CLMS students ‘Walk for Water’

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Canyon Lake Middle School students walk a one-mile path carrying buckets of water to simulate the walk women and children must make each day in South Sudan. Photo provided by Dawna Gatrost.

Students at Canyon Lake Middle School formed the Caring Cougars, a humanitarian club, last year after reading the book “A Long Walk to Water” in Dawna Gatrost’s 7th grade class.

Through the book, students learned about children who have to walk hours a day to find water, which is often contaminated. The goal of this club is to make its students members empathetic citizens of their community and the world.

On Mar. 21, CLMS students hosted a “Walk for Water” event. On the day of the walk, 186 students walked a one-mile path carrying buckets of water to simulate the walk woman and children must make each day in South Sudan. Each student wore a necklace that featured a Sudanese to represent those they were walking for. “We walked for water so they don’t have to,” said Dawna.

In order for students to participate in the event, they had to have a minimum sponsorship donation of $25. The funds raised will go toward the cost of building a well a village in South Sudan. Each well costs approximately $15,000 to build and will supply a village of up to 2000 people with fresh water for a lifetime.

The students raised more than $9,000 in sponsorships. Adrain Duron is the top earner and received a trophy for his efforts.

“It’s incredible what the kids can do when they untie for a cause,” said Dawna. “I’m so proud of our students.”

During the event, students investigated water quality from local waters sources and compared it to the water in South Sudan. The students found that the water quality in South Sudan was undrinkable and well is definitely needed.

Jacob Shiba of EVMWD spoke to the students about water conservation and the United Nations. Arleen Sanchez of Lake Elsinore Unified School District spoke to the students about being “world changers.” A representative from the organization Water for South Sudan spoke to the students via Skype.

The students are raising money for the well until Apr. 6. To donate, visit amen13.weebly.com. Donations are tax deductible.

Photo provided by Dawna Gatrost.

Photo provided by Dawna Gatrost.

Photo provided by Dawna Gatrost.

Photo provided by Dawna Gatrost.

Photo provided by Dawna Gatrost.

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Donna Ritchie