The Independence Center recently made a donation to Blue Star Recyclers, a local nonprofit that employs and empowers individuals with disabilities. The decision to donate to Blue Star was reached by the board of directors at The Independence Center due in large part by the alignment of missions for both organizations.

“Meaningful jobs for people with disabilities at appropriate wages that provide a real service to the community and the environment is something we want to support,” Patricia Yeager, CEO of The Independence Center said.

Founded in 2009, Blue Star Recyclers is a 501c3 social enterprise based in Colorado Springs with a core mission of recycling electronics and other materials to create local jobs for people with autism and other disabilities. The organization employs 24 individuals (14 of which have disabilities) in Colorado Springs, and has established similar programs in 6 other communities in Colorado and Nebraska that currently employ an additional 30 people with disabilities.

“Our core mission has always been creating an opportunity for meaningful employment at minimum wage or above,” Bill Morris, CEO of Blue Star Recyclers said.  “The people with disabilities we employ have an innate talent for their work, and their work produces revenue for our organization that keeps our doors open, so the people who work here really have a real sense of contribution and value.”

While the funds will be allocated in different ways, Morris stated the main plan for the donation is establishing a much needed electronics testing program.  “We’ve identified that a number of the electronic materials that we receive have reuse potential,” Morris said. “We need a lithium ion battery tester, so we can tell if the battery can be reused. There is also testing equipment for computer memory and a hard drive eraser. If we get (the testing equipment) we can create at least one more job for a person with disabilities.”