By ED WATERS JR.
When a Frederick surgical practice learned about the Buddy Project, the doctors and staff thought it would be a perfect opportunity to put some older computers to good use.
Drs. Steven J. Brand and Mark E. Artusio, with Foris Surgical Group, said the 12 computers were available as a result of the office’s upgrade to electronic medical records.
“Knowing how important technology is in our society and knowing how important it is to have real machines to practice with, they thought this donation was a win-win combination for all involved,” said Johanna Castle, office manager.
The surgical office also gives to charitable funds through Frederick Memorial Hospital, Castle said.
The Buddy Project is coordinated locally by Eric Zimmerman, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism-spectrum developmental disorder. Zimmerman and his assistants refurbish donated computers and give them to people with intellectual and developmental disorders.
A graduate of Frederick High School and the county’s Career and Technology Center, Zimmerman said his goal is to enable disabled people to improve their lives and have a better chance at getting a job and be more productive.
“I like the hands-on work,” Zimmerman said in an earlier interview. Zimmerman’s goal is to not only get a computer into the home of a disabled person, but also to provide upgrades when possible to those computers.
Zimmerman’s local program was inspired by Best Buddies International, a charitable organization that works to establish one-on-one friendships between people with and without intellectual disabilities.
“We have put out over 150 computers over the last few years. We would have done more if we had the funding,” Zimmerman said.
For details, go to www.the buddyproject.net.
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