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College 4 . Us

Plan and act today so you have no regrets tomorrow...

Free Laptops for Low-Income College Kids

In July 2012, I started the FLLICK campaign -- Free Laptops for Low-Income College Kids.  I buy laptops for kids for students who don’t have computers at home.  I can’t imagine how one survives college nowadays without a computer, and I hope to keep a few from finding that out!  As of August 31, 2012, we’ve given away 16 laptops and gotten some for computer labs to serve the needy.

If you would like to help, I’m taking donations via PayPal.  I’m still working on making your contributions deductible by partnering with a non-profit.  But for now, please don’t count on tax deduction.

You can also help by buying an Entertainment Book for your area.  These are big coupon books with thousands of dollars of savings (usually buy-one-get-one-free) and freebies (e.g., 2 free tacos from Jack-in-the-Box).  Just use a few and you get your money back.

For those of you who donate, please write an encouragement letter and send it to me.  I’ll include it with the laptop that you’ve helped paid for so the recipient knows who you are and can choose to communicate with you.

To those who have contributed, a big THANK YOU on behalf of those who got the free laptops.  I hope to have some pictures soon.

You can’t imagine what your gift would do for those who receive the laptops.  Besides helping them with school work, you send a clear message that “if you work hard, someone out there will help you.”  That message may just change someone’s destiny.

Here’s the story of how a $24 gift changed my life:

In my junior year at Blair High School in Pasadena, California, I was awarded the Harvard Book Prize that was sponsored by a Harvard alumnus.  The Prize was given to the junior with the highest GPA.  During the college application season, my counselor suggested that I apply to Harvard.  He said that maybe I'd get more attention from Harvard because I received the Harvard Book Prize the previous year.  Given my socioeconomic background and the poor English score on the SAT (560 -- excuse: I came to the US only 6 years earlier), I didn't think I can get in, but I applied anyway.  It was a once-in-the-lifetime opportunity to reach for such a dream.  Why not give it a shot?  I did not apply to any other Ivy League schools.  Harvard was it, and I didn't expect to get in.  I used a fee waiver so I didn't even pay the $60 application fee.  Why waste the money for a lost cause?

Needless to say I was shocked to receive a thick envelope in early April.  When I saw the financial aid statement, I could not believe my eyes.  The total estimated cost, including tuition, books, room and board, and travel was around $26,500, and Harvard and U.S. Government was basically paying for everything!  My family was asked to contribute $2,000 and I was asked to earn some money through the Work Study program.  That was it!  It was cheaper to go to Harvard than to go to UCLA!

I wrote to the donor who sponsored the Harvard Book Prize I received a year earlier.  I told him that because of that $24 book he sponsored, I applied and got into Harvard.  I thanked him for the gift that changed my life forever.  He may not have imagined that the book would ever make a difference, but it sure did for this kid.

I expected to have a rough time at Harvard.  I remember asking God to help me graduate before I left for Boston.  Four years later, I graduated magna cum laude with an economics degree.  Instead of becoming a computer engineer as I had originally planned, I became someone who wanted to fix the world's problems with economics.  All these wouldn't have happened if that donor didn't spend $24 on that Harvard Book -- a book that encouraged me to apply to a school that I thought was out of reach for someone like me...

A $24 book from a complete stranger changed my destiny...  What would your donation do to that college kid?  You may never know.  Perhaps the kid ends up becoming a successful businessman and sets up a program to buy every poor college kid a computer.  Perhaps she finds the cure for AIDS.  Perhaps he brings reconciliation to two warring factions in some distant land and save thousands of lives.  The possibilities are endless...

You make the world a better place when you give and inspire the recipient to do the same.  On behalf of the kids whose lives you may change: thank you for your consideration.

Thank-you E-mails Received: 1

Dear George,

I just wanted to thank you again for the laptop and backpack. Someday I will be in the same exact place you were in and pay forward like you did.


August 17, 2012  

Current Statistics (as of 10/20/12)

Machines given away to students so far: 7

Machines given or reserved for computer labs to serve needy people: 13

The first recipients...

The giveaway was done publicly so younger kids can be inspired as well...

*** Click here for free software for students ***

*** Click here for cheaper textbooks ***

Want to save money and support this effort? Check out the new 2013 Entertainment Books!