Digital Access

May 2021 View more

By Matt Le Cren

Megan Keefer is eager to make a difference. The 2017 Neuqua Valley alum graduated a year early from the University of Illinois with a degree in social work last summer.

But with the job market decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, Keefer spent several months babysitting and planning her upcoming wedding to fiancé Alvin Fernandez. Then in January, she was hired as development and events coordinator for the Chicago and Northern Illinois chapter of Comp-U-Dopt (, a nonprofit that provides technology access and education to underserved youth.

The Houston-based organization, which was founded in 2007, expanded to 13 cities in 2020 and provides free computers and two years of tech support to households that do not own a computer. Keefer works in its Downers Grove office but is involved with distribution events in the Chicago metro area, such as the Something Good in Englewood Resource Fair in February.

“Serving Chicago has been something that I had a desire to do,” Keefer said. “Comp-U-Dopt seemed to align with a lot of the things I was passionate about doing, so I’m doing fundraising and mission trips, which I have a lot of experience with.”

Indeed, Keefer has been going on mission trips to Haiti with her older sister, Courtney, and parents, John and Laura, for over a decade. She and Courtney were instrumental in bringing their adopted brother James, 13, home to Naperville from Haiti.

Keefer, 21, played basketball for coach Mike Williams at Neuqua Valley, who remembers her drive and compassion.

“You can’t find a kid who is more humble and modest and giving than Megan,” Williams said. “She’s a great competitor, not just on court, but in life as well. She’s looking to change the world.”

To that end, Keefer feels she has found an ideal partner in Comp-U-Dopt, which by refurbishing and donating computers has kept about 330 tons of e-waste out of landfills.

“When the pandemic hit and everything went virtual, it really showed how the digital divide is very prevalent in our nation,” Keefer said. “So Comp-U-Dopt decided to take this program model—distributing computers and technology education—and expand it across the nation.”

Working for Comp-U-Dopt has allowed Keefer to expand her horizons.
“They really want to invest in not just the people they serve, but the people that are working for them,” Keefer said. “So as a young person graduating into a really tough corporate world where there is a lot of competition and drive, I felt that this is a company that is going to really invest in me just as much as they are going to utilize my gifts.”

Kaia Dutler, who is Comp-U-Dopt’s executive director of the Chicago and Northern Illinois region, said Keefer is a perfect fit.

“Megan has done a phenomenal job and has been a great asset to our team already,” Dutler said. “She knows how to make things happen and isn’t afraid to jump right in and try new things.”

Photos by Elisabeth Neely