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Giving back to the community in the form of donating computers, setting up systems and training individuals has given our members opportunities to participate in many worthwhile programs.
During the '80s, the Club installed two MAC computers in the Victoria Elementary School library, built a database program of all school software and established a checkout system for the software. In addition, Club volunteers worked in the classrooms for a semester assisting teachers with computer instruction.
Our members worked with the Long Beach VA Hospital, Manual Arts Therapy department. We donated a computer for patients and trained staff and patients on its use and we also gave the department full access to the Club's private Bulletin Board System.
Our community service continued with a strong presence into the '90s and included the following projects: building three computers and installing a network for the rectory offices at Saint Maria Goretti, Catholic Church; designing a database program for record keeping by the Long Beach Police Department and helping the coordinator at San Miguel Avenue School with the design and installation of the schools first computer lab. The Computer Lab Project was so successful that two years later, our members helped to upgrade the lab with new equipment while distributing the old computers to classrooms.
We still had more community work to do as the Club upgraded all the existing computers for the City of Lakewood's Chamber of Commerce, built and installed 25 computers at Franklin Middle School, and as part of "Net Day 1" in 1997, wired William F. Prisk School for Internet and Intranet access. In addition, working with the Long Beach Greater Girl Scout Council, the Club donated three complete computer systems including modems, printers and all software to be used as prizes for a Council Essay Contest.
As we approached the end of the century, the Club continued to reach out to many worthwhile groups. Our members solicited and received a large software donation that we in turn distributed to many schools and other computer clubs, including Bellflower Adult School and the Long Beach Senior Center. We also upgraded a computer system, added two computers and networked the system at the Tichenor Orthopedic Clinic for Children. Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation used their donated computer system for grant writing and to develop educational curricula.
Computer donations and assistance to schools continued with the new century, including donating 10 computers to Saint Norbert School and wiring grades 6, 7 and 8 to give students' Internet access. Other schools that greatly benefited from the Club's generosity and expertise included: Towne Avenue School, Long Beach City College for the disabled student program, and Hamilton Middle School who created a program that allowed needy students to earn a computer through working at the school.
In 2003, the Club worked with the "Educate the Children" foundation at Jefferson Middle School. We installed and configured donated Windows software and networked printers to be used by various classrooms.
In 2004, the Club was contacted by Caroldale Learning Community School to offer support after a suspicious virus destroyed several classrooms. We donated several computers and parts that they could use to rebuild their equipment.
In 2005, after giving up the room where we refurbished computers, we decided to do other things to meet our community service obligations. During the summer months we raised money and were able to "Send a Kid to Camp", a drive sponsored by the Press Telegram, our local community newspaper. After the hurricane devastation back east we held a fund raiser and were able to contribute $675.00 dollars to the American Red Cross to be used for Hurricane Katrina victims.
Usually at the last meeting of the year we hold a social event where the club presented gifts to each member in attendance. This year, in keeping with our community service efforts, we opted to support "The Spark of Love" toy drive. This is a toy drive held by our local fire department to benefit some very needy children. To encourage our members to participate fully in the toy drive, the club purchased a new 19' LCD flat panel monitor which was raffled off the evening of the toy drive. Instead of purchasing tickets for the monitor, members would be issued one free ticket for each unwrapped toy worth ten dollars or more that a member brought in.
We advertised the toy drive to our members for several months prior to the meeting. We also had members who volunteered to collect toys from those members who would not be able to attend the meeting.
On the night of the meeting we had a local fireman come who discussed the "Spark of Love" program and did a presentation on fire safety and extra precautions to be taken during the holiday season.
It was a fun and festive evening. Members brought food for the pot luck, while others decorated the meeting room. The best part was just after the meeting when we all tried to fit the fireman into his loaded sleigh (Ford Explorer).
The Long Beach IBM Users Group is proud to play an important role in helping to build communities, and is honored to help support schools, libraries, hospitals and religious institutions with computer donations and technical expertise. We have a long tradition, and we will continue to lend our assistance whenever it is needed to improve the quality of life for these institutions and our community.