Refurbed community

ComputerCorps helps the community while recycling and reusing electronic waste

Shari White and Josh Parker of ComputerCorps, a company helping poor families get computers.

Shari White and Josh Parker of ComputerCorps, a company helping poor families get computers.


To learn more about ComputerCorps, visit

Back in 1990, the co-founders of ComputerCorps changed an elderly widower’s life by giving him a computer and, with that, a renewed purpose to keep on living. Seven years later, ComputerCorps began in Ron Norton’s basement. This organization now thrives in a 40,000-square-feet warehouse facility.

“We started over 15 years ago with two volunteers, and since then, we’ve had over 6,000 volunteers contribute more than a half million hours to this project,” Norton said. “We started in the basement of an old ranch house, and we’ve graduated up.”

ComputerCorps, located in Carson City, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to provide “access to computer technology and skills training for under-served families, while eliminating electronic waste (eWaste) in our nation’s landfills.” The organization urges businesses, schools and others to donate their old electronics to assist this mission.

“We take in used electronics, all electronics to recycle,” Norton said. “Out of that, we get about 1,000 to 2,000 computers a month. Our main goal on the technology is to reuse.”

If they cannot use the electronics they receive, they then recycle the electronic waste properly.

One program is “Every Home A Classroom” or EHAC. School counselors refer children of under-privileged families with no computer at home, and the parents volunteer 40 hours in some capacity at their child’s school in order to receive a computer from ComputerCorps. They have done programs throughout the state and even 15 outside the country.

They have a summer program called TechCamp. There will be four camps lasting two weeks each this summer where children aged 10 to 15 are taught how to tear down, test and build their own computer. At the end of the program, the children take their computer home.

The organization also has a small outlet store and technology services department. People from the community can buy refurbished computers for as little as $50 and get their computer fixed inexpensively. If they cannot afford a computer, they can also volunteer 48 hours to take one home.

Norton and Shari White, community relations coordinator, said that many of their volunteers are from disadvantaged backgrounds. They work with rehabilitation programs, court referrals for community service, AARP, Nevada Rural Counties Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, the welfare department, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and other programs to help give people, through volunteering, a purpose in life and a new skill set.

They also have volunteers with physical, mental and social disabilities. They work with several autistic volunteers to help them develop better social skills, and they have one elderly volunteer named Charlie with a neurological disorder that makes him shake. According to Norton, this man has been with the organization for 13 years and has volunteered more than 15,000 hours.

“Charlie … has been able to come here and volunteer and tear down these computers though his wife has to come in here and feed him because he shakes so badly,” White said. “He’s able to sit and tear computers down. It gives him such purpose. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.”

ComputerCorps also feeds lunch to their volunteers daily and gives food boxes to volunteers weekly if they need it. The organization partners with the Northern Nevada Food Bank and gives out food to the community at least once a month.