Do the Right Thing Program Frequently Asked Questions

 What is the Do the Right Thing Awards Program?

  • The Do The Right Thing Program was created in 1990 by the Miami Police Department and its community partners as a way to acknowledge students contributions to their communities. It’s now a national program called” Do the Right Thing, Incorporated” and is headquartered in Miami Florida. 
  • The success of the Miami program attracted the attention of law enforcement agencies around the United States and abroad who expressed interest in starting their own chapters. Since 1993, Do The Right Thing, Inc. has grown to include over 60 chapters in the United States, England, and Germany. 
  • The Rochester Police Department (RPD) applied to become a chapter of Do The Right Thing in 1996. Do the Right Thing incorporated in 2000 and was granted 501( c )3 non-profit status in 2003.
  • Do the Right Thing of Rochester, Inc., recognizes youth for helping law enforcement and other first responders, acts of heroism, displaying leadership, role model behavior, and volunteering in their community. The award distinguishes students who strive to make good choices, do well in school, give back to their communities, or demonstrate a “turn-around” or improved behavior. 

Who is eligible to receive an award?

  • Any student enrolled in school in K - 12th grades within Monroe County is eligible. 
  • The incident the student is nominated for must have occurred in Monroe County, and within one year of the nomination. 

How is a student nominated?

  • Anyone over 18 years-of-age can nominate a student. This includes first responders, family members, neighbors, and school communities .
  • There are two different versions of the application available on the City website: a version that can be completed and submitted electronically which is emailed directly to our staff, and a version you can print, write out by hand, and mail or fax to us (contact information is at the end of this page).
  • Nomination forms are also available at the Rochester Police Department and any City school (Parent Liason) or City library. 

How is a student selected?

  • The nominations submitted are made available to a Selection Committee comprised of community, law enforcement, and sponsor representatives. They individually select who should receive the award based on the nomination, and a tally of their votes determine the recipients. Students are not recognized as winners of the award until they arrive at the public ceremony to be acknowledged.

What happens when a student wins the award?

  • Once selected by our Selection Committee to receive the award, the students are invited to participate in a public ceremony at the City Public Safety Building to recognize their achievement.  This is where they actually “win” their award. The ceremony is a public celebration and invitations are sent to the student’s family, school, and community support. Each winner receives a prize package consisting of items generously donated by our sponsors like the Pirate Toy Fund, Tops Friendly Markets, the Memorial Art Gallery, The Battery, and AMR.

How does a student benefit from winning this award?

  • Award winners are eligible to apply for our scholarship when they become high school seniors.  This provides funds directly to their tuition for college, university, or trade school.
  • In addition to a prize package received at the ceremony, Seabreeze Amusement Park invites our winners and their families to enjoy the park for a day at the end of the school year, Buffalo Bills invites our winners to visit their training camp for one day in mid-summer, and Camp Good Days invites our winners to attend a three night, four day Leadership Camp on Keuka Lake in late summer.

How is the program funded?

  • The staff, the office space, and their equipment is funded by the City of Rochester and the RPD. All donations made by sponsors are used in direct support of the award program or the scholarships made available to the winners when they become seniors in high school. 

How can the community help the program?

  • We are always in search of quality nominations. We usually have five award ceremonies per school year, but we accept nominations all year long (students nominated during the summer months are usually honored in October). 
  • We average 50 student winners per school year. Donations are helpful and appreciated. If you would like to sponsor the program or make a direct donation, please contact us by phone at (585) 428-7863, or email:
  • Please help us spread the word by following our accounts on Facebook (@DTRTROC) and Twitter (@rpd_dtrt), and share our posts with your friends. 
  • We would like to include entertainment by volunteer students at our ceremony, preferably singers and soloists because the space is small. Please contact us if you are interested. 

Contact us for more information: