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When the members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 1253 take on a project, they don’t rest until it is done.

This summer, the troop began work on an effort by local nonprofit Water of Life to recognize young people who had raised money to build a water well. The children had raised the money through Water of Life’s #Crowdsourcingkids project by selling stuffed elephants handmade in India by children rescued from slavery. A portion of the proceeds provide for the food, care and housing of the children who make the elephants.

“This group of 9- and 10-year-olds planned all summer long for educational booths with food, crafts, decorations,” troop co-leader Dee Kivett said. “They organized themselves. They worked together in teams. They put in probably 20 – 25 hours each over the summer to get ready for this event.”

Kivett said the process was girl-led.

“The moms didn’t do this,” she said.

After the event, the girls wanted to do more, so they started their own elephant sale fundraiser. In just a few weeks, troop members Addison Lopez, Bella Manteghi, Caroline Moreland, Elizabeth Clarke, Hannah Tydings, Holly Haydamack, Kelli Kivett, Leah Tysinger, Sammie Breakfield and Sophia Garber had raised more than $5,000 to build a well. Kivett noted that three new members, Ainsley Smith, Jill Jewell and Klara Bauer, have since joined the troop and its ongoing efforts to serve others.

Kelli Kivett, age 10, said it was important to her once she learned that children without clean water often have to walk long distances to get water and can’t attend school as a result.

“It really meant a lot to me,” she said. “It makes me feel happy that I’m working hard and raising money for it and that they’ll get a well.”

Troop co-leader Jaime Breakfield said the project touched the hearts of those involved and made the world a little smaller for them.

“We spent some time learning about what it was like for these girls in India who would walk miles to get water,” she said. “They were pretty emotionally invested in it.”

The troop meets at Shannon Forest Christian School, which has since adopted the fundraising efforts and is aiming to fund more water wells.

Sammie Breakfield, age 10, said the project was important to her faith, too.

“The kids in India that did not have clean water got to have clean water for the first time,” she said. “The water wells also teach them about Jesus. On each well that Water of Life makes, they put, ‘A gift from Jesus to you.’ They also never to have walk miles to get gross water. By having a water well with clean water, they can not worry about getting sick and they can get an education.”

How #Crowdsourcingkids works:

A child purchases a box of elephants for $20 in “earnest money.” Each box contains 12 handmade elephants and information about Water of Life’s work. A group of 50 kids (#Crowdsourcingkids) sells all 12 of the elephants in their box and collects the money from their sales. Once they have collected the funds ($130), they turn that money in to Water of Life. When all 50 kids have completed their sales and turned in their funds, Water of Life sends the money over to drill one deep bore well in the village and provide medical resources, food and basic necessities to the rescued children. Fundraisers receive a well report from the actual village they helped, including the village name, GPS location, population and pictures of the well and the people.

Learn more at

www.givefreshwater.org.

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