Local Nonprofit Helps to Bridge the Digital Divide

When Dave Sevick, the founder of Computer Reach, realized that the organization was going to need more workable space, he searched nearly every neighborhood in Pittsburgh for a new location. It wasn’t until he arrived in Wilkinsburg that he found the perfect fit.

Since 2001, Computer Reach has been working tirelessly to make technology available to people most in need through refurbished equipment, computer literacy, training, and support. After receiving donated technology, staff and volunteers at the Computer Reach Warehouse refurbish the product and sell it at an affordable price to local, national, and international communities.

They found their ideal warehouse space at 1 DRV Drive in Wilkinsburg and immediately connected with the WCDC. “It was clear when we came to Wilkinsburg that our mission lined up well with the WCDC. Their priority was helping the people of Wilkinsburg, and so was ours.” Computer Reach strives to bridge the digital divide that is growing rapidly around the world. “People still think of technology as a luxury, but it’s not. It’s essential for access to various educational and occupational opportunities.” Computer Reach is hoping to level the technological playing field from their new space in Wilkinsburg.

After finding the right building, Dave quickly realized that he was going to need assistance navigating the approvals, permitting, and other requirements associated with a relocation. “Tracey Evans from the WCDC was the key. She was fantastic. She told me who to talk to, about what, and in what order. When I told someone that Tracey sent me, the other person quickly replied, ‘Okay. Let’s talk.’ Her help was worth more than all of the money in the world.”

“I can’t express how appreciative I am for the help that I’ve received from the WCDC. Their support has meant a lot and I feel good that Computer Reach is here.”

In addition to refurbishing technology, Computer Reach offers digital literacy courses to individuals of all ages, including students, adults, and senior citizens. Participants learn critical digital skills, including basic computer hardware skills, internet, email, and social media safety. Their programs feature hands-on sessions with computers, providing participants with in-person opportunities to test out new knowledge, practice, and ask questions.

Computer Reach is quickly expanding, but hoping to remain in Wilkinsburg. “We take pride in our Wilkinsburg address. We hope to be anchored here for many years to come.”

To learn more about Computer Reach, visit their website at computerreach.org.

COVID-19 Efforts
The COVID-19 crisis has proved how many people in our community lack access to the devices or the connectivity required to successfully participate in 21st-century life. Computer Reach is currently working with partners like Neighborhood Allies on the Beyond the Laptops initiative to get computers in the hands of local families and students who are trying to work and attend school from home during the COVID-19 lockdown. Their volunteers and staff have begun the arduous process to ‘audit’ thousands of laptops – running checks on battery life and other components, then installing a new hard drive and downloading operating system software – all with a singular goal in mind, to bridge the digital divide. Learn more at beyondthelaptops.org.