Racing up and down the stairs at school, carrying big buckets, twirling with gallons of water, and then breathlessly crossing the finish line–that’s what the students at Thomson Elementary School did on the morning of Saturday, January 19 in Washington, DC. Why? Because they were competing in relay races as part of this year’s first Walk4Wells event, held at their school.
Walk4Wells is a dynamic event that puts YOU in the shoes of a young boy or girl who has to walk in search of water every day. When the Thomson Elementary School community joined together to participate in a Walk4Wells as part of the National Day of Service, they could understand the challenge of finding clean water—and then they became part of the solution! (Thomson and Plan International USA were even recognized by the Presidential Inauguration Committee for this super service project. We’re so proud!)
The day started with exciting educational activities in the cafeteria, where students got a hands-on explanation of the importance of clean water. They filtered water through dirt, sand, and stone; tested their knowledge of the topic with tough trivia questions; and guessed the weight and volume of various containers of water, even carrying them around to get a feel for how heavy they were!
Lauren, Plan Staff on the Water, Sanitation, and Health (WASH) Team, quizzes Thomson students with water trivia. Did you know that more people have access to a mobile phone than a toilet? It’s true! (You can see more photos on our Facebook page!)
Next, students left to perform their very own version of the Walk4Wells walk-a-thon, where they walked together through the school to show their care and concern for young people who have to walk many miles to collect water in developing countries. For the rest of the month, they will be raising awareness AND raising money to fund the construction of wells at schools in Burkina Faso, so that students there can stay in school instead of searching for water. (They’ll be using the Walk4Wells ”Wellephants” that they built to collect donations, too. Check them out on our Facebook page!)
Finally, students left to perform a clean-up at a local park in downtown Washington, DC. They had made the connection between clean water and a clean environment, and also between local service and global impact–AND they made a difference!
Hooray! Students, parents, and volunteers raise their hands to celebrate their terrific job cleaning the park. They picked up a lot of trash! (You can see more photos on our Facebook page.)
Jacki, a 5th-grade teacher at Thomson, said: “[Walk4Wells] was great fun and I think that it will be an event the students will always remember. I was so happy to see all the parents with their children (and some of my former students), everyone learning new things and contributing to the cause.”
It goes to show that it doesn’t matter how old you are, or how big or how small, you can still take action to better your community, your country, and your world. Find out how you can start your Walk4Wells by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. (Our website, Walk4Wells.org, is coming soon!)