Dear PoP – Computer and Books Needed for Middle School Students

4th of July 039

Ed. Note:  I’ve gotten lots of emails from folks asking where they can donate their old computers, this seems like a great cause!

“Dear PoP,

I was hoping I could appeal to your readers and fellow DC’ers.
I teach middle school Language Arts at Sacred Heart School in Mt Pleasant.  We need your help!

I work with amazingly creative and determined kids who have the odds stacked against them.  We work together day in and day out to tackle reading and writing skills.  We are a bilingual school with most of our kids on scholarships.  I watch my kids grow every day as they take advantage of all the opportunities given to them.  However, our lack of funds for technology in the classroom is limiting our success.

We are hoping that maybe some of you have just bought new computers and are looking to get rid of your old ones.  We are not asking for brand new state of the art computers, but we will definitely take those as well 😉  Most of our students do not have personal computers in their homes and we do not have very many working ones in our school.  It is really hard for our kids to learn how to use computers and stay competitive in the growing trend of computer science when I don’t have a computer for them to use in the classroom.  If you have working computers or printers that you are trying to get rid of, we’ve got a home ready for them in my classroom!  We would appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.

In the true spirit of an inner city teacher, I’m asking for another favor….!   If any of you are looking to donate Young Adult books, we would gladly accept those as well.  All books are welcome, but my kids do have a few requests:

The girls (and secretly some of the boys – shhh!) are asking for:

– The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer
The Friends by Rosa Guy
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne
My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall

The boys and girls agree on asking for:

– Anything by Gary Soto – and other “Spanglish” books
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Monster by Walter Dean Meyers
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
– “We want to read funny books!  Ask for anything funny!”

Thank you so much to those of you who read this!  Your support is SO appreciated from the bottom of our hearts.

Much love,

Ms. Kullberg and the Sacred Heart Middle School Kids!


Sacred Heart School 1625 Park Road NW Wash, DC 20010


4th of July 036

32 Comment

  • Thank you for the info. I have an old laptop I think they can use.

  • Wow this is awesome. I bought a new ‘puter a few months ago and just spent the past week uninstalling software from my old PC and scrubbing the hard drive.

    I was just going to set the old PC out on the curb and hope someone took it off my hands for me, but I’d be happy to donate it to a school right up the street.

  • It should be said that Ms Kullberg is an exceptional human being who truly cares about her student’s well being. She really does go way above and beyond for each and everyone of her kids. The other teachers at this school that I have met are also all very dedicated to their students and it is a shame that they just do not have the funding for things most of us probably took for granted in school.

    Thanks PoP for posting something like this! And thanks to everyone in the community that can help make these children’s education just that much better 🙂 YOU ROCK!!!

  • I don’t have an old computer… And all my old books are at my parents house in stupid missouri… Is there any way we (PoP community) could set up a donation drive type of thing? I’d gladly donate $20 to it, and I’m sure there are others in the PoPworld that would, too.

  • There’s a spelling error in the sign. “Computer’s” and “Book’s” should not be possessive. Just sayin’

  • A donation drive would be amaaazing. PoP – Thoughts?

  • @EPF,

    All the more reason to donate “Computer’s” and “Book’s”! 😉

  • At the risk of ticking people off, I have to express a somewhat contrary position. You see, even though I would love to help out school children, my heart just sunk when I realized this is a Catholic school. I was raised Catholic, and attended a wonderful Catholic high school (no to mention being the son of an elementary school teacher), so I am sure that Ms. Kullberg and her colleagues do amazing work. However, as a gay man I simply cannot donate to a Catholic institution.

    The Roman Catholic heirarchy, as well as major lay groups like the Knights of Columbus, have been instrumental in the anti-gay hate campaigns around the country, including those in CA, AZ, AR and FL last year. In fact IIRC the Knights were second only to the Mormon church and its membership in donations of money and time to the Proposition 8 campaign in California. Here in DC, as we struggle for full recognition as citizens, the Roman Catholic diocese has come out solidly against full equality for LGBT human beings. More importantly, the Catholic church has waged political campaigns against LGBT Americans using slanders, lies, urban myths and inneundos. They have claimed we are a threat to the foundation of society, that we do violence to children we are kind enough to raise and our lives are “inherently evil” and “morally disordered.”

    I also worry about the children all over DC who are being raised by LGBT people, and whether they would be welcome at a school like Sacred Heart. Although the Church has shown no concern about allowing the children of non-Catholics (officially heretics to the church) or divorced people (who are living in mortal sin by their divorce) to enroll in their schools, the children of LGBT people have been declined enrollment or expelled after their family structures were understood.

    I wish no ill to Ms. Kullberg and her colleagues, but it does bother me that the children she is teaching may be encouraged by the Church to hate and fear their fellow citizens and I believe that my money and time can be better spent helping those agencies that treat all Americans as equal.

  • @CPT_Doom – I, too, was disheartened to see it is a Catholic school, but I am not going to hold that against the kids who need books and computers. I totally understand your point of view; I am a straight female but absolute hate the influence that the Catholic church has had regarding LGBT issues among other things, but I’m *hoping* that these kids will have enough sense to make their own decisions. For now, I want to help out where I can.

  • I completely hear, appreciate, and share your concerns. When I was first applying to teaching positions in DC, I too was VERY skeptical of the Catholic school system.

    One of the first lessons I learned at Sacred Heart was that it was only hurting myself to hold my prejudices and assumptions against this institution.

    We have diverse teachers, students, and parents from all different religions, races, and sexual orientations. And at the risk of sounding dismissive, we simply don’t care what anyone looks like, talks like, or who they want to wake up to in the morning.

    We’re here to teach, learn, and cultivate morally responsible and insightful citizens. Yes, it is a Catholic school and yes we attend Mass together once a week. But I can promise you that there in no anti-gay messages in what we teach our kids. I wouldn’t be here if that was even on the table.

    Some of our LGBT kids have received some backlash because of the outdated notion that Catholic = straight. However, the reality is that times are changing and we teach love, tolerance, and respect. Period.

    Bottom line: Kids are kids and they need books and computers. They didn’t choose to come here and although some (many) may disagree with the doctrines of the Catholic church, the children shouldn’t be penalized. If you don’t wish to donate, you do not have to. But I’d encourage you to think with a more open mind as other groups are learning to.

    Hopefully that gets the religious tangent out of the way?

  • FWIW the Sacred Heart community has been a very active member of the Washington Interfaith Network, working alongside liberal (pro-gay) churches such as All Souls Unitarian to help improve living conditions for many constituencies throughout the city. In my experience, while the official Catholic church may be very anti-gay, there are also individual Catholic communities that are very welcoming and doing good work. It’s important not to paint with too broad a brush. I’m not Catholic but I recognize that many Catholics do great work for our community. You can support the people and still stand against the system.

  • Also – if you were familiar with the content of many of the books they’re asking for, it’s fairly clear to me that this is not a teacher who is teaching strict adherance to Catholic doctrine.

  • Does anyone know the best way to wipe a hard drive of all of its’ data? (will a complete reformatting achieve this?) I’ve been thinking seriously about getting a new computer and would gladly donate my laptop if I get a new one.

  • No one cares!

  • DC_Chica: Reformatting and repartitioning your drive work work. In addition, I’ve used a program called Active Kill Disk to erase drives in the past. You can download it for free from

  • correction: “Reformatting and repartitioning your drive will work.”

  • I have used a free download software called “Eraser” on my PC. Run it several times to make sure all data is removed. I’ve been told it is ‘military strength’ (not sure exactly what that means, but it sounds good!).

    Reformatting will not necessarily remove all traces of your personal info. Files can still be recovered after a reinstall by a skilled computer geek.

  • To anyone who would hold back their charity from a Catholic affiliated institution, I would encourage you to reconsider. Catholics come in all shades of orthodoxy and, more fundamentally, these kids just want to learn.

    Thanks PoP for highlighting this opportunity.

  • I don’t mean to be a jerk here, I’m very pro-education of any form, but I can’t help asking why not just raise tuition? I know not all the families could hack it, but you likely have a substantial number on scholarship anyway. The parents of the unsubsidized kids are getting a comparatively great deal versus sidwell-type rackets, why not use your market power to raise the price and get the needed books and computers?

  • more welfare for kids on welfare? most of the comments on this blog express frustration at the state of DC, but if’n its going to get better, NAB points to hard decisions that need to be made.

  • To all the critics and naysayers: do you have a better recommendation for donating used but still working computers?

    I see where some of these criticisms are coming from. The catholic church has plenty of money but they haven’t used it in the most redeemable ways. But is it fair to put kids in the middle of adult disagreements?

    I have an old computer but until this post, I haven’t found a good way to dispose of it. The manufacturer has a reclamation program but I’d have to pay the shipping on my very heavy desktop PC. I’ve found some small computer-training-as-rehabilitation-or-community-revitalization programs that would take a large donation but not a single PC. I don’t have a car so taking it to goodwill or salvation army would also cost me money, and if they sell it, how is a single customer’s benefit greater than that which could be gained by a whole classroom of underpriveleged children?

    I really would love to hear other suggestions. If there isn’t anything better out there, Ms. Kullburg is getting my old HP.

  • Is this a tax deductible donation (i.e., can Sacred Heart or Ms. Kullburg offer the letter that charities give when donations are made)?

    I don’t know if it makes a difference to some, but I’m just wondering if that is a possibility.


    If you refuse to donate becuuse they are Catholic, then you are on their level and are no better.

    A person in need is a person in need – regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation etc etc.

    If you want to make a change in this world, might as well start with the man in the mirror.

    Respecting and understanding differences is a two-sided coin.


  • Sometimes its just nice to have a simple opportunity for an pretty effortless little donation like this to come along and drop in our laps – Sheesh people, they’re asking for your secondhand books and old computers, not your kidney!

    Every one who has ever ranted on and on here about rotten, unruly kids causing trouble should especially be rounding up the novels right now! In fact I think we should start a PoP tax – every whine costs a dime – for a book fund.

    Seriously though, I always pick up kids books at yard sales and library free piles and just put them out for the kids CH Village, but I have also been thinking about a more organized effort – maybe once a month book give-a-way outside Giant or someplace. Any ideas?

  • For several months, DC has been running a free electronics recycling program at the Fort Totten trash transfer station, where they take old computers, TVs, and other electronics along with hazardous chemicals.

    If an old computer is too told to donate (and some are, if they can’t run current software) or is no longer working, this is a good way to dispose of it.

    More info at:,A,1202,Q,640279.asp

  • Hello, all-

    Thanks to those of you who have already made appts for drop offs and pick ups!

    Yes, all donations are tax deductible. I’m happy to supply letters.

    As for the allocation of the Catholic Church’s funds… I’m not exactly in charge of that.

    I’ve voiced my opinions on the allocation of our DC schools’ funds and tuition as well. Turns out I’m not in charge of that either.

    I’m just trying to get computers and/or books for my kids who may or may not be Catholic.

    All help is welcome. 🙂

  • so darn tired, these are children period!

  • I will send a couple of Dell laptop computers

  • Thank you, Big Youth!

  • hooray for ms kullberg!

  • a good way to find affordable high-quality books is to check out the ‘books plus’ store in the foyer of the MLK library downtown. books, including children’s and young adult, are usually either 50 cents or 1 dollar.

Comments are closed.