When Vaughn Arambatzis, of Connells Point, decided to raise money for an organisation close to his heart, he had no idea just how successful his initiative would prove.
Vaughn, a year 6 student, initially struggled to come up with a cause for a 'Give Back' project run by his school, St Patrick's College, Strathfield.
That's when his mum, Barbara, suggested he find something he was passionate about.
Having adopted a dog from Sydney Dogs and Cats Home at Carlton two years before, which sadly had to be handed back after it kept escaping from their yard, Vaughn decided to support the organisation.
As the family are keen recyclers, he decided to collect cans and bottles to recycle through the NSW government's Return and Earn scheme, with the proceeds going to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.
Wanting to take it further than their own household, Mrs Arambatzis posted his plan on a community Facebook page and soon the used containers were rolling in. They enlisted a friend with a ute, Peter Panopoulos from Advanced Building and Maintenance, to drive them to the Return and Earn facility at Rockdale.
"We would wait until we had a ute-load then we would drive them there. It would usually take about an hour each time to put them through the machine," Mrs Arambatzis said.
But his campaign really took off when State MP for Oatley Mark Coure heard about his efforts and decided to pay Vaughn a visit, where he handed over a cash donation.
He also publicised Vaughn's efforts on his social media accounts, meaning more containers and donations rolled in.
"It really went gangbusters," Mrs Arambatzis said.
"He ended up collecting just over 3000 cans and bottles.
"We took four or five ute-loads and there were a lot of boot-loads as well."
In the end, Vaughn raised a total of $300 from the donated containers and $200 in cash donations.
Vaughn's efforts have drawn plenty of attention and praise, with Mr Coure delivering a community recognition statement in State Parliament. Vaughn also received a certificate from Mr Coure.
"It was really lovely and made Vaughn feel very special," Mrs Arambatzis said.
As for Vaughn, he plans to do the whole thing again next year, but on an even bigger scale, and will ask cafes and restaurants to save their cans and bottles for him to recycle.
"I really love all animals and I hope this makes a difference," he said.