Laptops donated to Children Services Program at Homeless Resource Center on Maui
The man who founded the Pacific Cancer Institute in 1993 in Wailuku, has established a private nonprofit foundation that is providing laptop computers to deserving high school students.
On Thursday, the Dr. Bobby Baker and Julie Baker Foundation delivered two laptop computers Thursday to keiki in Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers’ Children Services Program in Wailuku.
Program participants Jenah-Lee Collier and Journiey Franzen-Akahi did the honors of excitedly opening the gift-wrapped Lenovo laptops. “It’s a blessing for the kids,” said Journiey’s mom, Kapiolani Franzen-Akahi. “It’s always good to give them something different to do.”
The delivery of the laptops marks the beginning of the Baker Foundation’s “Computers With A Cause” program in Maui County. Another eight laptop computers will be given to deserving high school students who don’t have access to personal computers. The deadline for applications is Aug. 18, 2023.
Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers Executive Director Monique R. Ibarra said, “The Baker Foundation’s donation of two laptops is an example of the compassion and dedication needed to uplift those who are most vulnerable in our community. These laptops will enable our Children’s Program participants to engage in virtual learning and have a sense of hope and confidence in their developing abilities.”
Dr. Baker is founder of the Pacific Cancer Institute in Wailuku and co-founder of the Dr. Bobby Baker and Julie Baker Foundation. He said he was inspired to extend the “Computers With A Cause” program from Charleston, South Carolina, to Maui County after being encouraged to do so by Janice Yonamine, a former colleague and a registered nurse at the Pacific Cancer Institute.
“Janice knew Julie and I had started the computer donation program in Charleston, where we now live,” said Dr. Baker. “Janice encouraged me to extend the gift of laptops to deserving students on Maui. I said, ‘OK, but you need to serve on the foundation’s advisory board,’ and she agreed.”
“The donation of these laptops represents the Baker Foundation’s commitment to fostering a learning environment without boundaries and one that opens doors to limitless opportunities,” Dr. Baker said. “We are confident that, in the hands of eager and curious students, these computers will nurture their growth and ultimately help them break free of the cycle of homelessness.”
“Today’s donation to Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers is a step toward Dr. Baker’s vision that every student should have equal opportunities for learning to thrive in our digital world,” said Janice Yonamine. “These computers will provide children here, who are transitioning out of homelessness, the tools they need for success in the classroom and later in life.”
Computers With A Cause is seeking applications from Maui County high school students for free laptop computers. These laptops are for students who currently do not own or have access to a personal computer at home.
Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate their dedication to academics, community service and financial need. Students can apply for the program by visiting https://computerswithacause.org/student-application; or, after downloading and completing the PDF application, send it via email to [email protected].
“The goal of the Dr. Bobby Baker and Julie Baker Foundation is to bridge the digital divide, empower young minds and give every child access to essential educational tools,” Dr. Baker said. “Fortunately, children are resilient, and together we can create a brighter future for them.”
For more information about the Dr. Bobby Baker and Julie Baker Foundation and its charitable initiatives, please contact:
Dr. Bobby Baker and Julie Baker Foundation
15 State St., Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone: 843-737-0182 Ext. 300