LoCo stories: the Ubuntu Florida team and the Youth Build Day

This week’s story takes us to the United States, in
Florida, where a group of remarkable individuals have taken up the lofty goal of making the world a better place by way of Open Source. Let’s learn some more about our heroes.

Meet the Florida LoCo: a group of over 250 enthusiasts with a broad scope of interests, ranging from DJ’ing to System Administration, united by the Ubuntu spirit and a common master plan.

QuinnCo, a non-profit organisation located in Central Florida run by Michael and Michelle Hall, also members of the Florida LoCo. They take donated second-hand computers, fix them if necessary, put Ubuntu or Qimo (their own distro for children) on them and give them out to kids and families in need.

Last but not least, the other rockstars in this story: the members of local LUGs, in particular the Lakeland Linux Enthusiasts, and the children from the Florida Baptist Children’s Home themselves.

It was last summer in Florida, when Michael and Michelle started planning to run a Youth Build Day in a local children’s home. The idea was to have a computer build day, where they’d bring in disadvantaged youth and mentor them through building machines. QuinnCo, being known from their impressive work and regular collaboration with the Florida LoCo, made other members not to think twice and to quickly get on board.

After careful preparation, thoughtful organization, meetings, and several calls for participation the big day finally came: the Youth Build Day on the 15th of August. LoCo members were driving from one end of the state to the other to turn out and help, while several people from local meetup.com groups also came over. On top of that, there were about 30 of the kids from the children’s home helping, learning about computers and installing Ubuntu and Qimo on the machines they had fixed up.

Not only were they building computers for the kids, they were teaching them about computers, both hardware and software, and also about Linux and Open Source.

All in all, it was an incredible success: by the end of the day there had been about 75 participants, who managed to process 47 computers. Of those, about 40 were working and the rest had to be used for parts. Seven of them were placed at the children’s home itself and the rest were given out to local children and child-care facilities in the community.

Some of the most memorable experiences recollected from the participants were the great time they had meeting new Ubuntu people and the kids, how encouraging was to see how everyone was working together as a team and how the adults took the kids under wing, mentoring them through all of the stages of computer repair and installation.

This demonstrates the essence of the LoCo teams at the very heart of the Ubuntu community: individuals sharing the familiar “humanity to others” ideals and working together as a team to accomplish their goals. One can only be proud of being part of such a community.


Do you have an interesting LoCo story to tell? If you have organized an event, performed some work/advocacy in your local community, have built some resources, performed meetings or installfests, please email David (david.planella AT ubuntu DOT com). Do remember to send a picture to accompany the story!
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