Reboot For Youth

By: Christopher Cao

Information Access , Techie

Education is the single greatest catalyst to alleviate poverty, and, without the same educational opportunities as more fortunate students, children across the globe face serious disadvantages. Computers are fundamental resources for running educational programs, performing research, and completing homework. 

I find it shocking that roughly half of all low-income students in the U.S. lack access to the web in their houses.

This means the impoverished are being denied equal access to knowledge and information that are part of education in the 21st century. This hardship is even more prounounced other countries around the world where more than five billion of the world's population does not have access to a personal computer.

Being a computer hardware enthusiast, I wanted to use my talents to benefit the lives of students worldwide in our increasingly connected society.

The initial inspiration for Reboot for Youth came from a third grader I was tutoring. He opened up to me about his family’s financial situation and told me his family couldn’t provide a computer for homework. After hearing his story, I had the idea of refurbishing one for him, and a movement was born.

Some high school friends and I who enjoy refurbishing and building computers decided to combine our love of technology with our passion for heloing others. Reboot For Youth was founded in early 2014. Since that time, we have impacted many kids throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area as well as Costa Rica, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

We target schools with a high free and reduced lunch rate and seek recommendations from the community and counselors who best know a family in need.  

Our main program, Project Reboot, leverages our team of high school volunteers from all over the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to provide computers to financially disadvantaged school students. Project Reboot works in a three step process:

  1. accept any type of hardware (computers, printers, etc.)
  2. refurbish and repair inventory, install new operating systems pre-loaded with educational programs, and
  3. donate our ready-to-go systems to an underprivileged student in a local community or to our global projects.

Below is a list of supporting documents and different ways people can help:

PRIORITY #1: Make a donation

If you have any spare change and would like to make a donation, we are a 501 (c)(3) organization, thus all donations are tax deductible under IRS regulations.

PRIORITY #2: Nominate A Family In Need

Do you know an underprivileged family in need of a computer?

PRIORITY #3: Donate Your Old / Unused Computer

At Reboot for Youth, system donations power the entire process.

PRIORITY #4: Join Our Team!

We need your help, apply now!


For each picture taken of a person holding our logo, local sponsors have agreed to donate $1-

  • Christopher Cao

    Founder / CEO

    I founded Reboot for Youth in March 2014 at the age of 14. The idea for the organization sparked when I was volunteering at a free tutoring program called GIVE which targets low-income families. There I met a young student who did not have a computer to complete homework. The lack of technology in this student’s home forced the constant usage of library computers, which does have limited access. Being a computer hardware enthusiast, I wanted to use my talents to benefit the lives of students worldwide in our increasingly connected society. As a result of my hard work and dedication, I was recently selected as one of three Project Managers at an IT firm in Georgetown, specializing in leadership and management.

  • Griffith Heller

    Co-Founder / COO

    I am Griffith Heller, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School, and the COO of Reboot for Youth. I have always had a passion for science and technology, especially computers, since a young age. My favorite pastime as a kid was dismantling old electronics just to see how they work, then making inventions of his own. I've been friends with Chris Cao, the founder of Reboot for Youth, since elementary school. My favorite part of being a member of this organization is that I am able to use my knowledge and passion for computers to give back to the community. In addition to refurbishing computers, I enjoy participating in the TJ track team, and fencing outside of school. I also build apps from the experience I have gained at Thomas Jefferson High School.

  • Committed to securing an equal academic platform for all students, Arun Bhattasali is an active member of Reboot for Youth with diverse experiences in social media marketing and computer science. He strives to expand the organization through public outreach programs in and out of his community, and believes that all youth should have fair opportunities and self-motivation to succeed through programs such as RFY. Arun is also part of the Core Team for GIVE Tutoring, a high school civic engagement program, and he believes in a strong sense of commitment to the community. In his free time, Arun enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, soccer and connecting with a diverse group of people.

  • Peter Zhao is a junior at TJHSST, and a member of Reboot for Youth. He focuses extensively on the hardware and software aspects of repairing computers. Aside from Reboot for Youth, Peter also tutors with GIVE every Saturday, and in the past has volunteered at his local library as well as his local donation center, ECHO. He hopes to bring technology to everyone, as well as teaching others how to become more tech-savvy, as he believes that anyone can benefit from knowing how to use today’s technology. Peter is an active member in his TSA chapter, as well as helping out with Project BEST. He is also a member of the Track and Field team and enjoys playing many other sports. Peter has also played the violin for 7 years, and has played in many orchestras, including volunteer orchestras and at his local church.


CNN Heroes

Dec. 8, 2015

So honored to have been included in the CNN Heroes!

Reboot Samara

April 1, 2015

  • WHERE: Samara, Costa Rica
  • PARTNER NGO: Keepod / Samara Pacific
  • IMPACT: 45 users
  • COST: $325

With Costa Rica as a relatively average nation as far as GDP and economics, certain areas definitely remain lacking technological resources for students to succeed. Samara, Costa Rica is a relatively large area for tourism, being known specifically for their getaway locations right on the beach. However, as a result of almost all funds going towards improving hotels and other aspects of the tourism industry, very little money is preserved for the development of resources in schools such as computers.

The Samara Pacific School provides a well-rounded, bilingual education with a heavy focus on arts and the environment on the beach in Samara, Costa Rica. Their mission is to shape students into world citizens who are responsible, contain strong academic and social skills, are curious about the world around them, and have a sense of morals who positively interact with the global community.  Read more about this project here:

Reboot Siem Reap

March 15, 2015

  • WHERE: Krasang Roleung Village, Siam Reap, Cambodia
  • PARTNER NGO: Keepod / The Learning Foundation
  • IMPACT: 200 users
  • COST: $6,100 

The"Krasang Roleung Primary School" is a local public school serving 350 students from 3 different villages in the area. The aim of this project was to provide access to information and computer lessons to 200 students and teachers from grade 3 to grade 6 in order to encourage more students to attend school. 

We raised all of the funds needed and directly managed the project to guarantee best practice implementation.  Read more about this project here:

Project Lai Khe

March 2, 2015

  • WHERE: Lai Khe, Vietnam
  • IMPACT: 25 users
  • COST: $200 

Once suffering in the hands of Imperial Chinese rule and under Japanese occupation, Lai Khe later endured the bloodbath of the Vietnam War. Located just an hour and a half from Saigon, this small town was one of the major bases of the Big Red One (First Infantry Division).  Since 2000, Vietnam's economic growth rate has been among the highest in the world, and, in 2011, it had the highest Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major economies. Its successful economic reforms resulted in its joining the World Trade Organization in 2007. 

Currently, there are no types of institutions for tackling education in the impoverished region, making it extremely difficult to gain access to books. With the new computers, students are now able to learn basic fundamentals each year of their life to have an edge at success in the future.

Read more about this project here:

In The News

Feb. 12, 2015

NBC News did a great piece on how we refurbish computers and bring them in to impoverished communities.

Watch the full interview here!

Northern Virginia Magazine did a piece on Reboot For Youth detailing how we got started.  Please read the full article here:

Recycle. Refurbish. Refresh. Renew. Revolutionize.

Feb. 2, 2015

RECYCLE: The first step is e-recycling electronic hardware. Individuals in the area volunteer to give their old computers or accessories to Rebbot For Youth, and we take care of the rest!

REFURBISH: The next step is to repair the hardware. Our team of high school volunteers diagnose and resolve any issues with the systems we receive.

REFRESH: We install a brand new OS to ship out to local or global youth.

REVOLUTIONIZE: A fully-loaded system is then donated to a student in need, revolutionizing the educational opportunities available. 


We earned some great coverage on our process both from The Falls Chiurch News Press (read here), the Connection Newspaper (read here) and the Thomas Jefferson Highschool student-run paper (read here).

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