Sam LaRocca Emma Craven Moragn GrantRed Bank Regional students Samantha LaRocca, Emma Craven and Morgan Grant display some of the more than 650 cigarette butts they collected around town for the “Get the Filter Out” initiative, one of a number of dosomething.org campaigns aimed at making a difference in their communities.  

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School 

According to Red Bank Regional High School senior Emma Craven, “My Generation has a bad rap for being lazy and not so motivated or engaged to change things…this website (dosomething.org) is trying to encourage people our age to get out there and help.”

As the Red Bank resident explains, the website “lists all types of campaigns you can do, depending on any cause you might be interested in and the blueprint to do it.” Since the summer, Emma and her friends have made maximum use of this unique platform for volunteering — collecting over 600 pieces of clothing for the poor; sending 100 pounds of candy to our troops overseas; donating funds from a retro-board game party to a family shelter. They also collected over 650 cigarette butts — in this case, to keep the non-biodegradable materials from choking local landfills.

All of the above activities were based on ideas found on the dosomething.org website. The campaigns can be as incredibly simple as using reusable water bottles versus plastic ones, and collecting aluminum cans — or as involved as teaching a senior citizen how to use a computer.

Samantha LaRocca Emma CravenRBR students Samantha LaRocca and Emma Craven re-enact a flying-car scene from a HARRY POTTER movie, in an award-winning picture (photographed and enhanced by fellow student Morgan Grant) designed to dissuade teens from texting and other distractions while driving. 

Emma, who aspires to working in non-profit management, first became acquainted with the website when a speaker with an anti-bullying message was invited to RBR, and mentioned the website as positive activity for teenagers wanting to make a difference. Not only did Emma conduct her own campaigns from the site, she was also responsible for designing them, as one of only three highs school teenagers hired by dosomething.org as a summer intern. She worked with about 10 college interns in their campaigns department.

“We would talk about events in the news like when a natural disaster hits a town,” she comments, “and figure out how that might lead to a campaign for teenagers to help the people affected.”

One of Emma’s most rewarding campaigns involved “bridging the generation gap” through an activity called “Past Picture Perfect,” whereby teens find an old picture of a beloved relative and try to recreate themselves according to the person in the photo. Emma found a picture of her grandfather blowing a bugle in the German Bugle Core in Europe, circa 1940. She dressed up in similar attire and recreated the bugle blowing event, which was photographed for a heartwarming and most appreciated gift to her grandmother,

She and fellow RBR students Morgan Grant and Samantha LaRocca (both of Shrewsbury) even won an on-line contest called “Thumb Wars,” which sought to dissuade distracting driving. Sporting thick socks on their thumbs to prevent texting, the teenagers re-enacted a famous “flying car” scene from one of the Harry Potter films.

As an additional reward, the girls were invited to the televised HALO (Helping and Leading Others) awards in late November. There, teens from around the nation were honored for performing the most amazing dosomething.org campaigns.

“It was an interactive awards show, where the audience was included in the process in keeping with the theme of the website,” recalls Morgan of that memorable evening. “We were asked to all bring a new toy with us, and during the show we wrapped them and created cards for children in an orphanage.”

Since then, the ladies have continued to do something from ideas on the website and in their communities, and Emma Craven has been invited back to work for the dosomething.org website for a second internship this spring. Take it here to learn more about the dosomething.org campaigns in your community.