The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

A New Year's Eve Reflection...

To my friend Jean in France...thank you.

It's quiet here.

But of course it would be...the evening is young.  It's New Year's Eve and those who seek the night's pleasures are just stepping into the batters box.

Diane is in the living room, watching a documentary on Mark Twain.  I've just finished a couple of install scripts that will come in handy in the next few months.

It's quiet here...

I've allowed myself an annual guilty pleasure.  I've splurged on a 12 year old bottle of MacAllan scotch...aged in Sherry casks from Jerez Spain. As I sit here reflecting on the past year, the warmth from that bottle begins to settle in. 

We don't go out on New Year's Eve.  I personally gave up the ritual a few years back.  The jostling crowds and blaring music on Sixth Street just does not have the appeal it used to.

Besides that, I simply don't see any real reason to celebrate.

It's just a moment in time we've chosen to note a mile marker of our passing.

I do see this date on the calendar as an opportunity to look at where we've been and a tool to gauge where we want to go.

2010 has been a decent year for us.  While this wasn't our largest year for computer installs, it has been a year of confirmations and validation.  296 computers were given away by The HeliOS Project in 2010...

That took us past a mile marker of sorts in itself.  To date, we've placed 1208 Linux-powered computers to Austin kids that needed them most.  We were honored to receive the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, we were featured on the front page of The Austin American Statesman and we began negotiations with the city of Taylor for a long-term lease of our own building.

But through it all, it has been the Linux and Open Source Community that made this happen.  Through your support of Linux Against Poverty and various other events, you insured that we had the equipment and funding to do our job.

And to be honest, the middle of November saw us at the lowest point we've been since we started doing this.  We were out of machines, we were out of money and morale was pretty low.

But then Fate smiled upon us.

St. Jude Medical donated 75 laptops to The HeliOS Project and with only 4 days left until Christmas, we were faced with delivering 13 promised computers.  Recipients were spread out from Georgetown to San Marcos Texas.  We drove hundreds of miles and at all hours of the day to get them delivered, but get them delivered we did.

You folks paid for the fuel and associated costs to get this done.  Without you, those computers would still be loaded in the back of the Explorer, waiting to find a home.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we delivered the last three.  Joi and her son Jack were the last install of 2010.  Jack is an honor roll student, looking forward to entering Middle School next year and with a Dell D610 laptop from The HeliOS Project, he can go forward with confidence.

And his mom has one less thing to worry about.

In the meantime, we had a backlog of requests for laptops.  They were mostly students preparing to enter college or trade schools.  Unfortunately, many of them had already moved or had begun college and had not provided us a forwarding address.

Shea Collis was fortunate.  Through a friend of The HeliOS Project, we were able to track her down.  She is living with her mom in Houston Texas and has just helped finish building their house via Habitat for Humanity.

Shea is an advanced placement student and has yet to choose her school but with her grades, she will have colleges knocking on her door.  It was a pleasure to help this young lady out.

Her grades are so good, she was able to skip an entire year in high school.  She will graduate having only attending three years...and still, she remains in advanced placement.

2011 will of course have its challenges.  We should become our own 501(c)(3) by the end of January.  The end of that month should see us moving into a new home and begin teaching various computer classes in several Williamson County locations.

Of course, everything we do will be focused on the Linux Operating System.  It would be the most irresponsible of acts to ignore the importance of Linux as we watch these young people become our future.

A future that you are helping us build.

All-Righty Then...


JRaz said...

So wonderful to read once again the accomplishments of the Helios Project. It re-affirms in me the support the community is willing to give when asked. And to me that is the core of Linux. The community from programmers to bloggers to the people who comb the logs of the initiated, the community of Linux continues to grow and always seems to step up when needed. My hat is eternally off to you and the people who keep the project rolling forward. Happy New Year and may this be one of many successes.