Sarasota, Fla.-based LexJet recently donated computer equipment to the Texcellence Program, a nationally recognized computer donation program that has provided more than 4,000 reconditioned systems to Sarasota County, Fla., students whose families could not otherwise afford them. Texcellence is a collaboration between the Education Foundation of Sarasota County (EFSC) and the public schools.

LexJet donated 64 Dell 17-inch LCD monitors, 18 USB wired keyboards, 25 wireless keyboards, 25 wireless mice and six USB mice. “In this economy, these families do not have the means to provide a computer at home, but they know how important this technology is to their children's future,” EFSC Executive Director Cindy Kaiser says. “They go to great lengths to participate in Texcellence because they are truly motivated to help their children succeed.”

Local teacher, Ron Zimmerman, who recycled used computers in his garage for children in need, inspired the creation of Texcellence. More than 3,900 families have received refurbished home computers since Texcellence was formed in May 2007. “The economic downturn has been especially hard on school systems that don't have the resources to ensure that all the children in their districts have access to the latest technology,” says LexJet Vice President Jason Metnick.

Texcellence accepts donations of used computers in lots of 10 or more from government agencies and companies. Qualified students and their families — those eligible for free or reduced-price meals that do not already have a computer at home — register for an after-school or weekend basic computer training class and receive a refurbished PC. Recipients learn to set up and use the computers, flash drives and educational software that complement what the students use in the classroom.

EFSC has set the goal of reaching at least another 1,000 households through Texcellence by the end of 2011. According to the foundation, at least 16,000 children in Sarasota County still do not have access to computers at home.

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