Computer science organization teams up with CASA to save lives

Baylor’s computer science organization, Computing for Compassion, has recently wrapped up a project with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). They are helping CASA remove information from children's files to protect them in court. Photo courtesy of Baylor University.

Baylor’s computer science organization, Computing for Compassion, has recently wrapped up a project with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). The project helps the advocates erase sensitive information to provide safety for children within the court system.

CASA helps support children who experience abuse or neglect and helps find them a safe and permanent home. Through donations and gifts from partners and the public, CASA has been able to grow to 49 states and nearly 950 programs.

Due to the volume of private information that CASA receives, they need a way to delete private information that is no longer required. That is when executive director of CASA, Anna Futral, reached out to Computing for Compassion asking for their help in erasing private information and repurposing the computer parts.

Computing for Compassion helps different nonprofits throughout Waco who need tech support and with their help, have saved hundreds of dollars for these organizations. Formatting a computer — erasing everything from the hard drives can cost up to $300 per computer, and with the limited amount of donations they receive, the organizations don’t have the luxury on high-tech equipment.

With 10 computers to work with, Houston senior Mario Lopez, president of Computing for Compassion, led the organization in this project. The organization met up a couple of times a month throughout the semester and worked through each computer. With help from their sponsor, Google, the organization was able to safely erase all of the information on the hard drives and refurbish the computers.

“Waco is a very underserved area, and we want to fill in that gap and show what the tech is all about,” Lopez said.

The computers were taken to a safe place, where the organization was able to finish formatting all of the computers by December 2018. The 10 computers were then refurbished and donated to Tennyson Middle School in Waco.

Lopez explained that different types of organizations reach out to computing for compassion throughout the year to help them with their technology, due to how expensive the technology world is. Although they have worked with many nonprofits over the years, this project has been one of the most successful.

Scott Air Force Base, Ill., sophomore Meghan Bibb is currently working on different types of projects with Computing for Compassion. She works with their tutoring program at Harmony Science Academy.

“It was awesome to be able to contribute to a program that helps so many children,” Bibb said.

Computing for Compassion is now working on a community event in March called “Wacode.” It will be the first computer science event in Waco and will include different workshops, startup competitions and technology conferences.