want it to be known that they "meddled" in someone's affairs...they just saw a need and a way to have that need met. When the situation merits, they call us.

I knocked on Joe's door after emailing him and telling him that I might be able to help him get a free computer for his kids. He was of course skeptical at first...

No one gives anything away free in these times...there is always a motive...a catch...the small print.

No...not always.

I went out to see Joe and his family on a Tuesday morning at 9 AM. Joe had a rare day off from both jobs and it was about the only time I was going to catch him and his wife at home at the same time. It is a nice home...well kept, clean to near discomfort (walk into my place for a contrast shock) and filled with the sounds of small kids playing. As Joe and his wife sat with me on the sofa, I cleared my throat and told Joe that in my opinion, his kids were just a year or two too young to receive one of our computers.

Joe nodded his head in understanding, then took a magazine from the coffee table, already opened to an article.

I believe Joe had anticipated this.

The article was a compilation of three studies showing the differences between kids who had grown up without computer skills vs. those who had. It was a 12 year study and in two cases, the differences were stark. I read about twenty seconds into the article and nodded, putting the magazine down. I had gotten the point. Joe made his case simply and clearly...just like he lives his life.

"I Can't let my kids be stupid."

Joe's kids got their computer.

Of course, I spent the next hour "younging" the computer down a bit...gcompris, Childsplay, World of Goo (thanks 2dboy)...all the things a kid could have fun with and learn with at the same time. Joe shook my hand firmly and thanked me, but I shook my head.

No, you will want to thank Ernest Rogers from Downey California. He is the Linux Luminary that made this install possible. Ernest was the first donor to the "Walk a Kid Home" program and we are proud to install this computer in his name.

Ernest, Joe's wife was softly crying when I explained that there was an entire community that let me do what I do and that you were responsible for making this possible for them.

And no...I am NOT going to pass along the kiss on the cheek...

Thank you will just have to suffice.

Thank you Ernest.