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Today’s rapidly advancing technology has us thinking computers are expendable—to the point where we might not always see what a perfectly functional hand-me-down could mean to another person. “Like the retired woman in Norristown who used a computer to go back to school and get her degree,” says King of Prussia’s Robert Toporek.

TeamChildren founder Robert Toporek (Photo by Jeff Wojtaszek)Toporek’s nonprofit TeamChildren collects, refurbishes and distributes computers and laptops in economically challenged areas. Since 1996, he’s helped 30,000 people. Donations come from area companies like QVC, Sanofi-Aventis, IBM and Synthes.

TeamChildren’s latest mission is raising money for a staff to train teachers in using the donated technology to improve students’ math and reading skills. On a more personal level, Toporek attributes his own son’s accelerated literacy, in part, to computer use.

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“By the time he was 2, he could type on a computer and use command prompts. He was able to read instructions on computer games and teach himself whatever he wanted to learn,” says Toporek. “We presented him with the opportunity to learn, and we made it fun.”

To learn more, call (610) 666-1795 or visit

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