In today’s age of ever-changing technology, it’s now more important than ever before to dispose of your old, unwanted computer in an ethical way. That’s where Free Geek comes in, offering a drop off or pickup service for your donations. We recently spoke with Mike, who started out as a volunteer with Free Geek in the Spring of 2011, and quickly became a full-time employee shortly thereafter. Free Geek currently has about 200 active volunteers, something Mike says is crucial to its success. “Without volunteers it would not be possible to run this organization,” he tells us. “I previously was a technical writer and I took time off work, and decided to volunteer here,” Mike says. “I envisioned myself working for a tech squad at a best buy or some sort, but I didn’t know the technical software aspect of it. So I came here and learned the technical software and took on all the laptop work. Now laptops are a quarter of our sales revenue now. I stayed because there was the opportunity to make myself a job, but we also run on consensus here and all staff have an equal say which I really like but also doing something worthwhile.” “This place is good for the soul,” Mike continues. “I look forward coming into work every day, and I get to work with really great people. This is the best job I’ve ever had and I will definitely stay.” With thousands of donations per year, it’s clear that businesses like Free Geek are an important part of keeping our ‘hood green. Anything that can’t be reused is recycled locally and ethically, and the rest is rebuilt or refurbished — then sold to the community at a discounted rate through their Thrift Store. Everything from desktops, keyboards, phones, laptops and gaming devices available. For the last three years, Free Geek have been hosting Open Help Nights as well. Every Wednesday you can pop in for free tech support, no appointment necessary, absolutely free of charge. “We set a record last week, when 23 people came in for help!” Mike says enthusiastically. “We help with everything from getting onto the internet and other complex issues like software problems.” If you’re interested in computers and want to learn more, Free Geek is always looking for new volunteers, experienced or otherwise. Learn about the ins and outs of computers, electronics, and recycling, and build relationships with likeminded people who are passionate about electronics, computers, recycling, and Free and Open Source Software. Located at 1820 Pandora Street, Free Geek is open for Volunteering on Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-6pm; Thrift Store is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-6pm; and Public Tours take place on every Saturday, from 4-5pm. Visit their website for more information, and don’t forget to stay social on Twitter and Facebook, too!