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Woman With Autism Heads Computer Recycler

A Eugene, Oregon woman with autism has just been named a hero in the annual Volvo for Life Awards, and will be getting a check for $100,000.

Lorraine Kerwood didn't let autism stop her as she channeled her passion for fixing computers into the non-profit operation, NextStep Recycling.

Hattie Kauffman profiled her on The Early Show Friday.
To see Kauffman's report,

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According to the group's Web site, "NextStep Recycling is a non-profit computer refurbishing and recycling organization. We are dedicated to providing refurbished computer equipment to schools, non-profit organizations, and economically and/or physically disadvantaged individuals. In addition, we serve the community and the environment by recycling obsolete/nonrepairable donated electronic equipment. We are able to provide computers to the public by refurbishing used computer equipment for which businesses, corporations, and individual donors no longer have a use."

The site has complete details on getting machines to and from NextStep.

Its most-needed items include Pentium 3 or 4 computers, Macs that are G4 or above, cell phones, iPods, cords, cables and chargers.

NextStep accepts single items or an entire pallet of recyclables.

Kerwood says computers and other electronic items may last much longer than you think. Sometimes, all that's needed is a RAM upgrade or a bigger hard drive, and it's good to go.

But, it's important to be timely with your donations: The longer your old electronics sit in your garage, the more difficult they are to refurbish.

All computers refurbished by NextStep leave as complete systems with a complete software package

NextStep says it goes above and beyond to protect your personal information: All systems are thoroughly checked to make sure personal data is erased or eliminated.

A problem today is so that many people are concerned with identity theft, they're more interested in having their computers going straight to a shredder than recycled. But Kerwood NextStep is so careful, ID theft is a non-issue there.

NextStep is also a source for some hard-to-find vintage and classic Macs and parts, as well as vintage PCs and parts. Feel free to e-mail its store directly for those unique items.

NextStep also accepts financial donations.

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