Making an Impact, Drop by Drop

Making an Impact, Drop by Drop

A wave of awareness for access to fresh water is growing at Silver Creek Elementary School and it’s spreading into the community.

Recently, fifth-graders at SCES have been learning about the almost unimaginable challenges faced by young women in Burkina Faso, Africa. Under the direction of grade 3-5 social studies teacher, Jennifer Restivo, they’ve read about the grueling hardships they cope with in order to obtain a basic life necessity. Children of Burkina Faso are walking up to six hours per day just to procure drinkable water.

Inspired by their almost unfathomable struggle, the SCES students are working hard to help fund a water well with an ultimate goal of raising $10,000 to make it happen. Their efforts will culminate in the 3rd annual Citizen Activist EXPO at the Elementary School scheduled Friday, March 22, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The community is warmly invited to experience this carnival of world water global impact information and interaction. Participation in this event will help the students make a tangible difference. There will be informational displays focusing on the global water crisis, World Water Day, the Georgie Badiel Foundation and what it means to be a Global Citizen at SCES. Interactive game booths are also planned.

The students raised $1,000 since Feb. 12 – just three weeks into their campaign, which their teacher says has been great for morale.

“We’re a small district, and the task is tall” says Restivo. “What’s really exciting is that my fifth-graders have come up with some great ideas. They’ve held a 25-cent hat day and a 25-cent wear-your-hoodie-up day. These are great ideas that, for only a quarter, are helping us make a big difference. The students hope to roll out more 25-cent activities through the end of the school year in their mission to make a difference.”

The students will be selling T-shirts and $1 book marks. Large water jugs topped with vortex funnels will be set up so participants can donate their loose change. Additionally, attendees may purchase plain water drops for $1-$4, bronze star water drops for $5-$9, silver star water drops for $10-19 or gold star water drops for $20 and higher. The donors will be recognized featuring their name on the water drops, which are being displayed throughout the SCES lobby. As the donations trickle in, each one is marked with a paper water drop with the donor’s name on it. The drops are displayed along and around the stairwell and will eventually be hung from the ceiling, making the Elementary lobby the ideal location for the fifth-graders to host their 3rd annual Student Citizen Expo. 

“The response and emotion that has come from our growth in understanding the struggle for clean, drinkable water for others in our world has helped us to acknowledge how we take water access for granted,” said Restivo, who has been sharing information and videos about the struggle with SCES colleagues and students in third through fifth grades. “This global impact project really is one of the most meaningful ones I have had the privilege of working on with our students.” 

In February, Restivo arranged for fifth-graders to have a Skype session with international model, activist and author Georgie Badiel. Badiel has taken on the issue of the lack of potable drinking water in her West African homeland and heads The Georgie Badiel Foundation. Badiel is co-author of the book “The Water Princess,” which tells the story of her West African nation's need for aquifers via her life as a child who dreams of bringing clean water to her people. Restivo says the story resonated with Silver Creek students. 

“Skyping with Ms. Badiel will be a lifelong memory for these kids,” said Restivo. “I’m thankful for my colleagues for taking time to grow in understanding and sharing with our students in this truly meaningful project.” 

Since then, the students and staff have been pumping coins into its two-story Water Well Coin Shoot in the stairwell of the Elementary School lobby. All money collected will be donated to the Water Well Fund of the Georgie Badiel Foundation. The foundation has been sharing social media updates about the SCES students’ progress, which has been a huge motivator for the students. During the first week of March, they were collaborating on a Public Service Announcement about the $10,000 goal and strategizing on how to best approach area businesses for support and pledges of matching donations. 

Local residents who want to participate in the fundraising efforts may also consider sponsoring a student through the Light Up the Knight event planned in the district on Thursday, March 14, 2019. Students are acquiring donations from sponsors based on the number of laps they run around the school.

Restivo hopes for strong attendance and widespread participation in the upcoming 3rd annual Student Citizen Activist Expo. The event coincides with opening night for the high school production of the “Little Shop of Horrors” musical, which premieres at 7 p.m. 

Community members who want to contribute to the cause but who cannot attend the 3rd annual Student Citizen Activist EXPO are encouraged to contact Restivo at jrestivo@silvercreekschools.org to make donation arrangements. Donations for the water well will be accepted through June.