The SDM Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Private Operating Foundation. We focus on teaching how to use technology, such as computers and the Internet. We help people use email, the web, digital photography, spreadsheets, video chatting, and all of the other ways that people interact, learn, and participate in their community, using phones, tablets, and computers. We also help small businesses and nonprofits develop and maintain their websites, social media, and other technology.
We do all of this by offering FREE individual and small group lessons. Our staff is well trained, extremely patient, and they work at your pace. Any topic, any time: appointments available in person or remotely.
What we teach
At SDM we help people learn to use their phones, tablets and computers, and troubleshoot issues with their devices and apps. We help clients build their basic computing skills, understand and use email and the cloud, fill out forms online, learn to search effectively, set up devices safely, and build and maintain websites, to name just a few of our topics. We do not do hardware repairs.
We try very hard to teach you how to do something, instead of doing it for you. Our philosophy is that you are responsible for your device, your content and the choices you make about how to use it. We are not job hunting specialists, web developers, graphic designers, or book editors. We will teach you what we know and what we have learned through our experience, but the decisions are all yours.
SDM in the News
Fabulous Females: Kristin Thorp – Fabulous Females hosted by Louise Fennell features interviews with Women in your neighborhood and beyond who are doing interesting, informative and often fun activities every day. June 2022
Conversations with Kate Podcast – MA State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian April 2022
Meet Our Team
Josh DickSDM Associate
Josh is a Melrose resident who has studied digital media and design at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and received a Masters in Computer Science at Northeastern University. He has a passion for technology and teaching people how it can make their day to day lives easier. Josh has a strong interest in developing apps and games and is always looking for new technology to learn. Josh enjoys making complex concepts simple to understand and technology accessible for people at any skill level.
Kristin ThorpExecutive Director
Kristin moved to the Boston area from Minneapolis in 1984. Over the next three decades, her work with Stuart McIntosh focused on the ever-expanding world of online information, and how to make it more accessible to users. She and her husband raised their three children in Melrose, where they participated in schools, clubs and organizations. Kristin served for 11 years as an elected member of the Melrose School Committee. The SDM Foundation is her vision of the embodiment of Stuart’s bequest.
Sara MurraySDM Associate
Sara moved to Melrose from Scotland in 2012. She has a background in engineering design and project management. Moving to the US gave her a chance to explore more creative avenues and she now writes, manages several websites, takes far too many photos and spends a lot of time on Instagram. She loves sharing her technical knowledge and helping others get the most out of their devices and apps. She is a mum to three, which keeps her more than busy when not working.
Thatcher AckermanSDM Associate
Thatcher has been a resident of Melrose for most of his life and has grown up in tandem with technological advancements. Most of his educational background can be credited to Melrose Public Schools however he spent some time at Boston College High School, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and North Shore Community College. His thirst for knowledge and interest in computers thrived outside of the classroom, providing years of experience with both software and hardware. He is a self-proclaimed nerd who plays lots of video/computer games and enjoys teaching others as well as continuing to learn.
Anthony DantonaSDM Associate
Anthony was a resident of Melrose for most of his life. He went to Melrose High School and spent some time at UMass Amherst. He is an avid music lover, video editor, and gamer who has been interested in building and using computers from an early age. He enjoys keeping up with the latest hardware technology, learning and using new software.
Elaina RivaisSDM Associate
Elaina grew up in Western Massachusetts and studied Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She then worked as a software engineer and software product manager for almost a decade. She decided to pivot her career towards her passion for sustainability and started her local business Lend and Mend to make it easier to reuse and repair the things we already have. Elaina has been a member of Zero Waste Melrose since she moved to Melrose in 2019, and a mom since 2021. She is excited to be a part-time part of the SDM team.
Thomas GalliganiSDM Associate
Thomas, a long-time Melrose resident, attended Bunker Hill Community College and Salem State University. He is a self-taught coder who furthered his skills at General Assembly, where he obtained certifications in Python Web Development and Data Science. With a lifelong passion for technology, Thomas is dedicated to making it accessible to his community. His interests include game design, web development, cybersecurity, and local history.
Finn SedanSDM Associate
Finn is a Malden resident and has lived there his whole life. He is a graduate of Malden High School and is currently attending Berkeley School of Music. Learning about Science and technology is one of his favorite things to do in his free time.
Past Team Members
Janet NevinFormer Staff Member
Janet was one of our original employees at SDM and helped get us off the ground. She continues to be a supporter and champion of SDM and our work, although she is no longer working with us.
Beth LucienFormer Staff Member
Beth was instrumental in the development of SDM and how the shop was run. She started the newsletter and our lessons for students. Beth passed away in February 2019. She was a wonderful, happy, smart, hardworking addition to our staff. Her patient style was appreciated by so many of our clients. Beth continued learning every day, which made her a great role model, and she took on new challenges with incredible energy.
Beth was only with us for two years, but she will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Aaron SansoneSDM Associate
Aaron’s family came to Melrose in 1972 and still lives here. Raised in Melrose, he studied Information Systems Security at ITT Technical Institute. Aaron has filled multiple IT support roles in the past, including working as an IT Specialist for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and most recently as a Data Storage Engineer for Hitachi Data Systems. Aaron is passionate about technology, learning new things, and sharing his knowledge. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family.
Collin GrayFormer Staff Member
Collin was at SDM on and off through high school and into college, before he finally was not able to return here in the summers. Collin is patient, energetic and very knowledgable, and left a large hole that is difficult to fill!
Patrick BarosyFormer Staff Member
An educator and technologist, and self-taught web developer. Photographer. Videographer. Technologist. Educator. His passion is navigating the intersection of education and technology. Patrick was a great addition to SDM and we were sorry to see him move on.
Matteo GiovanardiSDM Associate
Matteo is a student at Melrose High School as well as a Melrose resident. He was at SDM the summers of 2022 and 2023 and we are hoping he will return in the future.
Peter StorySDM Associate
Peter has been a life-long resident of Melrose a graduate of Melrose High School and is currently attending WPI in computer engineering. Peter was at SDM the summers of 2022 and 2023, and we are hopeful he be able to return next summer.
Brigid McCarronSDM Associate
Brigid McCarron is a rising Sophomore at Dartmouth College studying Computer Science. She is a lifelong Melrose resident and Melrose High School graduate. While at Melrose High she was captain of the Robotics team and involved in STEM education. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors walking or biking, and being with her friends and family. She is excited to help make technology more accessible for everyone in the greater Melrose community!
Our Benefactor – Stuart D. McIntosh
SDM Foundation was created by Stuart D McIntosh in 2015 by a bequest upon his death at the age of 93. Because of this, we are fortunate to be able to provide professional help to people without any cost to them.
Mr. McIntosh was born in 1921 and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. He attended the University of Glasgow and received degrees in Chemistry and Library Science.
Stuart wanted to be able to help people use technology to make their lives richer. He realized that the advantages of using technology were enormous and that it was very difficult for people not already in the know to gain access. Even the specialized technical language is a barrier.
From his early professional days, Stuart believed that people should be in charge of their own data. He hoped that assistance focused on what they wanted to do, rather than what the computer was able to do, would benefit everyone. Here at SDM we try to give effect to Stuart’s ideas.
Learn more about Stuart:
SDM blog post – May 2021
ArchiveSpace at MIT (A list of Stuart’s documents in the archive)