Ossining teen Sam Nadol has spent much of quarantine buried in computers—but not for the typical 15-year-old reasons you’d guess. He’s been fixing and donating old machines for free to those in need in his spare time, with about 118 full systems out the door so far.
His interest in getting a peek inside computers started when he found an old model in his attic several years ago. “I’ve always liked taking things apart and seeing how they work,” Sam said, “and we had an old computer at our house that I took apart. That was probably the only thing that I took apart that was useful, which is why I’m repairing computers and not vacuum cleaners.”
As his hobby grew, so did the parts piling up at home. “I had so many computers in the house from fixing a bunch after the first one, and my mom told me I had to get them out of the house. I started selling the full setups for $25 each, and then my school gave me the grant which allowed me to remove that fee.”
With Hackley’s Hogg Grant offsetting the cost of parts and accessories, Sam’s been busy souping up computers that may have ended up in a landfill. He’s donated them to grandparents who want to connect with loved ones during quarantine and local groups like Ossining Padres Hispanos.
“When you see the breadth of the people in need, it’s rewarding to know you’re helping them,” Sam said. “We’ve donated to people like students, Covid contact tracers, college teachers, people looking for work.”
To expand and organize his efforts, Sam launched Reboot, which he is in the process of turning into a non-profit organization. On Reboot, people can queue up for a computer or let Sam know they have parts to donate. He takes computers in any condition, which he wipes before working on, as well as working monitors, keyboards, mice, and other parts.
While he only has his brother Joey helping him pick up and drop off machines and his mother keeping track of donations, Sam has plans for seeing his efforts expand: “I’d like to get the 501c3 designation and I’d love for companies who are upgrading their tech, especially their laptops, to consider donating to Reboot.”