Seventeen-year-old Carmel Valley resident Mitch Carruthers has a motto: "Life's too short to wait for others to help — you have to do it yourself and as soon as you can."
Mitch, an incoming Torrey Pines High senior, was shocked when he saw the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster unfold on TV, thinking of all the people affected, the animals and the environment. To try and help, Mitch decided to sell bracelets on a website he started with his mom Cathy's help — the bracelets are blue with Clean Our Gulf stamped on them, selling for $2 each.
The money raised will be spread to several organizations, such as the Institute for Marine Mammals, International Bird Rescue, Sea Turtle Restoration Project and Save our Gulf.
Mitch's bracelets received national attention on "ABC World News with Diane Sawyer" and local stations recently, and since then bracelet sales doubled — he's gotten orders from as far away as New York.
"It happened really, really fast," said Mitch, a Maryland native who moved to San Diego a year and a half ago.
The BP oil spill resulted from an April 20 explosion on an offshore drilling rig that killed 11 workers. Since then an estimated 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil have gushed into the gulf daily. For the last three months, efforts made to stop the spill have been unsuccessful until a containment cap stopped the flow last week. They are still testing its viability.
The spill has crippled the region's commercial fishing industry and has proven deadly for gulf wildlife. BP reported that, as of July 14, 1,866 dead birds have been collected, 463 sea turtles, 59 mammals including dolphins, as well as an unknown number of fish, shrimp and oysters killed or harmed.
The Gulf Coast area is an area close to Mitch's heart. After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2004, Mitch's family started a charity to help the victims. Only 12, Mitch went with his family to the Astrodome shelter and was moved by the experience of helping others, even just being a friend to talk to for the kids his own age who had been forced out of their homes by flooding.
Since then, Mitch has always been committed to helping others.
His mom Cathy likes to tell him the story about when he was a boy, she asked what he wanted to be when he grew up and he replied: "In charge, Momma."
"I've always been a do-it-yourself kind of guy," Mitch said.
Order bracelets and find out more ways to help like Mitch by visiting