Ave Maria

Collier County Sheriff’s Office Recognizes local students with the “Do the Right Thing Award”

The “Do the Right Thing Award” is a national program that Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) is proud to be a part of since 1998. The purpose is to recognize young kids who simply do the right thing. Cpl. Grundeman, with CCSO, oversees the committee who is responsible for this program at the sheriff’s office. “We want kids to be recognized because they might not get the proper recognition they deserve. If we at CCSO can do that for them, then I am all for it,” explained Cpl. Grundeman.

A group of students, Collier County deputies standing in front of truck with award“Why not give someone kindness because it can spread so far,” commented Bryana Hamilton, an Ave Maria resident. She shared her story about her fundraiser for people affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

When Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, Bryana wanted to do something to help. “I just thought, if that was me I would want someone to do something to help me and my family. Why wouldn’t I want to do that for someone else?” She exclaimed.

At 13 years old, Bryana was in the end of her seventh-grade year at Corkscrew Middle School. In order to fundraise for this cause, she needed approval from the principal and school board. She put together a PowerPoint and presented it to her Collier County Public School principal. Bryana said “my principal was so supportive, she was very receptive and very excited!”

Bryana’s love to help others stemmed from her father’s travels around the world. She said that he would always show her pictures of how indigenous people lived in the area. “When I see someone in need it hurts me that people don’t pay attention even when they are asking for help.” This fundraiser was one way she could help those in need, even from afar.

Four young teenagers standing and smilingShe spoke to a few of her friends at school, Kadlyn, Omar and Zoey, about her fundraising idea and they were quick to support her and help. Bryana said her friends were there from the start and helped keep her calm and keep going.

The entire process from the planning stage to ending stage was three months. Bryana said she and her friends sold candy before and after school to raise money for their cause. They would deliver “candy grams” to students as a part of this fundraiser too.

After the fundraiser was complete, they put the collected money in an envelope, the principal and staff sent it to a corporation in Naples that sent it straight to Bahamas. The students received a letter that the fundraising money made it safely, and that the community was so thankful for the donation. “I am so happy I was able to help and I hope someone else can go out and be inspired by what we did. Kindness goes a long way,” Bryana said.

What these students did with the fundraiser for the hurricane victims was phenomenal,” said Cpl. Grundeman. “It was completely out of the blue,” Bryana shared regarding the award they won. She received a phone call by Collier County Sherriff’s Office saying that she and her friends won the “Do the Right Thing Award.”

Large group standing in front of truck smilingAn awards ceremony was held in North Park in Ave Maria, Florida for Bryana, Kadlyn, Omar and Zoey who all made this fundraiser possible. “Lots of deputies came out and we all received medals, trophies and awards and it was so sweet,” Bryana recalled from that day. “I just found it kind of funny and strange how we got so much attention for doing something we didn’t think twice about doing” she went on to explain.

“It was so incredibly kind of the sheriff’s office and it made me realize that even the small things you do get noticed.” Bryana hopes that all the hard work and perseverance they put in might help someone else become inspired to do the same thing. She also hopes her story will help others spread kindness.  “Why not give someone kindness because it can spread so far!”

Since then, Bryana is working on another fundraiser donating to young children’s hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s just all about spreading kindness to everyone everywhere you go. If you see a problem you want to fix you have to just take initiative, find a lot of people who can help you and just do it!” She shared.

We are thankful for Ave Maria residents and members of the community to help show that Ave Cares.

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