Christopher Kilpatrick, who turns 16 this month, loves building computers. Once the Covid-19 pandemic hit, he saw how students without access to technology were struggling. So while working as an intern at a tech company in Jacksonville, Florida, he decided to put his skills to good use. He built or refurbished 25 computers, all of which were donated to a youth mentoring organization.
Q: How did you come up with this idea?
A: I was making a list of computer parts when I realized the cheapest thing that I could make is like several hundred dollars. Not everybody can afford that. Having a computer versus not having a computer makes a massive difference in what people can do.
Q: Was it important to you to recycle computer parts?
A: Recycling is one of the simplest ways that people can help out. Companies are always producing something more powerful, and then they just throw away the old stuff. Those computer components are still useful to billions of people.
Q: Are you going to continue this work in the future?
A: My new project idea is to use computers as incentives to get kids to score higher grades in school.
Q: Have you met those who got refurbished computers?
A: I never got in contact with anybody who received them, but I can imagine that I made a difference in those people’s lives. So I’m happy with that.
(This interview was edited and condensed for length and clarity.)