By Samita Dutta
Every Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. about 40 Oak Ridge High School students congregate in a classroom during their lunch period. These students don’t meet to catch up on gossip; they come together to support Oak Ridge’s new Do Something Club.
The Do Something Club’s mission statement reads: “We believe that students anywhere can help improve the world; they can create change with any act no matter how small.”
Currently the club raising money to build a well in Africa; an endeavor they call the Water Project. The well costs $7,500 and will ensure that more than 500 people in Africa have access to clean water. Fundraising efforts included partnering with local businesses. Both Big Spoon yogurt and Chili’s donated to the effort. Additionally, members are raising money at Oak Ridge football games. Donations are appreciated.
“Everyone should have clean water,” said Helen Cao, an Oak Ridge junior who founded and leads the club. “I went to a leadership conference in eighth grade and I participated in an event where we had to walk a mile carrying water. That gave me some perspective of the problem, and it inspired me to do the water project.”
“I like idea of helping a community that lacks such a simple thing,” said Scooter Muse-Fisher, club vice president. “What I really want to see is continuing support for the organization and the cause.”
Helen said she started the Do Something Club to allow students to “take action on something they’re passionate about, which is something everyone should be able to do. The biggest goal is to encourage students to find something they’re passionate about and take action.”
“[Other clubs] are about earning hours but I wanted a club where people could just do what they’re passionate about, because you can still make an impact in a short time,” she explained. “It’s not about the hours spent; it’s about the impact made.”
Using this principle, club members are evaluated at the end of every project. Each member must provide details about what they did to support the cause.
The Do Something Club at Oak Ridge is a branch of the large Do Something organization. The Do Something organization’s goal is to “Create a massive (fun) movement of teens taking action to fix causes they care about.”
The organization at large has more than a million members and has given away more than $600,000 in scholarships in the past year. In the last year, more than 2.2 million people have participated in Do Something’s national campaigns.