Zach Pendleton: Changing Lives 5 Computers at a Time
The Greenway School in Jackson, Mississippi, and Zach Pendleton go a ways back. He’s known Mrs. Jo Gregory, the owner of the daycare, for more than a decade, so when she told him that they needed some help fixing their computers, he was more than happy to take a look.
But after seeing how old the computers were, he had a much better idea of what he could do to help the daycare.
Computers for Greenway
“They had two computers and they were both really outdated,” Zach said. “I thought it was time to give them an upgrade.”
And he meant it. Zach used his position in IT support at City Electric Supply to locate five Dell 3020 computers they could spare.
“I reached out to Angel Andrews and Rob Hodgson and they both fully supported the idea,” Zach said. “They gave me a response right away — no wait, no process. All I had to do was take the computers out to the Greenway School and install it for them.”
And even though this was the first time Zach was able to give back, he’s definitely looking forward to doing it again. He remembers the first time he booted up his computer, and he hopes that he can provide that same powerful experience for other kids at a very young age.
“It felt good to be able to help the daycare and all the kids that go there,” he said. “I remember growing up and getting my first computer when I was around five years old. I was hooked. Thanks to that experience, I was able to do things that other kids never had a chance to do. It set me up for my path in life and got me to where I am today.”
Going the Extra Mile
Zach even took the computer donation a step further. As he installed the computers, he took pictures and notes, just in case they ever needed him for some urgent tech support on the side.
“I ran the wires and set everything up myself, so if they call me and ask questions, I can help them out. Mrs. Gregory is a great person and she runs an amazing daycare for those kids. I’ll never waste my time helping her out.”
“I was just thinking that maybe if I just introduce the kids to the computers, it could change someone’s life, the same way that computers did for me,” he said.
Today, children are expected to be fluent when it comes to technology. The earlier they can get used to navigating a computer, the easier it’s going to be for them later in school.
“It’s important for them to have access to computers,” Zach said. “Knowing the basics of working with a computer, it’s only going to set them up for success. Kids today are expected to use and be comfortable with technology, so the sooner we can put it in front of them the better.”
Making a Difference
For Mrs. Gregory, the computers have already helped tremendously. They provide educational services to underserved families with children from six weeks to 13 years of age. Thanks to the newer computers, the kids now have access to numerous age-appropriate lessons.
“The younger kids are able to use these computers to learn proper handwashing, the importance of social distancing, phonics, sight words, parts of speech, and have numerous stories read aloud to them online,” she said. “The older children are just as excited and eager to learn, using various rap activities to learn their multiplication facts.”
Being able to provide that high level of education is a big deal, especially because the Jackson Public School District is virtual-only until January 2021. Because of this, the Greenway School is operating full-time from Monday through Friday.
“These computers have enhanced the quality of our enrollees’ education tremendously,” she added. “Our school family was delighted to receive them, and the students continue to benefit from them daily.”
Just a Phone Call Away
And even though Zach couldn’t teach the kids the basics of working with a computer, Mrs. Jo Gregory at the Greenway School knows exactly who to turn to if they ever need his help.
“Even when he was in college, Zach has volunteered to help set up or install computers at our school,” she said. “He’s always been a very respectful gentleman, willing to accommodate the needs of others.”
“If I could go back and teach them the basics of a computer, I would,” Zach added. “Especially now, kids are having to learn online, and some are struggling with it. Maybe teaching them how to use a computer will help them out later. Maybe I can change others’ lives just by putting a computer in front of them. We all need help in the world, so anytime I can lend a helping hand, I definitely will.”
Zach was fortunate enough to use his position in IT to help a daycare in his community back home. He just did what he’d hope anyone else would do in his situation — give back.
“The kids needed computers and I really wanted to help the daycare continue to provide a good education,” Zach said. “Since I joined CES two years ago, I’ve learned so much, and I just want to give a special shoutout to Angel Andrews and Kory Chester for helping me on this journey. I’m just glad that I’m in a position to help even more people.”