LOS ANGELES, CA, June 29, 2012 -- Drop in the Bucket, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing water wells and sanitation systems to school children in East Africa has a lot of supporters. Perhaps none more dedicated than six-year-old Ellie Schrock. After reading a book about the people and culture of Africa and learning that many children there die because they don't have access to clean water, Ellie was shocked. So she decided that in lieu of birthday gifts, she wanted to ask people to donate money to provide safe water for children in Africa. She ended up doing that and much more -- and inspiring hundreds of kids and adults in the process.
"Ever since Ellie was three, she was obsessed with going to Africa," says her mother, Melissa Schrock. "She always said she wanted to ride her bike to Africa -- she couldn't understand why she couldn't do that. So we went online so I could show her a map, and we found Drop in the Bucket's website when we Googled "Africa."
When Ellie learned that Drop in the Bucket is a nonprofit that builds wells at schools in East Africa and provides them and the surrounding communities with tools they need to improve child health and increase school enrollment rates, she knew what she wanted to do. "I wanted to help the African kids," she says.
"In kindergarten Ellie kept telling me she wanted to do something to help the people in Africa," her mother explains. "She asked me every day. I told her, 'Maybe next year'. So she did stuff at home, and made a little coffee can with a Drop in the Bucket sticker on it that we put money in when she did things like getting blood drawn without crying."
Ellie's efforts didn't stop there, she drew a picture of a lemonade stand displaying some tin cans, with the words "No presents" and "$5,000" written on it, which she handed to her first-grade teacher at Beaumont Elementary in Waterford, MI, Jennifer Knipper. When Knipper asked Ellie what it meant, Ellie told her that she didn't want presents on her birthday, and instead intended to raise $5,000 to build a well at a school in Africa to give clean water to kids like her. "Right then and there it brought tears to my eyes," says Knipper. "It's pretty impressive for a six-year-old to say that, and I was immediately inspired. I always wanted to do something to help and it took a six-year-old to get me involved."
Since then Ellie has spoken to her classmates at a school assembly, raised hundreds of dollars with her "Water Warriors" and "H2O=LIFE bracelets," her family held a "Wine into Water" party and raised over $1,000 and Ellie has organized and inspired others to get involved through a variety of activities.
"We are truly fortunate to have someone like Ellie championing our cause, she is a remarkable six-year-old," said Drop in the Bucket Founder and President, John Travis. "Her commitment is going to positively impact thousands of lives," he continued.
To learn more about Ellie's mission and her story please visit: http://elliesmission.com To see Ellie's progress toward her goal, visit: http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=180531
About Drop in the Bucket
Drop in the Bucket is a Los Angeles-based, 501(c)(3) water and sanitation charity with field offices in Uganda and South Sudan. Since 2006, we have worked with hundreds of villages in East Africa to drill wells, construct sanitation facilities and introduce social programs such as Village Savings and Loan Associations, Girl's Clubs, Health Clubs, Community Hygiene Promoters, and Community Sanitation Initiatives. Because education is one of the most effective ways of moving a country out of poverty, we work to provide schools and communities with tools they need to improve child heath, increase school enrollment rates and promote gender equality. Visit http://www.dropinthebucket.org/ for more information.