The National MS Society's Computer Outreach Program provides computers to those living with MS who are restricted to their homes or living in long term care facilities. This program helps individuals stay connected to the world beyond their homes despite financial constraints that prevent them from purchasing computers or assistive technology.
Often, individuals living with MS who reside in long term care facilities are much younger than the typical population in those facilities, and are eager to participate in social media or online support networks. They are hungry for the social contact modern day technology provides. They are interested in gathering information on their disease from the internet, continuing their education, and connecting with loved ones. They want to grow, learn and move their lives forward.
The Computer Outreach Program provides those who qualify with a laptop or desktop computer pre-loaded with adaptive software and configured to each user's specific needs. Each recipient will receive training on software and technology, as well as access to Dell in-home support with additional limited support from the chapter. The laptops, along with the speech recognition software included in Windows 7, and a webcam to use with Skype and other free software, will enable them to enjoy the quality of life everyone deserves.
"I'm learning more everyday and, as a matter of fact, I'm using it [the computer] more than the TV these days. It's been a true blessing. I've been able to reach out to my family, who I haven't seen in years, on Facebook.“
"You changed my life. I am no longer afraid of this giant machine in front of me. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
See how Jackie Jackson has benefited from this program by watching this video.
How you can benefit:
We encourage all those living with MS in Upstate New York who are confined to their home or in assisted living or nursing facilities to apply for Computer Outreach assistance.
Application Requirements include (but are not limited to) the following:
• Verification of diagnosis
• Income verification
• Statement of living situation
• Active internet connection
For more information or an application, contact Lori Rhodes at 800-344-4867 ext. 70403, or Lori.Rhodes@nmss.org.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The program depends on the generosity of people who donate used computers and equipment. Thank you for considering a donation!
The suggested minimum requirements are as follows:
1.5 ghz CPU or higher
1 gb RAM or higher (DDR or SDRAM)
Windows XP Operating System or newer
CD ROM or DVD ROM drives
Flat Screen Monitors (No CRT's)
Printers, scanners, and fax machines cannot be accepted
Are you willing to take on the role of refurbishing donated computers and equipment, loading software and assistive/adaptive technology, and training people living with MS on the new technology? Volunteers should be willing to follow up with recipients of the equipment on a monthly basis through Skype, email, website and phone calls. This position would work closely with the program coordinator. An IT background is helpful, but not required. The position requires knowledge of the following:
How to connect a machine to the internet via ethernet or wireless
Re-image donated machines with licensed software
Troubleshoot issues regarding any equipment
Social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
Adaptive/assistive and free software such as Dragon Speech Zoom Text, Skype, etc.
Click here to watch Dennis Huntley, a program volunteer, discuss his involvement with the Computer Outreach Program.
For information on how to donate material or time to this important program, contact Lori Rhodes at 800-344-4867 ext. 70403, or Lori.Rhodes@nmss.org.