A high point of the recent Arbor Day festivities at the Gig Harbor Civic Center was the Harbor Ridge Middle School’s Clean Water Project fundraiser.
Just inside the facility, a gaggle of 16 HRMS students wearing their bright orange Gig Harbor Morning Rotary Club-sponsored Interact Club shirts plus some parents caught everyone’s attention.
They hosted a Water Bottle Flip Challenge Fundraiser for clean water, asking participants to compete for a cause for a suggested donation of $1. The club provided crafts for children and an informative water demonstration as well. All donations were matched by GHMRC to purchase water filters for Guatemalan families to be delivered this summer.
I learned of the event thanks to Lori Ann Reeder, Communities In Schools of Peninsula site coordinator at HRMS.
“The event proved to be worthwhile,” Reeder said. “The dedicated group of Interact Club members worked hard to educate many and succeeded in their financial goal. They raised money for a dire worldwide need.”
The event taught them the importance of clean water and challenged them to communicate this need to the public, she said.
The students brought in $250, and Rotary matched it with $250 more, bringing the total to $500. They raised $225 more in the following days.
Thanks to Rotary’s Dan Rioux, the money earned will bring 19 water filters to Guatemala this June.
HRMS seventh-grader Nicole Shelton decided to join Interact because “I want to make a difference in the world and help people in need. Did you know that over 480 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water?”
Classmate Sophie Krueger joined Interact because “I want to help people who don’t have the same luxuries as us. I want to help make the word a better more peaceful place.”
New to me, the Water Bottle Flipping Challenge is all the rage with teens, explained Reeder.
“They use a full water bottle as a flipping object,” she said. “The goal is to flip it and see how many times in a row they can get them to stand upright. They have all sorts of contests to see who can flip the most in a row, the highest, the longest, on to specific platforms, etc.”
Declared seventh-grader Erin Davis: “If water bottle flipping is the way to make a difference, then so be it!”
“The Water Bottle Flipping Challenge was a worldwide phenomenon,” said seventh-grader Grace Derrick. “Now, we’re using it for good. We managed to raise money to buy water filters. It felt good to know I was helping the world.”
To classmate Jabin Dryden, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. I want to serve our community because it is one of the reasons why we have a community. People can take their own time to help. The Arbor Day Celebration is one of those times.”
Eighth-grader Taylor Rioux felt “it was a pleasure being able to help others who are not in our ordinary community.” Jacob Dryden, a seventh-grader, “really wanted our club to look at clean water issues. I feel great that it worked and we have hit our goal! I hope it makes the difference we intend for it.”
“Doesn’t everyone have it?” asked seventh-grader Georgia Garnsey. “Unfortunately, not everyone has clean, fresh water. In Guatemala, kids my age and younger are dying because of diseases in their water. They might be running half marathon everyday to get anywhere close to clean water. My team at Harbor Ridge is making it our goal to raise money to buy 15 water filters for one village in Guatemala so that those people can have fresh, clean water. Those 15 water filters will give that village 15 million gallons of clean, fresh water. I am just starting my efforts to make this world a better place.”
The goal of the event was to raise $500 to send 15 water filters to Guatemala through GHMRC. The event raised $725. Hence, 19 water filters will be sent.
“We are just a few dollars short of raising enough to send 20,” Reeder said.
If anyone is interested, please contact Reeder at HRMS firstname.lastname@example.org or send checks to Gig Harbor Rotary, HRMS Clean Water Project, Attention: Lori Ann Reeder 1910 Prentice Avenue, Gig Harbor WA 98332.
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at email@example.com.