We first met Hayden in 2007 when he was in kindergarten. He came into the office with his mom, Angele, to deliver the allowance he had saved up for Water1st. Hayden is now in 8th grade and an active member of our Middle School Board.
In the past year we have grown our high school and middle school boards. There are more than 30 youth board members participating in activities throughout the school year.
For World Water Day, our Middle School Board wrote letters to the editor and submitted them to publications nationwide. Below is Hayden’s letter:
I am 13 years old. Every morning I wake up, have breakfast and head off to school. I drink water, wash my hands, brush my teeth, use the toilet and take a shower every day without a second thought. What if I had to walk for miles to obtain all of the water my family and I use for these daily processes? What if the water I used was dirty and full of bacteria? With World Water Day approaching, I am thankful for how fortunate I am to have a clean water supply at my fingertips. Others, however, are not quite so lucky. For example, 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water and a simple toilet. Of these 2.5 billion people, approximately 5 million die of water-related illnesses annually. These staggering statistics disappoint me. Is this all we can do? We can afford to wage wars yet billions of people still are deprived of the most basic human necessities. The world should be able to do better.
When families lack access to clean water, many issues can occur. Some of these include: lack of education, malnourishment, water-related illnesses, and extreme poverty. Research shows that around 200 million girls and women carry every drop of water that their families use. In addition, 100 million kids (predominantly girls) receive little or no education because they are carrying water. These statistics clearly demonstrate the severity and frequency of this world-wide struggle.
In answer to these problems, the United Nations designated March 22nd as World Water Day. This day is meant to recognize the issues of water and sanitation access and bring awareness to them on a global scale. I am a middle school board member of a non-profit organization based in Seattle called Water 1st International. Since 2005, Water 1st has given approximately 11 million dollars towards funding 1,200 water projects, and transforming the lives of over 123,000 people around the world. Their main goals are for people to become aware of these issues and for those who can afford it, to consider donating their time or money towards water projects that last. A fun way for families to get involved is to join with our community in the annual Carry 5 Walk for Water on Sunday, May 31st held at Seattle Center. More information can be found at www.water1st.org. Together we can make a difference and put an end to the walk for water.