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DSU provides computers for Sioux Falls’ Recovery Houses

June 15, 2020

story-061520.jpgDakota State students and employees may take having a computer for granted. With the laptop program at the Madison university, all have access to what computers can offer.

Some don't have easy access to those benefits. Take, for example, the residents of Oxford Sober Living Homes in Sioux Falls. Computer access can help in a number of ways as they recover from drug and alcohol addictions.

Dakota State University recently provided 20 refurbished computers to the Oxford homes located in Sioux Falls, including the one dedicated for women and children called “Emily’s Hope Oxford House.”

“These computers provide a necessary tool in today's world for success in recovery" said Angela Kennecke, KELOLAND news anchor and reporter, and founder of Emily's Hope. The non-profit corporation supports the homes, and helped with this project.

“The idea is to make it possible for the people in the recovery houses to have technology available that they can use,” said Dr. Barbara Myers, a DSU lecturer in computer science. Students in her hardware, virtualization, and data communication class, held at the Community College for Sioux Falls, worked on this project, to get the donated computers running and installed.

“With the computers, residents will be able to look for jobs, write resumes and correspond with employers. At the women's and children's home, it will also allow students to have internet access to complete their homework,” Kennecke said.

One of the DSU students, Celia Farmer, saw the project as a way to give back to the community. “There was a time I needed a hand up and I was blessed those resources were available locally. Being part of a project that directly impacts the lives of women on a path to better their lives is such a great opportunity to give back,” she said. Farmer is a non-traditional student pursuing a master’s degree in cyber operations.

“Knowing how to operate and utilize computers is a part of everyday life now,” said Farmer. “Providing the tools for them is an adjunct to improving their lives.”

In addition to helping the residents of the Oxford houses, the project helps the computer students by offering hands-on, real-world experience.

“I have always been a software person but it's not all about the software,” said Farmer. “Learning about the hardware piece of technology widened my knowledge base of computer science. Having the ability to see both sides of the coin has been both eye-opening and humbling.”

Farmer worked with IT Outlet, a Sioux Falls voice, video and data solutions provider in Sioux Falls. CEO Kevin Huber, is a DSU alumnus. They provided components for 12 computers including the monitors to go with the computers.

CAPITAL Services, Inc. also contributed. CAPITAL Services provides asset origination, portfolio management, and servicing of national credit card programs in partnership with client banks. The company began in 1998, and now has offices in Sioux Falls and Brookings. CAPITAL and DSU have a longstanding, positive relationship, said Brian Schneider, information technology architect with CAPITAL.

Last summer, CAPITAL was set to replace their company-wide computer systems with updated models, Schneider said, and donated their existing computers to DSU for classroom research opportunities. The computers were used as teaching tools for a hardware lab, and the DSU Computer Club received hands-on experience installing, configuring, and testing the systems. Some computers made their way to Myers in Sioux Falls. KELO-TV also contributed computers.

“I have been overwhelmed by the community response to our mission at Emily’s Hope. This computer donation will not only help the mothers and their children living at the Emily’s Hope Oxford House, but people in sober living at all of the Oxford Houses in Sioux Falls,” Kennecke said.

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