PowerOn, a program putting technology into the hands of at-risk and homeless LGBTQ youth across the nation, aims to aid the LGBTQ community by providing access to life-saving resources that can be reached online. As of April 2018, the PowerOn program is available in eight locations, with more to come later this year.
LGBTQ Youth & Technology
Each night, as many as 1.6 million children and teens sleep on America’s streets. Over 40% of these homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, which is a population equivalent to our nation’s capital at about 650,000 people. Many of our LGBTQ youth find themselves in homeless or housing-insecure situations after family conflicts over sexual orientation or gender identity.
Experiencing homelessness as an LGBTQ youth has a far-reaching impact, beyond the basic need for housing. In being separated from a family unit and the resources that might be available there, LGBTQ youth cannot easily access healthcare, educational resources, or an accepting and supportive community network.
Technology is vital for homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth to stay connected with supportive networks and to improve their personal safety. Phones and other devices often provide one of the only LGBTQ-safe and affirming points to the Internet.
How Does PowerOn Work?
PowerOn works directly with LGBTQ-exclusive or supportive homeless shelters, LGBTQ centers, and other supportive organizations working with homeless LGBTQ youth.
With organizations, centers, and shelters across the country already working to provide such at-risk or homeless LGBTQ youth with the immediate help they need, PowerOn steps in to then provide the access to technology that can open new doors and save lives.
PowerOn upcycles lightly used tech devices by wiping all data and refurbishing the device before distributing it to a partner center. With eight partner centers already distributing life-saving access to technology now and an additional 12-15 new centers planned to open in 2018, PowerOn continues to grow as an invaluable resource for LGBTQ youth across the nation.
Our donated equipment can either be used within the organization’s building or it can be distributed to a qualified young person who has completed a program and has found stable housing. By offering a wide range of connection points, we meet the youth where they are and offer them an opportunity to take control.
New Partners in 2018
As of October 2017, PowerOn estimates had shown a potential reach of 55,000 housing-insecure LGBTQ youth by the end of 2018. Having just launched two new centers in March 2018, both in Brooklyn, PowerOn is now available through eight different partner centers in seven cities across the country.
PowerOn has distributed over 240 devices worth over $30,000, collected 150 devices, launched partnerships with eight centers around the country, and plans to add an additional 12-15 centers in 2018.
PowerOn is currently reviewing applications for these additional partner centers to launch later this year. We received fantastic interest from communities across the country during the open application period and are working hard to ensure we serve as many communities as possible.
Donated Device Data Wipe
If you have old tech that you’re ready to donate, you can securely do so through PowerOn. We ensure that all data is wiped clean from your device, following specific protocol to ensure your privacy and protection.
PowerOn takes full ownership and liability of, and provides storage and hard drive sanitation services for, all donated devices. Their procedures are in full compliance with HIPAA and other international standards and laws.
All donated devices are stored in a secure, locked facility until they can be processed.
Through a NIST 800-88 method, random data is written through the entirety of the hard drive destroying any recoverable data. The drive is then rescanned to verify that all data has been destroyed.
If data destruction is unsuccessful through software methods, then the hard drive will be physically destroyed and recycled in an environmentally sound manner as recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency.
PowerOn’s full data wipe details are available on the website here.
PowerOn frequently receives donations of newer, more valuable technology, such as MacBook Pros and newer iPhones. Through our research, we are aware that higher value items can make housing-insecure youth become targets of theft. PowerOn sells these devices through various channels and the resulting funds are used to purchase up to three or four devices for every one sold, allowing us to put more devices into LGBTQ hands
Donate Your Old Tech!
Do you have old tech at home? Maybe you have an old smartphone just sitting in a drawer somewhere or an old laptop that you never use anymore. You can donate that old tech to PowerOn and positively affect the lives of at-risk LGBTQ youth in America.
Visit www.poweronlgbt.org and choose to donate a phone or donate a larger device.
You can also donate funds directly to PowerOn at any time.