DENVER, CO, April 28, 2010 -- A single donation of 50 cents can go a long way. This was the discovery of one elementary school that worked with Water For People, a Denver-based nonprofit organization, to raise funds for clean drinking water in Central America.
Water For People (www.waterforpeople.org) brings water and sanitation to 11 developing countries in Asia, Africa, South and Central America. Their vision is a world in which all people have access to safe drinking water and are free from sanitation-related disease. Water For People works with a variety volunteers, businesses, schools and organizations to raise funds and awareness.
One example of such a group this year is the St. Mary's School in Aliso Viejo, California that coordinated a fundraiser to help kids get access to clean drinking water in Central America. Craig Cullen, who is a parent in the class and a Sales Director with the ITT Corporation, a global leader in the transport and treatment of water, worked with Water For People and the teachers of the school to do a presentation to the 2nd and 3rd grade classes about the importance of clean drinking water. After his presentation, a second grader named Josette approached Craig, offered him $.50, and asked that her money go to help children in need. Her donation inspired her schoolmates to start a fundraiser.
"It was an eye opener for me to see so many children wanting to learn about the concerns around water. I have presented the same message in various business situations but I have never had as many questions asked about what they could do to help," said Cullen.
The fundraiser was named "Project Isabella" after one of the students who was born in Guatemala and later adopted into an American family. During Craig's presentation, Isabella shared her own emotional story of growing up in Central America and the challenges she and other children like her faced. In little time, the children from St. Mary's School raised $594 to help others have access to safe drinking water. The money will go to Water For People, through ITT Watermark, the philanthropy arm of the ITT Corporation, to ensure that the children in developing countries benefit directly from the school's hard work.
Cullen says, "Do not underestimate the power of children. I would suggest that all parents get involved with their children's schools and make a simple presentation to educate the next generation. As I have found out, a simple 30 minutes and a little girl handing me 50 cents can turn into a lot of proud children who are making change. And the best part is that children in totally different countries will benefit the most."
About St. Mary's School
St. Mary's School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School dedicated to inquiry-based academic excellence, developing well-rounded, confident children who flourish in a creative environment founded on Christian values. As the only primary school in South Orange County to offer the IB program, the school promotes critical thinking while focusing on developing skills to meet the challenges of a global, technological environment. In addition to enjoying strong athletic programs, extended care, enrichment classes and summer programs, students in Preschool through Grade Eight develop the life-long practice of learning, leading and serving. For more information on St. Mary's Preschool through Grade Eight curriculum or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, call (949) 448-9027 or visit the St. Mary's Web site atwww.smaa.org.
About Water For People
Founded in 1991, Water For People is an international, nonprofit humanitarian organization that focuses on long-lasting, safe drinking water resources and improved sanitation facilities in the developing world. While Water For People is in its 20th year of work it focuses not on creating a dependency on charity in the 11 countries it works in, but rather creating the ability of the local community to plan, build, finance, maintain and operate their own systems. The organization works in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America to show that its successful programs are adaptable around the world and can be replicated anywhere. In 2009 it served over 325,000 beneficiaries. Water for People is a charity of choice of the American water and wastewater community. For more information, visit www.waterforpeople.org.