MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – A Mount Vernon native has earned a scholarship for his work in the community with the Get the Filter Out campaign, cleaning up the local streets he walks each day.
In an effort to smoke out smoking locally, Roberto Amigon cleaned up more than 400,000 cigarette butts in the city through DoSomething.org’s Get the Filter Out (GFTO) campaign, which encourages young people to clean up their streets while stamping out smoking entirely.
The GTFO campaign is an attempt to rid communities of littered cigarette butts, which spread toxic chemicals into the environment. Amigon said that in an effort “to make the world a better place,” he got involved “because it was a creative approach to better the environment.”
“There are so many different ways that we can help clean the earth,” he added. “The GTFO campaign teaches us that we can combine our creativity to inform, promote and take initiative for us to become more eco-friendly.”
For his good work in the community through the GTFO campaign, Amigon earned a $10,000 scholarship at the Westchester Community College, where he is a student.
“The scholarship allows me to worry less about my academic expenses. It is any college student’s dream to be relieved of some financial burdens,” he said. “It also allows my peers to use me as a motivational aspiration in their life. Having a positive impact on my peers is critical, because we, as youth, have to help each other as we continue to grow and become future leaders.”
According to the GFTO mission statement, “only 8 percent of teens smoke, and with truth, we believe that this is the generation that can end smoking for good. (Our) campaign provides one creative way for teens to get involved in further reducing tobacco use by helping to remove it from the environment.”
Amigon said that his family and neighbors were his biggest supporters as he set out in an attempt to single-handedly “change the world.” He said that he hopes he can inspire those around him to help keep Mount Vernon a desirable destination.
“What I hope my peers and neighbors take away from my participation is a better self awareness of their impact on our community,” he said. “They can change bad habits like throwing away cigarette butts into the street, into good habits of properly disposing them.
“By changing a small action, we can create a bigger, positive reaction, which can change the world.”
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