Phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops—how many of us take for granted the ability to sit down with one of our digital access devices to pay a bill, participate in a telehealth session, provide virtual education opportunities for ourselves or our family members, look something up, or email a friend? Scanning pictures on social media or ordering a few needed groceries has become routine in our everyday lives.


But what if you didn't have access…not because you didn't have internet but because you lacked a device to sign on to the internet.

In 1982, Sarasota Technology Users Group (STUG) began refurbishing donated devices (software, computers, tablets, smartphones, e-readers, and laptops) to be given free to qualified individuals and families. In addition to device donations, STUG also offers educational seminars and classes for a small fee.

During the past 42 years, STUG volunteers have refurbished 22,018 for more than 70 organizations and thousands of individuals and families (as of May 2024). In May 2024, 161 devices increased the year-to-date distribution to 735 alone.

For Sarah Lee, a mother of six with children ranging in age from 3 to 16, the STUG devices she received reduced her to tears. Her family has been relying on her cell phone with a data-limited package to complete homework, pay bills, and follow up with her youngest child's medical clinic doctor. Sarah was overheard saying, "This equipment will provide my family with tools I unfortunately was unable to offer. For the first time in a very long time, I can feel good about helping my children."

This amazing, totally volunteer organization located in Sarasota is always in need of donated devices. Open your closets, desk drawers, and your favorite out-of-sight, out-of-mind hiding places. Do you have a device that you are no longer using or have been thinking about replacing? Consider donating the device to STUG. Your simple act of donation will make a world of difference for an area family or organization—connecting them to today's world, one many of us take for granted.

Donations to STUG are accepted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at their office on Sawyer Road or by calling 941-539-7401.

 

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 BEYOND THE BLOG PODCAST

The Patterson Foundation emphasizes the transformative impact of strategic philanthropy by fostering connections through learning and sharing. Moving beyond its weekly blog posts, the Foundation offers Beyond The Blog podcasts. These podcasts will inform and engage listeners while bringing to light compelling accounts from individuals, organizations, and communities strengthened by the Foundation's initiatives.

closing the gap part 1

Part I: Strengthening digital access among people of all ages and backgrounds — especially those from asset-limited families — helps ensure everyone is included in our journey toward new realities and benefits provided by technology. A promising innovation is the concept of digital navigation. In part one of this two-part podcast, Carol Kranitz, a TPF Digital Navigator, joins Kiarra Louis for a conversation about her efforts to close the digital access gaps that exist in the Suncoast by helping individuals and families obtain low-cost digital connectivity, devices, skills, and support.

 

closing the gap part 2

Part 2: In the final part of this two-part podcast, Carol Kranitz, a TPF Digital Navigator, joins Kiarra Louis to discuss her efforts to close the digital access gaps in the Suncoast. Hear more about the positive impacts she is having on her clients.


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