Featured Fundraisers: Campbell High School and The Water Project Club!

Wednesday, January 17th, 2024

Our fundraisers are incredibly precious to us at The Water Project (TWP). It’s through their generosity of spirit and time that we’re able to bring safe and reliable water to the people who need it most.

At Campbell High School in Georgia, not only has their group fundraised for The Water Project since 2015, but they even formed a Water Project Club headed by economics teacher Ron Wendt. The Club now has over 50 students!

We at The Water Project find the students and teachers of Campbell High School so inspiring. We hope they inspire you, too!

TWP: What inspired you to raise money for water way back in 2015? In other words, why is water important to you?

Ron: I was inspired by a fundraising water well project at my son’s school. I admired the work of The Water Project, and it fit so very well with one of the goals of the International Baccalaureate program, which is to develop internationally minded people who recognize their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet. Our students learn that clean water should be available to everyone, and they can become quite passionate about trying to make it happen!

TWP: What made you decide to work with us over other organizations doing similar work? 

Ron: I was looking for a fundraising project which was financially sound with low overhead costs where money raised was primarily spent on providing clean water for those in need. Your organization met my expectations in this regard. I saw your history and all the pictures of the many communities you have helped. It was very inspiring and propelled me to the next step of creating a club.

TWP: Can you tell me the club’s origin story?

Ron: I told parents and teachers of my plan to start raising money for the organization. Our International Baccalaureate teachers were very impressed by your work and were very supportive. I also enlisted the aid of Bonnie Methvin, another teacher here at Campbell, who became an amazing co-sponsor of the club. 

We started with a handful of students who were very committed and worked hard to raise money. We now have over 50 active students in our club. Our officers (president, vice-president, secretary, and social media expert) do a spectacular job in keeping the club members enthused and active in raising money. This year, they have created t-shirts to advertise the club. Additionally, we found that The Water Project made setting up a webpage very easy, and this was a great help in enrolling students and gaining support.

TWP: What made you decide to raise money again after your first fundraiser? What keeps you coming back year after year?

Ron: We love the very real feedback of where the money goes. It is so rewarding to see real communities benefiting from the money raised. The photos, the testimonials, and the videos are a very useful tool in inspiring the youngsters to continue. It is beyond gratifying to see the before and after pictures of the communities who have been helped by the Water Project. After our first year, we showed the results of our fundraising to our International Baccalaureate program coordinator, and he was visibly impressed! We were all blown away by how much could be done with our donations. It was a real “wow” moment!

Additionally, we have learned so much about how the organization helps not only with wells, but also with educating the local people on hygiene and sanitation as well as how to avoid waterborne diseases. Students are particularly impressed that girls in these communities are able to go to school instead of fetching water.

It makes all the fundraising even more worthwhile.

When we see that the project we have contributed to has been completed, the club organizes a little celebration. The student officers make a PowerPoint about the community, including pictures and testimonials. The celebration is very uplifting and reminds us why we love the work that you do.

TWP: What methods does your group use to fundraise?

Ron: Our current student President of the Water Club, Mara, would like to answer this question. This is what she said:

Mara: “In order to meet our goal for the year, we begin fundraising in the summer at open house events and inform upcoming students on the difference our club makes. In the fall, we fundraise at football events, where a large portion of our funding for the year comes from. We also hold bracelet sales, where we sell bracelets made by our teacher sponsor to students and teachers at our school. We hold these sales multiple times a year, and they encourage students to get involved in the club. In the spring, we fundraise at lacrosse and soccer games. We continue to promote the message of service at various events for our school, and our community contribution has been greater than ever this year.

“Being president of this club has given me an opportunity to see the world from a different lens. I’m so grateful to be able to help people gain access to something as simple as water, something that we don’t even think about lacking in our lives. Knowing that we’ve helped to impact multiple communities and people’s lives [makes] me feel so proud of the work we’ve done and encourages me to continue spreading awareness over this issue and working to help solve it.”  

Ron: Another fundraising idea [was] several secondhand book sales. We had hundreds of books donated by both teachers and students! Additionally, some very generous and selfless students have even asked for donations to The Water Project for birthday or Christmas. They have raised several hundred dollars this way and gained the admiration of some relatives!

This year, we entered a competition put on by a local radio station. The competition wanted to know how the school gives back to the community. We were interviewed, explained our work, and won $1,000 for The Water Project. It was a great moment, and we celebrated heartily knowing how well this money would be used and how many people it could help!

TWP: What advice would you give someone else thinking about starting their own fundraising page?

Ron: It is easy to do, and it gets the word out quickly to our students and the community. We have also found it very useful to have a QR code so that people can easily donate.

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Jamie Heminway

Jamie is a storyteller by nature. In joining the Water Project, she’s finally found a workplace where that pesky bleeding heart of hers can be put to use (and, less importantly, that BA in English Language & Literature from New England College).