By MARCUS MICHIE
With a goal of providing safe, clean drinking water to the lower middle-income country of Eswatini, South Africa, This Club Saves Lives, composed of students and staff centered on community service, will be donating to the Thirst Project through their Walk for Water event Nov. 5.
Women and children in developing communities travel an average distance of six kilometers daily to retrieve water for their families, according to the United Nations. Students and staff who choose to participate in the Walk for Water will carry a half-full jerrycan weighing about 22 pounds for a quarter-mile around the track.
“It brings staff and students together,” says senior Olivia Hansen, TCSL co-president, “to do something challenging and provides a community aspect in a sense of understanding and growing all together.”
Those who complete the Walk for Water will be rewarded with a $5 gift card to local businesses. The more laps participants complete, the more money TCSL will donate to the Thirst Project. Enthusiastic sophomore cross-country athlete Hudson Silva completed one mile at last year’s event, and he plans to double his distance this year.
“I think it’s an important learning experience,” sophomore Briar Spungin says, “that can help students gain perspective on the privilege that we have with access to clean water.”
Throughout the week leading into the Walk for Water, TCSL will spread videos and education regarding the world water crisis to students and staff.
“We want to explain what the world water crisis is,” TCSL adviser Leigh Cambra says. “We want it to be a learning experience.”
The club was established in 2015 by Cambra alongside founding president Regan Chambers with the collective interest of finding ways to serve the community. The team meets every Tuesday at lunch in Cambra’s room, where they organize multiple fundraisers including “Tampon Tuesday,” a campaign where students can donate tampons and pads to various classrooms on campus.
Historically, TCSL has supported the Thirst Project through various events such as the Thirst Gala. In 2020, restrictions that the pandemic brought forward led to Thirst Gala being held virtually. The in-person event typically raises about $3,000, Cambra says, and that money is then donated to the Thirst Project.
TCSL is hopeful to return to Carmel Middle School’s award-winning Hilton Bialek Habitat, an installation that serves to conserve the various bird species on CMS’ property, and host the Thirst Gala this year. With the addition of an expansive garden, greenhouse and bird banding lab, the habitat’s primary focus is educating students on agricultural sustainability.
With the various setbacks from COVID-19, the club is treading lightly.
“We’re hoping that a more realistic time to do Thirst Gala is March,” Cambra says.
“We tentatively know the date because we were going to do it in September,” adds TCSL co-president and senior Abby Weisenfeld. “But COVID kind of took over again.”
While staying active throughout the 2020-21 virtual school year, TCSL is broadening their affairs and continuing to acknowledge pressing matters outside of the community through various in-person events this year.