campaign: 100 for Water
raising the money: Ella from Austin, Texas
raised so far: $1,113
mission statement: “Sometimes when you’re a kid it feels like problems are so big that you can’t do anything to make a difference. But it’s not true. Little kids can do big things — especially if we work together.”
Ella caught the eye of hundreds earlier this year when she was featured in her local paper for her first mycharity: water campaign. Now, she’s doubling her goal and getting a hundred kids to fundraise alongside her.
We talked to Ella to learn how this eight-year-old is changing the water crisis:
Ella, how’d you first hear about charity: water?
Last fall I got a book called Kids Make It Better by Suzy Becker. It’s a journal that asks kids how they would solve world problems. When I got to the part that explained that not everyone in the world has clean water, I was confused and asked my mom about it. I thought everyone could turn on their faucet and get clean water. I was pretty shocked when I found out that people in other parts of the world are getting sick and dying because there’s no clean water to drink. We went online to do some research and that’s when I found charity: water.
What was it about charity: water that made you want to get involved?
We watched all of the videos, but the one that made me really want to get involved was Scott’s story. There have been other causes I’ve wanted to help with but I’m just eight years old. The problems seemed so big and I didn’t know how to get started. When I heard Scott talk about giving up his birthday, I was so happy because I knew it was something I could do, too. It doesn’t matter how old you are — everybody has a birthday and a chance to use it to do something good.
Tell us how your campaign works.
The 100 for Water idea works by getting at least 100 kids to raise at least $100 dollars each for charity: water. If you want to help, make a profile on mycharitywater.org, join 100 for Water and get going!
What do you say when your friends ask why you’re doing this?
When I did my birthday campaign, so many people seemed surprised that a kid would be interested in the water crisis and care enough to give up their presents to help. Even though I reached my goal, I didn’t feel like my work was done. There were still a lot of people that needed help. That bothered me.
Since a ton of kids helped me reach my goal, I chose to do a group campaign. It’s important to me that people see that kids care about more than “stuff” and that when kids work together we can do amazing things. As soon as they found out about the problem, my friends wanted to help.
How are you going to convince 100 kids of the importance of what you’re doing?
It really hasn’t been hard getting kids interested. I’ve talked to church groups and in classrooms and all I have to do is show them pictures of the places where people are getting their water.
Even though I reached my goal, I didn’t feel like my work was done. There were still a lot of people that needed help. That bothered me.
I say, “Could you imagine drinking water that’s dirty? These kids don’t have a choice.” They get it right away. And I always bring a Jerry can filled with water. Most kids can barely lift it and even some adults have a hard time! It really helps them understand how hard it must be to have to walk miles for water.
My goal is to get Ellen to talk or Tweet about 100 for Water on her show. I’m working on a video for her. I think she would be a great person to talk about making fundraising fun. We have a little less than a month left and we’re just going to keep working until the last day to get as many kids to join as we can.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I used to tell people I wanted to work for charity: water when I grow up! But now I think we might be able to fix this and there might not be a water crisis when I’m old enough to work. I hope so anyway. I really like writing stories and I’d love to be a writer and an artist.
What does the word “charity” mean to you?
I think charity means helping people when they need it. That could mean donating money or it could mean being nice to someone who’s new at school. It’s about doing the right thing and treating people the way you would want to be treated.
If you could meet the people who will have clean water thanks to your efforts, what would you say to them?
That’s a really hard question! I guess I would just want them to know that people care about them and think they deserve clean water too. Most of all, I would really like to meet kids my own age and find out what their life is like and what they do for fun with their friends.
I used to tell people I wanted to work for charity: water when I grew up. But now I think we might be able to fix this and there might not be a water crisis when I’m old enough to work.
Finally, what advice do you have for others that are on the fence about starting a campaign?
You should do it! I think having a birthday campaign is a great way to get started and even though it can be a little sad not getting gifts on your actual birthday, it’s worth it. I know I’ll remember my eighth birthday for the rest of my life. Most of all, have fun and raise the money doing the things you love to do. I love to sew and make crafts and this weekend I’m having a 100 for Water craft fair. I had fun making everything and I know I’m going to have a great time talking to people at the farmer’s market. Talk to your friends and family and ask everyone for help. If you’re excited about what you’re doing other people will want to help you.