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You don’t have to be a genius…

November 21, 2011

Great LinkedIn article:

Jacob grew up with computers and basically took them for granted. As a child he took them apart to see how they worked, and then put them back together.

When he was just 9 years old, Jacob discovered that some kids’ families couldn’t afford computers. He also learned that a local school had 30 computers that were being thrown away, so he stepped into the gap and made a difference.

“First I acquired computers that were being discarded from a local school. Then I refurbished and distributed them to individuals in my community who could not afford to have a computer at home. What a great feeling to see the smiles on those kids’ faces. I felt like I was Santa Claus!”

Jacob had caught the giving spirit. He contacted Social Services to find families who were looking for a computer and had small children. Since the computers were considered obsolete, they needed to go to young kids in elementary school who used older educational software. Jacob would take a computer to a kid’s home, set it up and teach them how to use it!

As a result, in 2001 at age 9, Jacob created the nonprofit organization, Computers for Communities, Inc. (CFC). CFC has distributed over 1,000 computers and has expanded beyond just delivering the machines. They have now started a campaign to teach people how to use them.

Their goal: to “bridge the Digital Divide, the widening gap in America between people who have a computer and know how to use it, and people who don’t” and are being left behind.

“My plan for putting a computer in every home is destined to succeed,” he says, “because you don’t have to be a genius to set this up… just the will to do it.”

Jacob’s program has gone through several stages. After the first 30 computers, he gathered some friends together who helped refurbish about 100 computers in a couple months. They also started distributing computers through schools instead of through Social Services. They sent letters to elementary school teachers asking for kids who didn’t have computers at home.

At the age of 13, Jacob Komar received the 2005 Young Adult National Caring Award and as a result met a women working in South American prison. For the past 25 years, she has lived in a cell at the prison, just like the prisoners, in order to give them hope. Her story inspired Jacob to expand CFC’s reach. He contacted a High Security prison in his own community and found that the prisoners were allowed to hold jobs while incarcerated. Armed with that information, Jacob arranged to teach the inmates how to work on computers. Now prisoners are refurbishing computers for students. They gain IT skills which help them secure employment when released from prison, and kids who couldn’t afford to purchase a new computer gain a necessary tool to help them succeed in school.

Did you catch Jacob’s secret to his success? He stated it in an interview… “you don’t have to be a genius … you just have to have the will to do it.” Isn’t that true! How fortunate that Jacob has learned that valuable life secret at such a young age!