CCAA – Project Bottles Up!

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Project Bottles Up is a community service program within the New York City high school, City College Academy of the Arts (CCAA). CCAA collaborates with Hug It Forward, in an effort to raise donations and awareness that would help build bottle schools in Guatemala.

Hug It Forward is a non-profit organization that brings education and awareness to villages in Guatemala by building bottle schools. These bottle schools are built with the usage of plastic bottles (stuffed with trash), cement, tin and chicken wire. Each school costs about $13,000-$19,000 to construct. Through the organization’s efforts, they have managed to build more than 65 schools throughout Guatemala, and clean up communities by stuffing wrappers inside plastic bottles, thus becoming more environmentally friendly.

The Program Director, Brian Ruiz, is currently a high school senior who has previously worked with Hug It Forward. In the 6th grade, Brian participated in a community service program that assisted in donating to the organization in hopes of further fulfilling their goal in bringing education and a clean environment to Guatamala.

Years later, Brian expanded on his ideas and presented a proposal to the principal at CCAA. Fortunately, Brian gained approval from his principal to expand the project within the school and community. With support from his high school counselor, Rosanna Almanzar, her interns, Amy, Crissy and Chloe, his best friend Samantha Verdugo, and CCAA teacher, Mr. Mihalsky, the Project Bottles Up went from proposal to active project.

Our objective focuses on recycling plastic bottles in exchange for money. Along with collecting money from recycling bottles, members of the community can donate to this cause. The school has set up recycling centers to collect the bottles and promote a more environmental friendly setting, and then take these recycled bottles to recycling centers in exchange for money, thus fulfilling our goal in providing donations and awareness to help construct a bottle school in Guatemala.

Along with our objective, CCAA high school students are involved by collecting plastic bottles, taking plastic bottles to recycling centers and publicizing the program through social media. In return, high school students will receive community service hours. We also are implementing our program within the school curriculum by creating lesson plans within Science, Math, English, Social Studies and Spanish classes about environmental protection. We are hosting weekly and monthly plastic bottle collection competitions throughout classrooms in order to create a clean environment at CCAA and bring awareness to Hug It Forward.

Lastly, if anyone is interested in supporting Project Bottles Up, we appreciate if you could donate to the cause in hopes of building a bottle school in Guatemala. Even though bringing awareness to Hug It Forward is our main priority, contributions would help further the program’s dreams and goals of building a bottle school in a community in Guatemala. Any amount of contribution is great, and we thank you for supporting the program’s dreams. We would love if after donating to the program, you could share the donation link to others.

Thank you and have a wonderful day.

If you would like to support Hug It Forward, please follow these steps:

1. Write a check in the amount you’d like to donate and make the check payable to “Hug It Forward”. Please make sure you state in the memo line of the check that your donation is to support the “CCAA Project”.
2. Mail the check to Hug It Forward at:

Hug It Forward
4600 Hampshire Dr.
Flower Mound, TX 75028


1. You can make your donation through PayPal by clicking the button below. If you choose this option, please make sure to provide a note in PayPal that your donation is for the “CCAA Project”.

Important Note: Hug It Forward is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization in the USA and your donation is tax deductible. Once the checks have been received by Hug It Forward, they will email a tax deductible receipt to you. Thank you!

How kids and communities come together to build bottle schools