"Computers for Youth"

(Click to see Program Locations)


NOTE:  The company we were receiving computers from, is now out of business.  If you would like to start a program in your area, we would be happy to explain what we've done in the past...

With an idea from Mr. David "CHICO" Nieves, former Officer of Community  Youth Affairs for the Second Judicial Circuit, and help from E. Sutton who was Community Planner with the United Way of Aiken, Phoenix Computer has made available 150 computers for youth programs.  We are continuing to put more computers into surrounding areas as they are made available

 These complete computer systems, were /are  placed in churches and other non-profit civic organizations that will provide a shelter for Youth to have access to these systems.  The machines are being loaded with games and other trivia programs.  They are being packaged in lots of five (5) for a donation of Sixty Dollars each. ($60)

 Organizations who wish to be involved in the program should contact Phoenix Computers, 3056 Augusta Rd. Burnettown, SC   803-593-0355

 Donations of your old computer parts, speakers, sound cards, etc. are being accepted.

If you are interested in getting a program started like this in your area,  contact

Mel Minitor melm@lightstreamers.com


To learn more about Youth Council and its mission --visit:  youthcouncil.net

Computers for Youth is a pilot program currently in the Aiken - Midland Valley - Augusta areas. Known locally  as the CSRA ( Central Savannah River Area )

Non-profit organizations should provide a copy of their 501(c) (3) form.  Churches should provide information on Church letterhead with planned programs for youth.   Please include planned program, number of days per week and hours.

(Click to see Program Locations)

Computers help keep kids off the streets

By Suzanne R. Stone Staff Writer * Augusta Chronicle * Wed, May 23 2001

David "Chico" Nieves, officer of community affairs for the Second Judicial Circuit, has a new weapon to combat delinquency and crime among the area's at-risk youths.

Mr. Nieves has founded the Computers for Youths Program. which makes outmoded computers available a big discounts to church and civic groups and help at-risk youths.  The computers are refurbished and upgraded by Phoenix Computers in Burnettown, which outfits the old machines with new sound cards, speakers and youth-themed software such as crossword puzzles, trivia games, Bible verse word games and standard computer games.

"We started to get in old 486's we weren't selling to the public because we don't sell anything with a processor slower than a Pentium," said Phoenix owner Mel Minitor.  "My friend Chico was talking with me about what we could do to keep kids off streets, and, along with Eugene Sutton at the United Way, we came up with this idea."

Mr. Nieves' mandated at the Second Judicial Circuit solicitor's offices was to keep at-risk children from reaching the court system through a network of community-based programs reinforcing good behavior,  It's a network Mr. Nieves had to create from scratch.  Faced with the huge challenge, he found a powerful tool in modern technology.

He created a network on the Internet linking resources of existing social-service agencies, community groups, schools and churches already working in this area.  Once these groups were in closer contact, they were able to compare notes and coordinate efforts.

"I had ideas of creating a directory of services for young children to keep them out of trouble, but I figured it'd be just another manual that would get put to the side," Mr. Nieves said.

"So I thought, How can I be cost-effective and powerful at the same time?  Then I had the idea: a Web site, so everyone can access the information."

The result was      http://www.youthcouncil.net

"I can get free e-mail for the kids.  It's a safe place.  They can have forums and chat rooms, and there's an electronic bulletin board for agencies so everybody can post online," Mr. Nieves said.  "I cover three counties with no long-distance phone calls."

Most local children have experience with computers through Aiken County's schools, he said, but for many children he serves, access stops once they get on the bus for home.  With computers at the Aiken Boxing Club, the Boys and Girls Club and the Aiken County Recreation Center in Graniteville, among others, those facilities gain an additional hold on their clients' attention and time.

"This program will give the kids something they can enjoy and have a good time and hopefully learn as well.  It's also our way of recycling," Mr. Minitor said.  "There's nothing wrong with these computers; they're just old machines.  I think the last 486 was made in the early 1990s.  Instead of letting them go to a computer graveyard, we're fixing them up and loading about 20-30 programs on them."

The computers go to qualifying nonprofit agencies for a donation of $60 each.  These packages are in  lots of five machines.  Mr. Nieves also helps interested community groups get paperwork together to qualify for the program.

Computers for Youths has had some donations of old machines and other support from local businesses and is hoping to receive more donations of computers and computer parts as the program grows.

Those interested in making donations or purchasing computers can call Phoenix Computers at 803-593-0355, e-mail Mr. Minitor at melm@lightstreamers.com  or visit the youth council Web site, youthcouncil.net.

"I look at this work differently," Mr. Nieves said.  "I look at it as a business.  I'm just like a CEO, I do all the technology studies  and market research.  But instead of making money, I'm saving  children."    Suzanne R. Stone at 803-648-1395 or suzanne.stone@augustachronicle.com


We wish to thank, , Avondale Mills in Graniteville, S.C., HOLLY Heating and Air in Aiken, S.C., Music For A Song in Atlanta, Ga., Phoenix Computers in Burnettown and  Savannah River Site (DOE) for their support. We appreciate you our readers, giving them your support!!

Americans helping Americans grow!!

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