The HeliOS Project is now.....

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

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Fueling a Shining Star

From the beginnings of Komputers4Kids and through its evolution into HeliOS Project, our efforts have had some interesting and challenging situations. Often, we've been asked why we don't "publicize" the recipients of these computers and Internet access. The reason is simple if you give it some thought.

To do so would identify them to the world as "financially disadvantaged"

Of course, those kids have been our focus and for good reason. We've said so often.

The last thing I want to do is plaster their names and faces all over the Internet, thus identifying them as socially or financially challenged.

I personally, would be hot enough to hit with a blacksmith's hammer should someone do to that to me or any member of my family.

There have been times when it would have been all too true none the less. There is a more compelling reason however.

Our attorney has advised us not to...strictly for the reasons sited above. No good deed goes unpunished. The last thing we need is some opportunist screaming about how they were "humiliated" by our publishing their names and faces in a charity situation. Aside from's simply a matter of consideration for someone's dignity.

We do however, seek out those who strive to be the best they can be. In their studies, in their social activities and in their personal lives, you can see that they will not accept mediocrity.

One such student is Amanda Rodriguez.

Amanda is far from the gum-popping, hair-twirling, cell-phone-grafted-to-her-ear teenager. The 16 year old daughter of David and Dee Rodriguez of Pflugerville Texas, Amanda attends Connally High School in the Pflugerville School District. She is active in an assortment of activities within her school and many look to her for her natural leadership and confidence.

That, unfortunately, is rare from this age bracket today...or so it would seem. Most of them can't remember to wear a belt.

The HeliOS Project intends to target one such student a month to receive a computer from us and I hope you will support our efforts to do so. While the disadvantaged need every break they can get, the kids that show acceptional/sustained grade averages and community involvement should be rewarded for their drive and foresight. Through our efforts, some will be.

This laptop was presented to Amanda in the name of the Linux Community via KC and Stephen McGaughey. Thank you KC and Stephen for providing the opportunity and the means to make this presentation happen.

Amanda Rodriguez is the first recipient of the HeliOS Project Shining Star Award for 2008. Her only weakness? We won't say but she did fall down one grade level past her high expectations last grade period...and no, we will not reward her for bringing that grade back up.

But we will send in a band of Ninja Linux Hackers during the darkest part of the night and put Windows Vista on her new laptop should she not do so.

All Righty Then...


Dave K said...

These are the Linux stories I like to hear. Keep up the great work!

einfeldt said...

Ken, this is an awesome story. You can avoid the legal negatives by getting the permission of the kids and their parents ahead of time. Just send them a link to a story like this and let them know that this is all it would be. Just a story like this, at least from you. Let them know that you do have a highly read blog, so that they feel fully informed.

I do know how hard it is to get releases. At our public middle school project in SF, we go releases from about 95% of the students' parents, but that is because we had the principal on our side. Plus I spend a lot of time in the school so that the students trust me.

Please let the students and their parents know how inspiring their stories are to your readers. This is a beautiful photo and a beautiful story. I would think that parents would be _proud_ that their family and their student has achieved success despite financial hardship. Financial hardship is no shame -- statistically a large number of homes are going to fall into the category of not being able to afford computers. 85% of the students at our school fall below federal poverty guidelines. The families can be encouraged to see it as a source of _pride_ that they are working hard despite mere bad luck.

And another thing -- it is such a gift for the families to allow their stories to be told here. IMHO, if they families understand that they are giving _incredible inspiration_ to your readers, they will see that it is very much not a case of them being depicted as being given a hand-out. No, much to the contrary, it is a story of triumph against hard odds, and _they_ are giving to _us_ by allowing us to see their stories and cheer for them!

Thanks for the really great story, Ken!