Greensboro organization teaches the disabled technology skills

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- As soon as you walk in, you will find the computer technicians hard at work -- tearing down motherboards, cleaning keyboards and conducting memory tests.

That’s how many of the volunteers at HandyCapable Network in Greensboro spend hours each week giving back.

With the help of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, HandyCapable teaches developmentally and intellectually disabled people technology skills including how to refurbish donated computers.

“It's great for our community that we are including them in our population and giving them this opportunity,” executive director Anne Tubaugh, said.

The refurbished computers are used by nonprofit organizations and are also distributed to low-income families and individuals.

Demell Towers has served as a HandyCapable volunteer since 2011.

“Before I started working here I didn't know what the inside of a computer looked like, but now I know,” Towers said.

Towers says it’s great knowing that the refurbished computers will help others.

“[It’s] really great. It helps them learn about technology,” Towers said.

As much as the program has shown that people with disabilities are more than capable to contribute to the workforce, it also has given the volunteers a new sense of confidence and self-esteem.

Laurel McMacken’s son Russ volunteered with HandyCapable for about a year, and last September was hired part-time.

“It has given him a lot. It's almost like the money is just extra,” McMacken said.

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has helped fund HandyCapable’s program for all of the 10 years that it has been in existence.

HandyCapable is exploring possible employment opportunities for volunteers through partnerships with other nonprofits.

 

 

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