The Chromebooks on loan from the Council Bluffs Community School District are helping Vodec connect with consumers isolated at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. (photo by Daryn Richardson)

It’s vital for Vodec to maintain connections with its consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, as isolation and the lack of a normal routine can lead to increased anxiety, depression and more. Thanks to the organization’s ongoing relationship with the Council Bluffs Community School District (CBCSD), 20 “loaner” Chromebooks are making those connections easier.

The school-owned laptops, distributed April 4, are allowing Vodec staff to virtually connect with Vodec consumers isolated at home during the pandemic.

“The Chromebooks have been a vital tool to help consumers access services and supports they need daily,” said Vodec Services Development Director Daryn Richardson. “Staff use the laptops to do wellness checks, provide coaching, facilitate group discussions with their friends and peers, and more.”

Virtual Field Trips
Students in Vodec’s Adult Transition Program (ATP) are using the Chromebooks to take weekly virtual field trips with the help of Jenny Salsbury, ATP Day Services Supervisor. They recently toured the Galapagos Islands and the Coney Island Aquarium and Amusement Park.

“During this COVID-19 crisis, our district was more than willing to help individuals living in our community make meaningful connections,” said John Stile, supervisor of technology and network systems at CBCSD. “Our partnership with Vodec is very meaningful, and CBCSD is pleased we were able to assist.”

The partnership Stile references dates back to the summer of 2018, when Vodec consumers began inspecting, cleaning and servicing the Chromebooks for CBCSD. Vodec Production Director Jeremy Dunkirk reached out to Stile and David Fringer to see if Vodec’s prevocational consumers in Council Bluffs could assist with the school’s laptop inventory.

“We met with Jeremy’s team, then built procedures for serving and cleaning the devices,” Stile said.

The project was deemed viable, and the work began in 2018.

More Than 10,000 Chromebooks Serviced to Date
Since that time, Vodec consumers have serviced well over 10,000 Chromebooks, including those used in the district’s elementary schools and those devices turned in by students in grades 8 and 12 at the end of the year.

“The Vodec work product is essential to CBCSD,” Stile said. “We can’t service these units with our in-house team in a timely manner. The Vodec team is well organized and does a tremendous job of ensuring quality and customer satisfaction. It also makes me proud to see some of our former students performing meaningful work at such a high level at Vodec. I can’t say enough ‘good’ about the Vodec team. We are very fortunate to have this relationship.”

For more information about Vodec’s business services, contact Dunkirk at 712.328.2638 or jdunkirk@vodec.org.