Water is Life is a nonprofit organization that builds water wells and provides drinking straws that filter impurities out of contaminated water. The WiL organization targets its efforts to help third world country villages, as well as provide disaster relief to areas such as Japan or Haiti. Over 1.8 million people die worldwide every year due to waterborne disease and 6,500 die daily, 5000 of which are children. The filtered drinking straws, which can be worn around a child’s neck, cost ten dollars each and will last for approximately one year.
Ms. Lusin, Odyssey’s own Spanish teacher, created the WiL fundraising club after pondering a way to keep scholars engaged and active in a meaningful way. The Odyssey WiL club is made up of 5th-8th grade scholars who have banded together with a fundraising goal for the year of $5000. Some of the ways they have made money so far include: a bake sale, a lemonade sale, a water bottle sale, a loose change donation campaign and finally a 5K walk/run. All donations are for Ghana’s village of Kpaachi Yili.
One club member familiar with the WiL organization is Olivia Bender, age 12. She is the daughter of Kristine Bender, a dedicated volunteer for WiL. The Bender family has gone to multiple countries to volunteer in the clean water effort. At one point, they gave up clean running water in their home for a week in order to raise awareness about the water that Americans assume to be clean and instantly obtainable. When Olivia was asked why she wanted to be in a club that took up so much of her free time she said, “I like to help organize events and be in charge. Plus, exposure to this kind of good stuff; you keep it with you your whole life.” Ms. Lusin stated, “The thing I really love, though, is how these kids are showing leadership skills and how compassionate and interested so many of our scholars are. It is good to see.” Ms. Lusin is hoping to go to Ghana this summer to help deliver the straws that her club has helped to purchase. She would love to bring back a lot of good stories to tell and even more ideas on how to reach her scholars on the importance of giving back.