Ariana Patel, a sophomore at Huntley High School, partnered with Huntley Community School District 158 and Giving Gadgets, a local non-profit organization, to donate approximately 600 lightly-used laptops to schools and students in need across the world.
Patel collaborated with Huntley 158 Superintendent Scott Rowe in June 2022 after inquiring about any laptops the school district may be able to donate. With the help of Huntley 158’s technology department, the district helped collect nearly 1,500 laptops and donated about 600 of those devices to schools in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Ahmedabad, India. The chromebooks, which reached the end of their life cycle in Huntley 158 and were earmarked for recycling, were wiped of their data and made ready for donation by technology staff.
Due to Huntley 158’s donation, Giving Gadgets estimates that these devices will give over 15,000 students the opportunity to further their education with technology over the next five years. For many, it will be the first time they are able to use technology in school.
“The thought of being able to help those in need really stuck out to me. I have the ability to help students around the world increase their education by helping donate these computers,” said Patel.
Patel said her inspiration for this philanthropic effort came when her grandfather shared the challenges of starting a charitable school in his home town in India without access to computers for students. After hearing this, Patel sought help from her cousin, Jaiden Sutaria, a senior at St. Charles East High School and a founding member of Giving Gadgets. The organization’s mission is to ensure that every child has access to usable technology at school. By donating devices, they hope to give students the opportunity to gain the same knowledge that students with access to technology have while promoting a more equitable education system.
“Having those first conversations with my grandfather while he was doing his charitable work of opening a school in his town in India opened my eyes to the disparities [in education] not only around the world, but also in our own communities, as well,” said Patel.
In addition to benefiting students in other parts of the world, Giving Gadgets aims to help the planet by reducing e-waste. Recently, the organization received a grant of $10,000 to help spread the word about the organization and their goals. They are currently looking to partner with a large technology company to donate a percentage of devices heading to recycling centers.
“I want to continue to help bridge the gap and increase equity of technology and other resources by offering computers to all students,” said Patel. “Every student in the United States and around the world should be able to have access to educational technology.”
After graduation, Patel plans to grow her passion for helping people and pursue a career in medicine. During her remaining time at Huntley High School, Patel plans to continue the work she does for Giving Gadgets and help them partner with more schools and organizations that are willing to donate their computers to schools lacking technological resources. She is also an avid member of Student Council, Leo’s Club, Huntley 158’s Medical Academy, among other extracurriculars.
“There is still a lot of work to be done, and I am excited to be a part of this organization to help make a difference,” she said.
To learn more about Giving Gadgets, or to become a sponsor, visit GivingGadgets.org.