i used to think that computers were almost magical. What makes them work is beyond me and out of my control. I was at the mercy of faceless huge companies. I have learned how to overcome the 'untouchable' nature of computers that kept me powerless. I take apart old computers and recycle the pieces.
I have helped with information booths- setting up, talking with the public, and shutting down. I loved being able to answer peoples questions and get feedback from them. I loved seeing people get excited about what they could do with their old e-waste! They people I worked with were always friendly and always seemed to want to help me with questions that I could not answer, or find out who knew the answer. I have worked in the warehouse tearing down computers for recycling and re-using parts. The feeling of personal accomplishment was tremendous! I got better very quickly. The combination of professionalism and friendlyness was wonderful. Any time I had a question, I felt that no matter how busy they were, there was time for me.
I began as a volunteer at NextStep Recycling to gain some recent work experience , and to brush up on some job skills that I haven't used in a while. While volunteering I learned that there is so much more to this company than I realized! Not only have I been educated on e-waste and ways to keep our earth healthier but I have been brought into a community of people who really care about what NextStep does and are proud to be a part of it. I am now an employee at NextStep and really have gained a "working family" as well as a job! NextStep gave me an opportunity to show them what I can do, and even prove to myself what I can do as well. Since starting as a volunteer I have been educated in e-waste, recycling, reuse options, and what other services NextStep provides to our community; I have completed enough volunteer hours to get a working knowledge of the dismantling and recycling process, and earn myself a computer of my own (built by a NextStep "techy"; I have been given the opportunity for a chance at full time employment with a growing company; and, last but not least, I have been given training and experience that will help me throughout the rest of my life in the "job world". NextStep has given me a chance to continue forward in my life, I hope that others get the chance to check this nonprofit out and see what NextStep can do for them as well!
I started years ago in a business/client relationship with NextStep. In a very short time I fell in love with their work, their mission, their amazing and dedicated staff and volunteers and have since risen to a position on the Board of Directors. I have been in and around many non-profits over the years. NextStep; it's people, passion and triple-win results stand head-and-shoulders above all others. The triple win: keep toxins out of the waste-stream/environment, employee and train challenged populations to recycle, refurbish and process materials and finally gift computers to low-income individuals and schools to the betterment of our community, region and mankind!!! Mike Grudzien, 1.28.12
I have been affiliated with NextStep since 1999. During that time I have watched hundreds of community members change their lives as a result of being part of this amazing organization. David (names changed, of course), a wonderful man with fairly significant disabilities, who gained confidence and experience that allowed him to find full time employment. Rick, who travels through life in a motorized wheelchair due to severe CP, who worked at NextStep countless hours to procure computers for himself and his family members. Angie, who came here on TANFF, no confidence whatsoever--and now works as a computer technician. I could go on and on. NextStep is a community of caring and committed folks who go the extra mile for each other.
I have volunteered for NextStep since the very beginnings, in 1999. What a place! Amazing. Everyone who comes for a tour is completely blown away. Wonderful staff, committed volunteers, incomparable results. NextStep keeps Lane County's ewaste out of the waste streams all the while giving people jobs, providing job and social skills training, and a "home" for some of Lane County's most marginalized members. Absolutely incredible.
NextStep is a non-profit that trains, educates, and employs folks from our community. NextStep gifts refurbished electronics to those who can't afford to purchase them (locally, nationally, internationally) and also offers items at low cost through their thrift stores. As a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher, NextStep uses only licensed software on computers and follows high ecological standards for recycling and disposal of materials.
NextStep Recycling gave me the opportunity to get out there and make a difference. To help others struggling with life's decisions and problems. I get to talk about this wonderful company and show volunteers that they too can make a difference and learn along the way. I am still in a learning process and NextStep has given me the confidence to succeed in my goals.
I volunteered long-distance from Southern California starting in 2003. I did eBay sales for Nextstep of old Macintosh items. I really liked the work, and Lorraine and Mike Day were fun and engaging people. My love of old computers, particularly Macintosh computers, pulled me like a magnet to Oregon in 2005 where I volunteered for many months refurbishing PCs and Macs for the cause. I loved the place, the work and the friendships I made while there. There is nowhere to be found another place like Nextstep. My memories of my time volunteering are pleasant ones. Although the work was hard and challenging, I never met any other vocation that made me feel as happy as when in the build area refurbishing computers. I lived my dream and loved my work. The days went by like hours, hours passed like moments. Thanks to Lorraine, I got to do what I'd always loved. I'm grateful there's a Nextstep Recycling.
As a person who worked for and with NextStep since 2004, I can say that Lorraine Kerwood (the founder and Director) has worked tirelessly to keep as much e-waste as possible out of landfills and into the proper channels. NextStep is one of a very few operations who do the work that most would not choose to do. It can be dirty, grimy work but it needs doing. So, I will do what I can to keep Nextstep and it's mission thriving and expanding.
NextStep Recycling has been a wonderful resource for our family to safely donate electonics and household items. On numerous occasions we have donated old computers and other items that were previously collecting dust and taking up valuable space at our house. Each time we have donated the process has been very easy and their staff was both friendly and knowledgeable. Additionally, it is well known that NextStep gives back to our community in various ways. I am so pleased that they are an important part of our community.
I work with youth that reside in treatment foster care. The youth that we serve come from the juvenile justice system. They are often deficient in social and employment skills. NextStep has been an incredible tool for us over the last two years. The workplace is dynamic, with an abundance of interesting opportunities for the youth we serve. We have had kids build computers, take apart computers, work in the store, paint, salvage materials, etc. We had one youth start as a volunteer, he illustrated that he was a dedicated worker and they hired him on. Many times I have come into the store or the warehoue to find my kids handling real responsibility, making them feel proud and accomplished. The managers there are patient and work hard with the youth to help them be successful. They also do a great job staying in touch with me about how my kids are doing. They are open to giving kids another chance and often another chance after that. I have had many meetings there to discuss a youths strengths and how best NextStep can help them attain there goals. NextStep is an awesome, incredible resource that has improved the lives of many kids that have been in our program.