When 12-year-old Vaughn’s school asked students to get involved in a community initiative, his mum Barbara was hoping he would choose something that wasn’t too onerous on his time, that was easy for him to get involved in and that had an environmental aspect.
"I did cash for cans as a kid and when I suggested it, he loved the idea," Barbara tells Mamamia.
Vaughn chose fundraising through Return and Earn, the container deposit scheme in NSW. The funds he raised by recycling bottles and cans for 10 cents each would be donated to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.
"We got a dog from Sydney Dogs and Cats Home a few years ago," explains Barbara.
"He discovered that they don’t euthanise the animals, they only ever rehome them and that really stuck with him," she says. So, Vaughn gave himself a mission to help raise funds for the shelter.
He set up a collection bin out the front of his Connells Point home and put up some posters around the neighbourhood.
After Barbara posted on their community Facebook page, to share Vaughn’s cause, it really started to garner attention and momentum.
People from all over the neighbourhood and wider community started dropping off containers in their front yard. "Everyone was so keen to help, the yard started to resemble a garbage tip, but it was worth it," beams Barbara.
Vaughn set up a bin at their local Rugby League Club presentation day where everyone attending brought more containers along.