Retiree group celebrates milestone by donating computer to 5,000th child in Loudon County
SHELBY MILLER 6 News Reporter

LOUDON (WATE) - A group of retirees aims to help east Tennessee's youth by refurbishing donated computers and giving them to families who can't afford them.

The Technology Access Program, or TAP, reached a milestone Thursday as it gave a Loudon County third grader the gift of technology.

Since 2007, TAP has taken old computers, refurbished them and given them to kids across east Tennessee. Thursday, the organization gave a computer to its 5,000th student.

Standing tall next to her brand new Dell desktop, Annabell Lee may seem shy on the outside, but inside, she's jumping for joy. 

"Were you speechless?" asked Tonya Lee, Annabell's mom. "Yes, I was," said Annabell.

The 8-year-old said she wanted a computer for years. Her parents worked hard, but weren't able to afford one. Tonya gets emotional when talking about the special gift that she knows will help her daughter grow.

"I'm very grateful," Tonya said.

The family can thank the TAP for the computer. TAP is a community outreach program of the Tellico Village Computer Users Club. Nearly 30 volunteers refurbish donated computers and give them to low income families who have kids in school.

"To think there are 5,000 children throughout east Tennessee who now have access to a computer, who didn't before, and still may not if it wasn't for this program," said TAP Founder and Volunteer, Warren Sanders.

The organization started in 2007. Since then, they've given more than 3,000 computers to families in east Tennessee. Each family gets a desktop computer with a printer. On top of desktops, TAP refurbishes donated laptops they then give to high school and college students.

"We feel any child that doesn't have access to a computer in their home is behind and without a computer they won't catch up," Sanders said.

Thanks to Thursday's donation, Tonya won't worry about Annabell falling behind.

"I know there will be games, but we're going to have to do the reading and the math and the things they do at school. She can even show me at home," Tonya said.

"I'm just so excited I have a new computer all to myself," Annabell said.

If you have questions, or would like to donate or volunteer with TAP, call (865) 332-5313.