Charity: Water

Rosepine fifth-graders spread awareness about global water crisis

Fifth-grade students at Rosepine Elementary School raised more than $500 in 24 hours for Charity: Water, a non-profit that builds sustainable, community-owned water projects across the globe. The fundraiser was part of the students’ science studies this month.

When the students began studying the hydrosphere they were “shocked” to learn less than three percent of the earth’s water is fresh drinking water, Jessica Deon, a fifth-grade teacher said.

While the unit began with the ocean’s salt water and various conservation efforts to protect those bodies of water, Deon said the students wanted to quickly move past that topic and focus more on the globe’s fresh water crisis.

“It blew their minds,” she said. “We have it (fresh water) all around us. They go fishing and swimming. They see Toledo Bend and say, ‘It’s so big.’ ”

The lack of fresh water means millions of people across the world are subject to disease and long walks to access drinking water. The crisis is difficult for adults to comprehend, Deon said, but even more baffling for elementary students who want to find a solution.

The students decided to take cues from the children’s educational program “SciGirls” and created a video public service announcement about the global water crisis, Deon said.

“I wanted them to know there were other things they could contribute, which is spreading awareness. Even if they didn’t have a pocketbook, they could still have a big impact.”

Deon said the students completed 85 percent of the video project on their own, including researching content for the script, serving as on-screen talent and helping to troubleshoot the production.

“Many of the kids nowadays, they’re on You-Tube,” Deon said. “They enjoyed showing me they were knowledgeable about it and turning it into a project they’ll remember for awhile.”

In addition to producing the PSA, the students also participated in a “water walk” where they carried gallons of water on their head in an effort to raise awareness of the children across the world who travel hours to gather clean water for their families. Students walked the track with the gallons for nearly an hour in cold weather, further emphasizing the inconvenience and depth of the crisis to the students, Deon said.

“Our campus is next to a major highway. It was another good way to get the conversation flowing, to get someone’s attention and educate others on this crisis.”

The first day the video was posted, which chronicles the student’s research and the walk, the students raised more than $500 for Charity: Water and have raised $855 to date. The fundraiser has gained national attention from both Charity: Water’s leadership and from Robert Redford’s Environmental Legacy, who have both supported the elementary student’s efforts, Deon said.

To view or share the PSA on YouTube visit, https://bit.ly/2GwOh9Q. To donate to the fundraiser from Charity: Water visit, https://bit.ly/2SYywhP.

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Special to the American Press

Rosepine Elementary School students produce a YouTube public service announcement on the global water crisis.

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Special to the American Press

Rosepine Elementary School students celebrate the completion of the “water walk” as part of their public service announcment on the global water crisis.

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