What We Do
The BOWI Foundation's goal is to establish a network of kid-friendly computer workstations and laptops in children's hospitals across the United States, Canada and several international locations.
By providing the opportunity for sick and injured children to continue to learn, play and maintain personal connections while confined to hospital rooms, their chances of a quick recovery increase.
While many hospitals have tried installing computers, most are used for entertainment, like computer games. The BOWI Foundation equips the computers with modems, video conferencing hardware, and educational software that aid schoolroom participation. While the computers can still be used for fun, their expanded capabilities help hospitalized children with their schoolwork and keeping in touch with friends.
Children and their parents also use the Internet to learn more about their illness or injury, and find online support groups. Children can socialize both in the hospital's computer area with other patients and online with new friends across the country. In addition, doctors can show the children right on the computer what their operation is going to entail, or better explain an illness.
Over the years, BOWI and it's hospital partners have found that laptops are the preferred medium because they provide greater flexibility and allow us to bring the computer to the bedridden child in an isolated ward or to a patient that is sitting for long stretches of time during dialysis.
How it Works
The BOWI Foundation meets with hospital staff, technology experts and hospital administrators to determine which technology platform will best suit each hospital's unique needs. "We do not dictate the hardware to the hospital," says says Executive Director Gail Ruderman. "Compatibility is the most important issue for allowing easier installations so we can provide the best hardware for a hospital's existing infrastructure."
Accordingly, the BOWI Foundation donates laptops and workstations to each hospital as needed. Each laptop or workstation donated consists of a monitor, CPU, keyboard, modem, and video conferencing equipment in a protective housing that is transport friendly. The computers include educational software, Internet access and monitoring software to block inappropriate material on the Internet. Also donated is age appropriate software, printers and furniture to the designated children's hospital. Workstations are updated when needed.