Sky’s the Limit Youth Organization
For most of us, not having access to a computer is unthinkable in this age when facts, data and access to friends seem to be at our fingertips. So what happens when kids in middle and high school don’t own a computer? Homework doesn’t get completed and these students fall behind.
But Lara Tavares, founder and CEO of Sky’s the Limit Youth Organization in Toronto, Ontario, is doing her part to eliminate the digital divide for Canadian students. Sky’s the Limit buys refurbished computers and gives them to students from underresourced communities. The organization also offers mentoring and tutoring programs to get these students completing reports, sending e-mails and learning how to do online research.
Since its founding five years ago, Sky’s the Limit has placed more than 1,400 computers in central and eastern Canada. And the orders just keep flooding in.
At 37 years old, Lara says her own history with the computer began well before most of her friends’. When she was growing up in Kanata, Ontario, her dad bought an early computer for their home, and soon Lara was spending hours in the basement using it for school projects and exploring the technology.
After studying fine arts at Concordia University in Montreal, Lara started working in Web design. She also spent her spare time volunteering. However, it didn’t take her long to realize that she was spreading her talents too thin, so after some brainstorming and soul-searching, Lara hit on an idea that would change the trajectory of many lives. She decided to take her two passions, volunteerism and computers, and blend them to create Sky’s the Limit.
Many ask Lara why she doesn’t give students new computers. Using refurbished computers, some of which are only six months old, just makes sense, she answers. Not only are they cheaper, so more can be bought and distributed, but it’s the greener option and keeps them out of landfills.
Lara’s next goal is to expand Sky’s the Limit across Canada and get as many computer keyboards under children’s fingertips as possible. If the next five years is anything like the past five, she’ll get there in no time.