Phil Andriola of Garden City South recently started a recycling...

Phil Andriola of Garden City South recently started a recycling program to benefit youth in Kingston, Jamaica.  Credit: Laura Andriola

A Garden City South teen has launched a recycling program to raise money for children on the island of Jamaica.

Phil Andriola, a senior at Regis High School in Manhattan, has collected more than $1,600 through his recycling program, called Because We Can, which he started in January. The funds benefit youth in the island’s capital of Kingston through the nonprofit organization Mustard Seed Communities, which aids vulnerable young people, including those with disabilities or HIV.

Andriola said he was inspired to help the Jamaican children after visiting the island earlier this year with about 20 other students as part of a service trip through his school.

Of the amount raised, Andriola said: “Even though it doesn’t seem like much, it’s important to the children and makes a difference.”

To spread the word about his efforts, Andriola posted a flyer on social media that resulted in monetary donations from friends and family as well as offerings of empty cans that he picked up from local homes. He would then cash in the cans at stores such as Stop & Shop.

Andriola, 17, is president of his school’s Engineering and Hip Hop clubs and a member of the baseball team and Peer Ministry Club. In addition, he is a math and writing tutor and volunteers with the nonprofit KEEN, which stands for Kids Enjoy Exercise Now.

 — MICHAEL R. EBERT

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