My Visit to K4RK

Intro

After the success of our K4RK Donation Drive, my friend Scott and I gathered up all of the computers that were donated, put them in the back of his pickup truck, and drove to the main Komputers 4 R Kids facility in Cerritos to complete the last step of the donation drive process.

Here’s our photo journal of the visit:

pickup1

Scott ties down the last of the donated computers in his truck. My fiance will rejoice to find that the living room is no longer filled with e-waste!

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We arrive at the facility, stack our donations on an empty pallet, and prepare to enter the main warehouse…

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It’s gigantic! K4RK requires a lot of space to accommodate the large number of donations it receives on a regular basis.

The main 6,000 square foot facility houses a large warehouse (pictured above), secondary storage rooms, an assembly room, offices, and the front desk area.

james-watson-meeting-2

On the right is James Watson, Executive Director of K4RK.

He started refurbishing computers from his garage in 2003, and today oversees the operation of three K4RK facilities, manages eleven employees (as well as volunteers and students), and works with numerous school districts, businesses, and organizations in Los Angeles.

James has a sharp mind for business, as well as a big heart, and as a leader and mentor he takes particular pride in pushing student volunteers to realize their full potential.

He took great care in chatting with us and showing us around the facility, and it was a pleasure for me to meet with him.

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As we toured the facility, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the sheer size and efficiency of the whole operation.

Above, we see pallets of computers, as well as different types of electronic components, stacked along the walls, ready to be refurbished or recycled (depending on their working or non-working condition).

mobo-box-2

Although we didn’t witness it firsthand (only James works on the weekends), the description of the dis-assembly process was equally impressive: student volunteers working together to completely take apart, sort, and test every donated component – piece by piece.

Here, they’ve sorted out a box of motherboards, a major component in every computer system.

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If a component is tested and found to be in good working order, it will be combined with other parts to build a complete computer system.

Some parts (such as these CPU heatsinks) contain valuable materials such as copper and aluminum, and are sent to a recycling center instead.

mac-pallets-2

Ever wondered why Apple products are so pricey? These Mac Pro’s were built using high-quality aluminum, and probably cost over $1500 each when they were new.

Even though these Macs have been decommissioned, their solid metal cases are still quite valuable as a recycling material.

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The Assembly Zone, where working components are put together into refurbished computers, and then provided to needy schools and other organizations.

This is where the real magic of K4RK happens!

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Not all components at K4RK are sent to the recycler or rebuilt.

Some parts are converted into wall decorations instead – such as these plastic Mac Pro case covers!

Conclusion

Organizing this donation drive was a big challenge for me: I had almost ZERO previous experience with non-profits and event planning, and had to use every resource at my disposal to gain support for the drive.

I’m happy to say that the experience was humbling as well as successful. Moreover, it really opened my eyes to all of the different opportunities that can arise when businesses work together with non-profits to reach out and help the community. In fact, I’m already looking forward to the next Silverleaf-K4RK collaboration.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make our first donation drive happen!

1 thought on “My Visit to K4RK

  1. Pingback: Agbogbloshie – A Toxic E-Wasteland | Silverleaf Computer Services

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