After a virus rendered her home computer useless, Sky Muniz had only the older computers at the City of Edinburg's Parks and Recreation Department center to use for homework and entertainment.
Thanks to The University of Texas-Pan American's Division of Information Technology, the city now has 12 newer computers for its youths to use.
"I feel grateful, because the old computers weren't as great as these," said Muniz, a sixth-grade student at IDEA Quest Academy in Edinburg. "The old ones were like dinosaurs, and these run a lot faster."
UTPA donated some of its surplus computers in May, and on Aug. 2 Jeffrey Graham, chief information officer at the University , and Anne Toal, technology assessment officer at UTPA, visited the parks and recreation department to see how the machines were working.
"I'm glad the University was able to help them give some resources that will be put to a very good use," Graham said. "Anything we can do to help kids and support their education will benefit the (Rio Grande) Valley and the community."
The computers Edinburg had before were at least a decade old, and students spent more time waiting for software to load than working on schoolwork. The newer computers donated by UTPA run 10 times faster and students are able to locate needed information right away.
Juan Galindo, the parks and recreation center's coordinator, said the center was in dire need of newer computers.
Some children who attend the center only have access to a computer at school or the public library. The parks and recreation center provides students with another place to use a computer, Galindo said.
The 12 computers serve 250-300 Edinburg youths daily. Children can use the computer for homework, class projects and research for 30 minutes three times a week under the supervision of Edinburg parks and recreation staff, he said.
"I'm really grateful for the generous donation UTPA has given us," Galindo said. "The kids and staff really appreciate that they are able to have something they can rely on."