The Laptop Adventure Program: Making A Difference In The Knoxville Community


Situation & Challenge

Back-to-school in the virtual space has been stacked with challenges for students everywhere. However, this change can pose far greater challenges for students who do not have the resources necessary for virtual learning success.

To help bridge this digital divide amongst children in the Knoxville community, which was highlighted amid school closures during the pandemic, RCN Technologies, in collaboration with the Emerald Youth Foundation, launched their first Laptop Adventure Program (LAP) earlier this summer.


In order to balance the quality of learning between students whose technology needs are met and those who aren’t, The Laptop Adventure Program has been committed to helping students stay connected at home and participate in remote learning outside the classroom by collecting old laptops, refurbishing them to meet today’s standards, and distributing them to students in need.

laptop adventure program

Since it’s initial launch, the Laptop Adventure Program has made a positive impact on several Knoxville students as the pandemic continues to drive a shift towards online learning.

Setting a Leader Up For Success

One student, in particular, is a Fulton graduate who started attending the Emerald Youth Calling and Career Center during her senior year of high school, which provides support to high school students as they transition to post-secondary experiences. She was extremely active and a regular attendee at the Emerald Youth Calling and Career Center, quickly becoming a friend to everyone and a leader in the center as she is extremely well-rounded and able to easily build relationships with everyone she meets. School did not come naturally to her, but she worked extremely hard and was never afraid to ask for help to grow and improve.

After graduation, her plan was to attend Pellissippi State Community College for two years then transfer to a 4-year school, however, her plan was put on hold due to financial reasons. She is working almost full-time to save up for a car and school tuition, however, she does not own a computer and would need help accessing one when she starts school.

"She has had to learn to be extremely independent with her mom's busy work schedule, and she has to figure out how to survive on her own. We are extremely proud of the young woman she is and the positive attitude she maintains even in the midst of stress and adversity. I believe that if anyone deserves to be gifted with a computer, it would be her!"

Stephanie Erb

Emerald Youth Foundation

Making a Difference

The second student chosen to receive a computer is a senior attending alternate school in Jefferson County and considering the Air Force. This student attends the Emerald Youth Foundation’s JustLead program and credits his leaders for making a big difference in his life during the past year. Because his mother has been inconsistent in his life, he has currently moved to live with his grandmother here in Knoxville, with his younger brother and two cousins in the same house.

"When meeting with him, he mentioned needing a laptop to make finishing school easier and convenient while it is all online. Currently, he is halfway through Algebra II and only has two more classes to finish for his high school diploma. The RCN Laptop Adventure Donation Program will now help make this a reality".

Stephanie Erb

Emerald Youth Foundation

Giving a Student the Encouragement to Succeed

The third student selected to get a computer from the Laptop Adventure Program was chosen because of the strong work ethic he shows to love and serve others. This student is an Austin-East graduate who attended JustLead, Emerald Youth Foundation’s youth leadership program implemented through a network of urban neighborhood churches and faith-based organizations in Knoxville, throughout high school. Despite moving around from Fulton to Austin-East during his high school career, he stayed consistent at Emerald Youth, where his contagious smile and positive attitude shined. He is quick to serve others and never hesitates to help correct bad behavior or help restore order. He was also an exceptional leader among his peers at the Emerald Youth Foundation and the students of all ages loved and respected him.

He currently lives with his mom, brothers, and several other family members while attending Pellissippi Community College in hopes of transferring to Talladega College in Alabama. On top of being a full-time student, he also works part-time to help support his mom and does not have a computer, which makes online classes and schoolwork very difficult.

"To help with not having a lot of guidance or encouragement at home when it comes to his schoolwork, this student was chosen to get a computer to give him access to the resources he needs to further his education in today's digital world."

Stephanie Erb

Emerald Youth Foundation

How To Donate Next Year

  1. Confirm your machine meets the minimum specifications needed for reconditioning.
  2. Drop off your laptop at one of our laptop collection sites.
  3. Smile and know that something that was likely going to collect dust in a drawer will have a major impact on a child’s life…because of you.

Types of Computers Accepted

  • Chromebooks (preferred)
  • Laptops (all major brands)

Minimum Laptop Specifications

  • 64-bit x86 processor or equivalent
  • At least 2 GB of memory (RAM)
  • Hard drive (4 GB or larger)
  • USB port

Our Community Collection Partners

Community Collection Partners are vital to the success of the Laptop Adventure Program. Ideal CCPs are businesses with common areas where customers can freely move (retail, restaurants, etc.) and can dedicate a small amount of floor space to a collection bin for the program.

Each day, customers will be able to bring in and drop off laptops to donate to the program in the bin, and we ask that our CCPs have a reasonable process for monitoring and protecting those donations. Our team will visit your location for collection every two weeks as a routine, however, we can make unscheduled pickups if your location experiences increased donation volume.

laptop adventure program drop off bin

The Laptop Adventure Program will be relaunching annually to help bridge the digital divide in our community between students who have access to online resources and those who do not.

Have a question or want more information how you can become a Community Collection Partner? Call us at 865.293.0350 or complete the form below.

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