EDMOND — Some seventh-graders at Edmond's Cimarron Middle School aren't comfortable knowing a billion people in the world don't have clean water. So they decided to do something about it.
They gave nearly $1,500 to Oklahoma City-based “Wishing Well: Water for the World,” a group dedicated to bringing clean water to people worldwide.
Ryan Groves, co-founder and president of Wishing Well, accepted the money. The Oklahoma Christian University graduate has been involved with the clean water effort for years and knows the effects bad drinking water can have.
In developing nations, unclean water can lead to diseases such as malaria and cholera. Those illnesses and others associated with unsanitary drinking water take the lives of 3 million people a year, according to statistics Wishing Well has from the World Health Organization.
Wishing Well's Web page has a video from a trip to Rwanda in Africa. Group members are shown accompanying Rwandans on a long daily hike to fetch water in containers. Often the water isn't boiled, leading to the risk of disease.
That was part of the message Groves took to Cimarron and the geography class of teacher Andrew Everson.
“We had no idea the problem was this big,” said seventh-grader Gabby Davis. “We wanted to help.”
Everson said the students used a “spirit week” of fundraising this month to come up with $1,484. Each day, students and faculty had the opportunity to give to the cause through various benefits such as a day when students could pay to wear pajamas.
Groves said the funds likely will go to a partnering group of Wishing Well, such as Rwandans4water, dedicated to helping drill water wells in rural Rwanda.
Using contributions, such as the one from Cimarron, Wishing Well has managed to fund more than 60 water projects in nine nations. Groves said he appreciates the efforts of the teens.
“I think it's awesome what the kids did,” he said. “This is going to help.”
It may not be a one-time effort.
“I hope we can do something later this year and stay involved,” seventh-grader Kresa Hobbs said.
Students involved in the fundraiser were Jacob Dobbs, Ben Parkhurst, Kendall Murphy, Will Long, Matt Lombano, Sophia Lopez, Lisa Kim, Madisen Mode, Gina Arter, Isabel Pinto, Emma Fennal, Sara Shobeiri, Rachel Hunt, Annika Morris, Karsen Heron, Cassidy Seigler, Mikayla McKinzie, Sari Heffley, Anna Babcock, Gabby Davis, Jennifer Underhill, Keri Guthrie, Kassandra Lutz, Peyton Stone, Kresa Hobbs and Veronica Patton.