puzzle pieces 300OWENSBORO, Ky. (5/8/13) -  Anyone who has driven along Frederica St. in Owensboro has probably seen the Puzzle Pieces sign at the former Cliff Hagan Boys and Girls Club building. Puzzle Pieces, an activity day center facility serving individuals with intellectual disabilities, opened its doors in September of last year. Executive Director Amanda Owen says the agency serves nearly 60 individuals ages 6 and up, and that a majority of those served have autism. She said that as a non-profit, they appreciate any and all donations.

“Our immediate needs, that we’re constantly in need of, are like trash bags, swifter mops, and things like that. Anytime somebody drops off a thing of trash bags, I feel like I’ve won the lottery,” she said.

Out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, Puzzle Pieces got a call from David Fogle – also known as Computer Dave – who owns a local computer repair business. He offered to donate about a half dozen refurbished computers to Puzzle Pieces. Owen said she was elated.

“We still have some old school computers that don’t even have internet access, so we really are excited about updating what we do here,” she said.

She added that new research has shown that computers can help kids with autism communicate.

“They’re some studies and links to promoting communication among kids with autism,” Owen said. “They do that with friends. The computers kind of build that social connection, where they can help play games in combination with each other. So, it’s a way for them to socialize.”

Fogle said he got the idea to donate the computers from a news story about those studies.

“There was a news story just recently where a child with autism was able to use a computer to really tell a story,” he said. “Since they weren’t able to verbalize it, they were able to use a PC to really communicate with the world and tell their story and tell what it was like to live with autism.”

Computer Dave said that donating the computers is the right thing to do.

“When I heard of that story, it just seemed to be the right thing to do since I had these computers that I knew that I could refurbish and get into the hands of Puzzle Pieces, who would be able to utilize them in that way.”

Fogle added that it feels good to give back.

“We like to give back to the community as we can, as we’ve been really blessed to do well as a business. It’s nice to be able to give back to the community in that way,” he said.

Owen said she appreciates Fogle’s generosity. In addition, she is also amazed at the outpouring of good will Puzzle Pieces has received from the community.

“Little did I know that in servicing a need that the community would be an outpour of support. For example, partnering with Computer Dave, we might not be able to have a computer for a couple of years, to be able to afford the expenses behind that,” she said.

Computer Dave is currently located on Salem Dr. in Owensboro, but Fogle said he operated the business long before out of his home. He said he knew it was time to open a retail location when he outgrew his house.

“I worked out of my home for years,” he said. “It got to the point where I was sticking computers in the kitchen and living room. When I started putting computers underneath the kids’ beds, then that’s when I knew it was time to move out.”

Fogle said that the growth of Computer Dave PC Repair has continued since its opening at the current location in 2007. He expanded the business in 2010, and more than doubled the size of the shop.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Amanda Owen and Kevin Riecke

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