This is the first in a series of blogs that will spotlight the great work being done by schools and students working tirelessly alongside Wells Bring Hope to bring safe water to the people of Niger.

Chadwick School’s Wells Bring Hope Club

I am a student in 9th grade

By Kate McEvilly

I am a student in ninth grade at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, California. When I was in seventh grade, Gil Garcetti came to talk to us about leadership. He also told us about Wells Bring Hope and the work it is doing to bring safe water to villages in Niger, West Africa. Mr. Garcetti and Wells Bring Hope inspired me because of the life-changing impact that a well has on a village and the way that clean water decreases mortality and improves the health of all the people in the village. Additionally, I was moved by how the well changed the lives of girls in the villages who could now go to school rather than spend their days carrying water for miles and miles. I knew that I wanted to do something to help, so I started a Water Circle with Wells Bring Hope.

In the summer between seventh and eighth grade, I wrote 100 letters to actors, musicians and celebrities asking them to donate an autographed picture or some other item that a middle school student would like for a student auction. Twelve of them responded. I also asked some families to donate In ‘N Out lunches where students could pay to eat lunch with their favorite teacher. My classmates and I put on the auction where students could buy tickets for items they wanted and we then selected a winner for each item. Many of the items that we raffled off came from the letters I had written. They included autographs from Nolan Gould from Modern Family, Rashida Jones from Parks and Recreation, and the entire cast of The Office. We also raffled off a signed script from The Middle’s Patricia Heaton, DVD packages, and more. We raised over $1,000 in 30 minutes!

Once I got to high school, I officially started a Wells Bring Hope club. We went from a club of one and slowly grew to a group of over 25 committed members who are enthusaistic and dedicated to fundraising for Wells Bring Hope. Our first event of the year was a bake sale where we raised $500! This year we held an expanded auction, so instead of only raffling off items for one day, we gave students the opportunity to buy food and tickets for a week. During our week-long event, we raised awareness of Wells Bring Hope through discussion at school assemblies, posters around school, and decorated water droplets placed in heavily travelled areas. We had a donut day and a frozen yogurt day and sold baked goods and drinks during a school event.

We also put the following video together to raise awareness about Wells Bring Hope and the auction.

In addition to Coldplay tickets and drumheads signed by Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance, we auctioned off a shoutout from Fox 11 morning news. Senior Andrew Knox won and used the shoutout to ask his friend Erin to the prom. Luckily, she said yes!

As a result of our week-long effort, we raised over $2,500, and I am very happy to say that we have raised enough money for our first well and have a good start towards our second well! I believe that we have been able to have success fundraising because we really raised awareness in our small community about the importance of clean water and the impact of a good education. Although it sometimes seemed impossible to tie down all of the auction items, we worked hard and saw results. It is simply amazing that the result of all of this is that one village will now have a well. We really hope that other schools, organizations, communities, companies and individuals will gain interest in Wells Bring Hope and develop the same passion that my members and I have gained by learning more and more about the impact of clean, safe water on communities and, specifically, the women and children of Niger.

On May 4, we presented a check for $5,600—the cost of one well—to Barbara Goldberg, the president and founder of Wells Bring Hope. In return, she honored us with a plaque commemorating our efforts.

We are so thrilled to have already donated a well through Wells Bring Hope, and know it won’t be long before we are presenting another check for another well. If you want to help us reach our goal of funding a second well, you can donate to our Water Circle by clicking here. Thank you so much for your help!