Highschooler Revives Hundreds of Broken Computers to Donate to Community

Daily Point of Light # 7817 May 22, 2024

Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Sam Nadol. Read his story and nominate an outstanding volunteer or family as a Daily Point of Light.

Sam Nadol’s journey into computer repair started when he was just in sixth grade. Guided by YouTube tutorials, he began by fixing an old computer at home and then advanced to rescuing discarded units from a local recycling center. Selling these refurbished computers on Craigslist for $25 to cover parts costs revealed a significant demand.

“Whenever I posted one of these computers, it would only be five, ten minutes until someone would message me asking to buy it,” Sam, now a high school senior, recalled. “That’s when I realized there was a clear need for low-cost computers out there and that this hobby I have could really make a difference in the world if I expanded it into way more computers.”

So, with the support of a grant from his high school in 2020, his nonprofit RebootPC was born.

When donations of old, used and/or broken computers come in from members of his community in Westchester County, New York, Sam repairs each one, addressing everything from broken keys on the keyboard to replacing cracked screens and installing new batteries. He also wipes all the data on each computer and installs a solid-state drive to make the computers faster. He no longer sells them but provides the computers free of charge to those who need them most via a request through his website or local organizations such as Ossining Padres Hispanos, which supports the Hispanic immigrant community, or Home Run Against Drugs, which teaches youth to avoid illegal alcohol and drug use.

Sam drops off a batch of computers he fixed to a local organization, which will then distribute them to community members. /Courtesy Sam Nadol

Roger Battacharia, a local business executive who helped connect RebootPC with these organizations, has seen Sam’s impact firsthand.

“With the computers, Ossining Padres Hispanos was able to train roughly 1,200 people on how to search for jobs, how to use programs like Microsoft Excel, build a resume and manage their money. It’s been transformative to a lot of people in the sense that it’s helped them to get types of jobs that they would not have otherwise,” Roger said.

The impact of RebootPC has extended beyond Westchester County as he has provided computers to organizations supporting Ukrainian refugees who fled the war and settled in New York. Additionally, international organizations received computers to support education initiatives in Haiti and Nigeria, further amplifying reach and influence. To date, RebootPC has donated 470 computers, preventing a staggering 9,400 pounds of e-waste from ending up in landfills.

“Every so often I get thank-you letters from recipients who say, ‘I found a job with the computer’ or ‘I’ve been able to keep in touch with my family,’” Sam said. “While my motivation behind doing all this was because fixing computers is my hobby, being able to make an impact in other people’s lives is really the most rewarding part of it.”

With Sam heading off to college in the fall to major in electrical engineering, running RebootPC might be a bit trickier, but he hopes to keep it going and one day, expand it to more cities across the country.

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Sam? Find local volunteer opportunities.

Alicia Lee