Dec 10 21

Supporting the Community – Brenda’s Story

Tranelle Maner

Imagine having a condition that requires you to have support on a daily basis, but COVID prevents you from having that support? Brenda sustained a traumatic brain injury at the age of 23 when she was involved in a car accident. Now in her 50s, she is recovering from substance misuse and has been clean for eight years. With all the challenges she faces daily, Brenda is very thankful for the Chromebook she received from HTI. It has literally helped to save her life.

When the pandemic occurred Brenda was unable to attend her NA meetings in person and she didn’t always have the technology available to her to attend virtually. The computer has given her the ability to attend NA meetings daily and meet with her sponsor whenever she needed or wanted too. In these tough times Brenda having her resources is vital to prevent isolation and increase communication for her Wellness Recovery Plan. HTI provided Brenda with a computer. Brenda is very thankful and forever grateful!

This is how old laptops lead to new opportunities

Sep 29 21

Juniper Level: Refurbishing an Old School For New Opportunities


A century ago, two men with a shared dream of increasing educational opportunities for Black people came together. The results of their efforts are felt in and around Raleigh and throughout the nation. Their stories could not have involved more different origins. Still, they fused a common purpose in building Panther Branch, also called Juniper Level, and almost 20 other schools throughout the Raleigh area.

In his work Up From Slavery, renowned civil rights leader and educational pioneer Booker T. Washington described the first instance he heard of a school for Black people. He shared, “one day at the coal mine, I happened to overhear two miners talking about a great school for coloured people somewhere in Virginia.” As he strained to hear, Washington said he heard about “opportunities . . . provided by which poor, but worthy students” could work to pay for tuition, board, and supplies.”

“As they went on describing the school, it seemed to me to be the greatest place on earth, and not even Heaven presented more attractions to me at that time than the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia,” Washington recalled.

To build the school system he dreamed of, Washington partnered with Julius Rosenwald. Rosenwald was a Jewish entrepreneur and investor born during the most violent period of the Civil War in Springfield, Illinois. Raised by the owner of a small clothing store, Rosenwald developed what some called “a genius for retail.” His natural talent led him to invest in the innovative Sears and Roebuck company, becoming its president at 33.

Rosenwald’s instincts for philanthropy matched those of his entrepreneurial prowess. His generous nature coupled well with the idea that money donated should never be money wasted. Rosenwald once mused, “I can testify that it is nearly always easier to make $1,000,000 honestly than to dispose of it wisely.”

Rosenwald’s commitment to humanity stemmed from his devotion to his Reform Judaism faith. Uneasy with the great wealth that accompanied success and responsibility, he turned to his rabbi. Alongside teachings from his rabbi, Rosenwald studied Moses Maimonidies’ ideas on the eight degrees of charity. As a result, he became determined to share his wealth and wanted to do it in the most effective manner possible.

At the opening of the 20th century, education for many people of color meant more than pursuing career opportunities. For example, Jim Crow laws made participation in voting contingent on one’s ability to read and write. In addition, testing standards intentionally imposed disadvantages on people of color, requiring them to understand complicated text while white counterparts had to comprehend child-level literature.

Rosenwald approached Washington after reading his landmark autobiography. Coming from a historically oppressed community himself, Rosenwald reached out to Washington to work together to solve the mass undereducation of black youth in America.

Washington and Rosenwald resolved to help young black youths break down barriers through education. Together, they would build more than 5,300 “Rosenwald schools” throughout the rural South. Rosenwald believed in only making large donations when other partners had substantial “skin in the game.” An equal division of finances from himself, local government, and community combined to fund the schools.  

Rosenwald schools targeted middle school-aged children, providing vital education when obligations to household work started to demand their time. Washington and Rosenwald’s work provided an essential service in preparing young men and women to desire more for their lives than working manual labor jobs.

By the time Juniper Level opened in 1926, Rosenwald schools had sprouted across the nation. North Carolina boasted the most of any state with several built-in and around the Wake County area. 

As Shaw University alum Ella Perry recently told Walter Magazine, the community constructed the school. She explained, “I listened to my dad talk about how the men in the community built the school.” Timber for the building came from her uncle’s farm. Many pitched in to contribute to making the school a local centerpiece. Across the country, similar efforts made Rosenwald schools the pride of local communities almost everywhere they were found. 

The mission of the Rosenwald schools ended in 1956 when Chief Justice Earl Warren led the United States Supreme Court to strike down segregated schools. As children integrated across the country, school systems built for black students disintegrated as they joined their fellow students at established white schools. 

Many students like Ms. Perry kept fond memories of their time in schools like Juniper Level even as the nation made the right decision to strike down school segregation, one of the more odious aspects of Jim Crow laws.

Today, the building may no longer serve as an active educational facility, but it has lost none of the love and admiration from the community. Just as when built nearly a century ago, the local community has come together to raise money, donate supplies, and a lot of elbow grease to restore the building to its original splendor.

HTI is proud to support the efforts of Juniper Level Missionary Baptist Church as it leads the way in restoring this community’s crown jewel. Just as we refurbish old laptops for new uses, this building can help the church expand its mission to help young men and women achieve their goals. We proudly make a Google Chromebook donation to assist in these efforts.

Together we can make what was old and possibly forgotten a new pillar of hope and success. 

Aug 10 21

How Stress Creates Alcohol Addiction

Tranelle Maner

Alcohol abuse is a major problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol abuse is responsible for 88,000 deaths annually in the US alone. In addition to this toll, it costs an estimated $223.5 billion per year. While there are many reasons why people fall into alcohol abuse, there’s one major culprit that often gets overlooked: stress.

What Is Stress?

Stress can be defined as physical or emotional discomfort caused by the forces of nature. In most cases, it is the combination of physical discomfort and emotional distress that causes stress.

The brain tends to protect itself from any new stressful situations by flooding it with chemicals, called neurotransmitters, and making it harder for those neurotransmitters to be released, thus decreasing the effects of stress. The neurotransmitter dopamine, which helps make us feel good, is one of these chemicals. When we’re in a good mood, we release dopamine. When we’re depressed, we release less dopamine. But if too much stress is released, dopamine won’t be released as much, which can lead to feelings of depression and lower self-esteem

Stress comes from a variety of sources and is oftentimes a necessary part of life. However, chronic stress can take a toll on a person’s body and their emotional state, which often results in several physical and emotional problems.

Major sources of stress include money worries, unemployment, and relationship problems.

How Does Stress Harm the Body?

Here’s a simple explanation of how stress can harm your body and why it can be such a deadly threat to your health: the human body has a stress response that can be triggered in many different ways. In order to avoid danger, it activates the stress response. During the response, the body’s vital organs are stimulated and the immune system sends out an alarm to signal to the rest of the body that it is under threat. This alarm gets your adrenaline flowing and the heart races, and is accompanied by a rise in the levels of stress hormones. The levels of these hormones are usually controlled by a master hormone called Cortisol. A surge of the hormone, which can last anywhere from minutes to hours, triggers the brain’s dopamine reward system. Stress hormones like cortisol stimulate your cells to respond by increasing your blood sugar and energy levels, producing an immediate reward. But there’s a strong link between cortisol and depression. It also plays a major role in the development of alcoholism.

The Link Between Stress and Substance Addiction

Stressful times aren’t often talked about, but a study conducted by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University found that heavy alcohol use correlates with higher levels of stress. The results of this study support the idea that higher levels of stress can lead to an increased likelihood of addiction to substances like alcohol, although this may not be an effective mechanism to explain addiction from other substances such as nicotine or cocaine.


It’s estimated that a third of the general population in the US is suffering from stress on a daily basis and stress is far more damaging than you think.

Aug 3 21

Substance Abuse: What Is It and Who Does It Affect?

Tranelle Maner

As the world is beginning to return to regular activity amid a post pandemic world it’s important to highlight the effects lockdown and isolation has had on the public. More Americans died of drug overdoses than ever last year. Despite the presence and widespread use of the instant lifesaving Narcan treatment, deaths rose by a horrific 30 percent.

Job loss, eviction, and facility closings are all factors that lead to an increase in substance abuse and in some cases death. In the most recent statistics, nearly 20 million Americans age 12 and over needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem — but only 2.5 million received treatment at a specialized facility. If you’re someone who needs help with addiction, it’s worth knowing that there are many different routes to recovery. This ultimate guide will help you understand the most common types of addiction, how to get help, and what sort of support is available out there for you.

What Is A Substance Addiction?

To be “addicted” to drugs or alcohol means that you have an uncontrollable desire to use these substances, despite the negative impact that they’ve had on your life. While you can become addicted to almost anything, drug addiction and alcohol addiction are two of the most common types of substance abuse disorders.This means you’ve chosen one of these substances because you’ve developed a strong desire to use them. Examples of habits that can make someone addicted to drugs include recurring drug abuse or binge drinking.

What Makes Someone Addicted To Drugs Or Alcohol?

There are many theories and reasons as to why people develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Some people believe that there may be a genetic predisposition to addiction. This means that if someone in your family has an addiction, you may be more likely to develop an addiction. Other people believe that some people are more likely to use drugs or alcohol because of their environment.For instance, if someone in your family is constantly stressed because of their job, it’s likely that they’re going to find it difficult to deal with everyday life without drugs to ease the pressure. People who live in impoverished areas often grow up thinking of drugs as an easy way out of their day-to-day struggles.

How Do You Know If Someone Is An Addict?

Does their job involve them coming home after a long day at work, having a few drinks and nodding off without realizing it? Or is it when they come home from the dentist and stack 3–4 cocktails in front of them without a second thought. It seems that everyone has some sort of substance abuse problem, but it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what kind of addiction someone is having.
There are 5 stages of addiction: 1) pre-contemplation 2) contemplation 3) preparation 4) action 5) maintenance.

Many addicts don’t realise that they have a problem. They become unaware that they’re taking a drug too often or that their drug use has become a habit.

There are a couple of different types of substance abuse disorders — casual use, nonmedical use, and medical use. It can be very confusing at first to decipher exactly what kind of abuser someone is. They might start experimenting with a friend or binge-watch the latest TV series or movie. Gambling or excessive spending might also start to creep in. However, what seems like a harmless diversion can soon spiral out of control.


Drug or alcohol addiction is a progressive disease that can take over an individual’s life if left untreated. There are many signs that someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, but there is also help available for those who feel they need it.

Jul 7 21

A Guide to Cyberattacks: How to Stay Protected

Tranelle Maner

So you’ve learned about all the different types of scams and forms of trespassing hackers can do online to get your private information, and now you’re probably wondering the best ways to avoid them. While the idea of viruses and hacking can be deterring to doing anything on the internet, there are plenty of ways to protect your data and have a safe and fun internet experience.

Get a guess-proof password

The best way to avoid hackers or viruses or social engineering scams is to have a strong password and regularly change your passwords. Think of this as a two-for-one deal. Firstly, an impenetrable password makes it difficult for the bad guys to break in and gain access to your account. Secondly, you’re less likely to suffer from data breaches because your account is more difficult to break into. In order to do this, you need to be more familiar with the differences between security questions and answers. Basically, security questions ask you to provide a second, more complex question (example: What was the first car you owned?) that will give the hacker more clues to learn what kind of account you’re accessing.

Check privacy settings and never overshare

As well as staying away from sketchy sites and cutting out sketchy apps, changing your privacy settings can be one of the most important things you can do to keep your accounts safe. This is especially important if you’re part of a family, or part of a social media community. 

Be cautious when browsing the internet

Although it may not seem like a super technical thing to do, the first thing you can do to protect yourself online is to be cautious when visiting new websites and software. Just because you’re on your home computer and have more knowledge of the operating system, doesn’t mean you’re invincible to a hack. You can still fall victim to some kind of hacking if you’re not careful. Take care of your personal information 


Although no person has the ability to make their accounts completely impenetrable to any attack, it is possible to make it so difficult that hackers quit and avoid your information. By following these tips you’ll keep your information safe and enjoy your time on the internet.

Jul 6 21

A Guide to Cyberattacks: What Are They?

Tranelle Maner

In the past few years, cyberattacks have become increasingly common. From the emergence of malware to the creation of botnets, cyberattacks are considered some of the biggest threats facing both individual consumers and businesses worldwide, here’s our guide to cyberattacks.

What is a Cyberattack?

A cyberattack is an invasion of computer systems. Cyberattacks are usually conducted by a third party to gain access to information or to cause damage. Cybercriminals target social media networks to spread misinformation or propaganda, stealing information or extorting money from consumers. Many consumers aren’t taking cybercrime threats seriously and some even fall victim to fake news and scams, especially with elections around the corner.

Types of Cyberattacks

Organizations have always been at risk for cyberattacks. Nowadays, these threats are much more sophisticated. This is evident from the rise of malware, which cybercriminals use for malicious purposes, to hacktivists and groups like the “Anonymous”, a group who use the internet for an array of crimes and non-violent protests. Cyber attacks can come from any source, from hacking, social engineering, phishing and malware that can be downloaded onto your device.


Phishing is one of the most common forms of a cyberattack, and is considered to be one of the most effective attacks. This type of attack works by tricking people into revealing personal information, or compromising systems that you don’t need to be compromised for, such as email.

Sliding doors

This attack is highly sophisticated and requires close proximity to the target. The malware can determine how far along you are in your hard drive and corrupt files.

How To Protect Yourself From A Cyberattack

Cybersecurity incident response is the protection of your business from an attack. The answer to protecting yourself and/or your business is having the right tools in place. Once you establish proper cybersecurity protocols you limit your risk for attacks.


As technology advances, security risks are rising leading to increased focus on protection against cyberattacks. There are a number of measures one can take to ensure their systems are secure. Remember to stay updated and vigilant when working online and you can keep your information safe.

Jun 19 21

HTI Celebrates Juneteenth

Tranelle Maner

This year, HTI proudly celebrates Juneteenth. While the holiday has recently garnered a lot of attention, the celebration dates back to 1865. On June 19, Major General Gordon Granger traveled to Galveston, Texas, ordering the last remaining slaves to be freed.

We celebrate this holiday to recognize the sacrifices made, plus the obstacles endured and overcome by so many Black people.

Additionally, HTI’s mission emphasizes liberating people from environments of struggle to better take advantage of opportunities to grow and thrive. Our efforts fuel the aspirations of people through the support of organizations that support them. We honor the ideal of Juneteenth by working to build more resilient and prosperous communities.

Please join us as we celebrate Juneteenth through the perspectives of a few sharing their impressions of this important legacy. Finally, we wish to express our appreciation to the North Carolina congressional delegation and everyone who supported making Juneteenth an official national holiday!

Take a look at our social media and YouTube to view the collaborative efforts of individuals who believe in the importance of this holiday and both illuminating the need to continually recognize the need for change and equality within minority communities.

May 19 21

Mental Health Awareness: The Homeless Community

Tranelle Maner

This month, as we continue to bring attention to those who have mental illness, it is vital to highlight the struggles that can occur for those suffering in silence without healthcare. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness; in comparison, only 6% of Americans are severely mentally ill. Mental illness is one of the third largest causes of homelessness for single adults.

Suffering from mental illness disrupts people’s ability to carry out essential daily tasks that allow them to succeed in society. Everyday tasks like going to grocery stores, remembering to pay bills, continuing steady jobs, and relationships are things that people who have mental illness can struggle with that then cause them to become homeless later. Poor mental health can also affect physical health. Both before and after homelessness, people who suffer from mental health issues can find themselves also suffering from physically debilitating injuries/illnesses that prevent them from re-entering society. When combined with inadequate hygiene due to homelessness, poor mental health issues can also lead to poor hygiene problems or respiratory infections.

It is crucial when trying to support the homeless community to reach out to those looking to provide rehabilitative services because their struggle goes far beyond because their struggle can go far beyond a plate of food. At HTI, we’ve helped multiple groups that specialize in homeless endeavors. HTI has specifically worked with the Raleigh Rescue Mission, Oak City Cares, and Union Mission to help people with issues related to homelessness in the North Carolina Community. If you would like to do your part to help people in your community or North Carolina dealing with homelessness, as well as mental illness, please follow the resources below.

May 3 21

Mental Health Awareness: Helping Those Who Help Our Country

Tranelle Maner

People worldwide celebrate the sacrifice of veterans who put their lives on the line to defend the country. However, in the past and through the future, they have been ignored for their mental sacrifice and complex mental and behavioral challenges. Many active duty and previously active veterans have reported dealing with anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse, among other challenges.

The American Psychological Association reports, suicide and suicidal ideation or thoughts of suicide have become an increasing concern for veterans, service members, and their families.

According to a 2014 report by the Department of Defense, there were 1,080 suicide attempts (245 suicides) among active-duty service members for all armed services in 2013. Similarly, a recent study of 52,780 active-duty members of the U.S. Air Force found that 3 percent of male participants and 5.2 percent of female participants reported suicidal ideation in the previous year. Of the participants that reported suicidal ideation, 8.7 percent also reported a recent suicide attempt. 

Veterans from rural communities are at a particular disadvantage as they face challenges such as limited options for assessment and treatment and providers’ lack of awareness of military culture.

For veterans in NorthCarolina, help can be found at the Veterans Life Center. 

The Veterans Life Center is designed to help at-risk 21st Century veterans and prevent them from falling into crisis – chronic homelessness, incarceration, suicide, or premature death. Its mission is to improve the lives of North Carolina veterans by providing temporary housing and services to achieve self-reliance in two years or less.

HTI donated to the Veterans Life Center in 2020, hoping that these veterans will have an easier time finding jobs and other opportunities for housing and easier readjustment by providing laptops to the center. 

To find more resources for veterans in your area, visit to view the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Resources by state and zip code. 

May 3 21

Special Thanks to Our Earth Day Partners


To celebrate the beauty of the earth and preservation of resources, this Earth Day for two weeks in April HTI encouraged people to donate their unused, unwanted, or just plain old laptops to our facilities for us to refurbish and convert into Google Chromebooks to donate to those without proper access to technology 

HTI would like to extend a huge thank you to all participants who allowed us to place donation bins at their establishment. The inaugural laptop drive was a huge success as we collected over 50 laptops. Aside from our own office, organizations in Henderson and Raleigh came together to support our mission in being a better option to dispose of technology and obtaining resources to donate to those who don’t have proper access. 

A huge thank you to Perry Library, Restoring Bodies and Minds, Freedom Life Church, Veterans Life Center, Southwest Raleigh Learning Center, StepUp Ministry, Mordecai Beverage Company and  Church Street Park for your support. As well as the Vance County Chamber of Commerce, Freedom House, and Christian Faith Center for promoting our efforts. 

View our recap video on our YouTube channel.