Washburn Rural Students Collecting for "Life Straws"

By: From 13 News/ Good Kids
By: From 13 News/ Good Kids

Hi, my name is Molly Rockefeller. I am a 17 year old a junior at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka. Last September, I gave a presentation to the Rotary Club of North Topeka regarding a project idea. I wanted to help with the global water crisis. The North Topeka Rotary Club was very positive about my presentation and researched the company and organizations involved with my project.

In reading newspapers and magazines I became very aware and intrigued with water problems (both purity and quantity) throughout the world. I discovered that many people in undeveloped countries are seriously affected by the shortage of pure drinking water. As someone who has trouble sharing my water bottle with another for the fear of germs, I couldn't imagine living without clean water. I wanted to do something to help deprived people receive clean safe water. I since discovered LifeStraw. LifeStraw is an inexpensive straw-like device that people can wear around their neck.

They can drink any infected dirty local water, including river water, through the straw. The straw then purifies and eliminates bacteria and waterborne diseases. The straw costs $6.50 (includes shipping and handling) and lasts 12-14 months. The LifeStraw has helped save the lives of many people, particularly in Africa, India, Pakistan, and Haiti where they currently struggle with a cholera epidemic.

I have decided to focus my energy on Haiti. There is a terrible epidemic of cholera occurring in Haiti right now. These people are in desperate need of LifeStraw to help them access safe drinking water immediately. LifeStraw is a simple filtering system within the straw that filters out 99.9% of bacteria and waterborne diseases. The Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club has agreed to purchase the straws for me (they are very involved with LifeStraw) and their ongoing ordering of large quantities of straws lets them get a discounted price and reach the minimum order of 1000 straws more easily than I as an individual could do.

The Miami School of Medicine has agreed to collaborate with LifeStraw efforts. The Medical staff leaves on a medical humanitarian mission trip every 6 weeks to Haiti and they will transport all LifeStraws to Haiti along with their medical supplies. They will disperse LifeStraws to all children in their medical clinic who need them. They also provide education about using and cleaning the LifeStraw. This is a fabulous opportunity for collaboration for me and all who donate to my project. We will have a chance to help stop a terrible cholera epidemic by providing a means to filter unsafe water and turn it into clean, safe drinking water.

My idea is to talk to the Student Councils and Interact Clubs at Elementary, Middle, and High School levels. I will make the members aware of the water crisis and teach them about LifeStraw. I will try to have them help me with fundraising money for LifeStraw. One of my ideas for fundraising is to sell swirly and other 'fun' straws at lunch and the students will donate money to get a straw knowing that their donations will help a child in another country get a LifeStraw. So far I have Washburn Rural’s Interact Club, National Honor Society, and Student Council involved in my project. They love the idea of helping other people access clean water. To date, we have done numerous bake sales (raising over $322) and have had a Hat Day raising a total of $125 thus far. I have also had the chance to present my project to Seaman High School’s Interact Club. They have agreed to help as well and recently raised $150 towards my project.

The North Topeka Rotary Club has already donated $125 towards my cause/ project. I have presented to the Overland Park South Rotary Club. Many of their members have donated a combined individual donation of $270 toward my project. Thank you for your support!

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