It’s almost impossible to live and thrive in today’s world without some understanding of computers. We help people get and learn to use them.
Paul lives in Santee, CA and is an electrical engineer. He worked for many years with computers and electronics and is also a professional photographer. In 1996 he founded ACES, Adaptive Computer Empowerment for low income seniors and the disabled. His significant other, Dawn Siskowic, will join him on the cruise.
ACES is an all volunteer, non-profit group that provides computer services to seniors and the disabled. In the early years, ACES focused primarily on training people with severe disabilities about the fundamentals of computer use. They taught them how to use the internet, send and receive emails, and use various software packages. ACES worked with the disabled to help them find employment and become more independent in their daily living. They still do this training, but now the program has evolved in large part into providing refurbished computers to low income people.
Paul and his crew of volunteers gather old computers from businesses and individuals in the community. They refurbish the older components and restore them to full capacity, load software, and sell them at very low prices to low income people, the disabled, and seniors. They still provide training services and have a classroom in their building with ten computer set ups, so they can handle a good-sized group when needed. The money they get from selling their computers goes right back into ACES so they can purchase the materials they need to keep doing their computer repairs.
By Paul's estimate, ACES has brought some 5,000 computers to people who need them most. The twenty volunteers serve all of San Diego county. Paul describes himself as ‘chief cook and bottle washer. ' This is more than a full time job for Paul. He is usually at their center Monday through Saturday from 8:30 to 4:30. Says Paul: "This has been a long road. We originally worked out of our garages and turned everywhere we could for donations and grants. They were hard to come by, but over time our work became better known in the community. Now we have our own place, and it's a great to bring the internet, email, word processing, and other computer functions to so many people."