FORT BRAGG, N.C. - McDeeds Creek Elementary School in Carthage, N.C., received a donation of computers and tablets from U.S. Army Forces Command, Oct. 15, to help provide their students and teachers with access to much needed technology.
The fledgling school, which recently opened its doors to students, is getting numerous laptops, tablets, desktop computers and monitors at no charge as part of the Defense Logistic Agency's (DLA) Computers for Learning (CFL), a free donation program for registered schools and other organizations.
"This is the second school we've been able to help since moving up to Fort Bragg," said Phil Greene, the DLA liaison officer at FORSCOM. "Some of these computers and tablets are almost brand new and instead of being disposed of, we're able to give them to a school."
Principal Molly Capps was visibly excited when she got to open the box on the new tablet earmarked for her use.
"We're a new school, so getting this equipment is such a blessing for us," said Capps. "I can't express our gratitude enough for being afforded this opportunity."
Any public school or Department of Defense Dependents School (DoDDS) can enroll in the DLA program to potentially receive an equipment donation. The staff at McDeeds found out about the program thanks to the parents of two of their students.
As the elementary school was preparing to open earlier this year, Kathryn Chow, mom to a kindergartener and second grader, saw the school's need for equipment and discussed it with her husband, Maj. Carlson Chow, who works in the FORSCOM G-4. Together the two met with the school's assistant principal to tell him about the program and encourage the school to register and request equipment.
"I'm just glad we were able to help," said Kathryn. "This is such a great program and it's wonderful that it is going to be able to benefit our community."
While the community McDeeds serves is well outside the gates of Fort Bragg, Capps says the school has strong ties to the military with 75 percent of its students coming from a military Family.
"It's a golden opportunity to open a brand new school and it's wonderful to be able to get off to a great start with gifts like these," said Robyn Stone, the school's media specialist.
Stone has big plans for the equipment once it's all properly signed for and transferred to the school.
"Of course we're going to put some in the classrooms and in the media center," she said. "What I'd also really like to do is build a cart that we can move from classroom to classroom to teach keyboarding skills. That's something we're not set up for and it's an important skill for our students to develop."
Behind the scenes, the FORSCOM G-4 and DLA teams have been busy ensuring that all the equipment is accounted for and ready for transfer. There is a lot of paperwork and steps to complete before the computers can be donated. Even once the school takes custody of the computers, they must agree to maintain accountability of them for at least two years and be able to produce them if the government needs them for any reason.
To find out more about the DLA program, visit their website at https://www.dla.mil/DispositionServices/Offers/Reutilization.aspx.