We live in a world that is rapidly utilizing computers to improve every facet of life. Computer code, the language that computers communicate with, has become a skill of equal, if not greater, importance than standard school subjects like physics, biology, or literature.

Coding enables us to discover, innovate, and revolutionize in fields ranging from fluid mechanics to archeology. Coding also teaches us to think algorithmically to develop precise steps to solve problems faster. For all of these reasons, companies in every industry rely on computers to power their business, and are increasingly expecting their employees to be proficient with them. When we consider the realities of the 21st century, it is abundantly clear that coding has become a skill critical for every child to learn.

While there are existing initiatives to make it easier to learn to code, many students lack access to a device capable of running the tools they need to succeed. Nearly 1 in 2 American families below the poverty level either have no personal way to access the internet, or can only do so with a mobile device. That amounts to millions of American students without a path to become familiar with today’s increasingly important digital tools. For many of these students, it can even disable them from completing parts of their homework.

We thought this was unacceptable, and when we learned that almost 7 million tons, or over 35 Willis Towers, of usable electronics are thrown out every year in the US, we knew we had to do something about it.

So, we created BinaryHeart, a student organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of innovators.

We collect broken or no longer needed devices and breath new life into them. By swapping out parts from the various devices we collect, we can fix damaged devices, and find uses for irreparably broken devices. After being repaired, we donate the devices to impoverished students and families in Chicago through Northwestern Settlement.

Through this process, we can provide crucial digital tools to help underprivileged youth, and also save good devices from rotting away in landfills.

With your help, we can fulfill our mission to “Spread digital access!”