Digital donation

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

If there is one futures commodity that may be worth an investment these days, it is a child’s future. Tuesday, one local non-profit bought a significant interest in special education students countywide by donating 50 computers to the Covington County Schools.

“Investing in Futures, Inc.” is a registered non-profit organization founded by Dr. Rodney White, whose mission is “Coaching and equipping the next generation.” To meet that goal, White provides technology such as refurbished computers, textbooks and student desks to those in need.

“Most of the time, the need is found overseas and they’re given to pastors and missionaries to set up schools,” said White, an Opp native currently operating out of Lakeland, Fla. “But anytime there is a need here, we’re happy to step in.”

Billie Thompson, director of the CCS special education department, said she had known about the organization for years but never thought to apply for computers.

“I found out through family members that Dr. White had some computers but didn’t have anywhere to send them,” Thompson said. “So I called him and asked him if he would consider donating them to the special needs children in the county.

“His reply: How many do you need?” she said. “I was just so excited.”

Thompson said initially she requested 20.

“But apparently, there was something to do with the way they’re stacked on a pallet, so I said 32,” she said. “He said, how about 50?”

Now the question was how to get them from Lakeland, Fla., to Andalusia.

Thompson said the answer was made possible thanks to some help from Opp Mayor H.D. Edgar.

“Mayor Edgar, he had a truck going to Lakeland that was coming back empty,” she said. “He offered to bring them back for free, which was wonderful. We are just so blessed.”

Thompson said the computers will be used primarily for remedial activities for special education students.

“There will be a few in general education classrooms, but they’re primarily for special needs,” she said. “Kids love technology, and special needs kids are no different. A lot of the technology in the special ed department is out of date. This new equipment will let us catch up.”

While the newly donated computers are refurbished, they do come equipped with at least a Pentium IV processor and Windows XP.

“You can’t imagine what these will do for our special needs children,” she said. “It’s so motivating for children to have a computer. The opportunity to use them — it’s good reinforcement for their hard work.”

And White understands that.

“We’re here to help,” he said. “In fact, just tell (Thompson) I’ve got 50 more if she needs them.”