Two high school juniors turned a passion project into a large community event benefitting Charity:Water, a non-profit organization that brings clean water to people in developing countries.
Cate Jones and Alex Pitts are juniors at Mountain Brook High School in Alabama, where they each run on the track and field and cross-country teams. On the advice of her college guidance counselor, Pitts was perusing a list of charities when Charity:Water caught her eye.
“I watched a video on the website. I was crying. It was really emotional,” Pitts said in a recent personal interview. “After watching the video, I said, ‘I have to do something to help this charity.’ I started planning to do a race with Cate because we were both moved by the charity. We thought it was amazing.”
“We thought because we run so much that we could use our talents to help the cause,” Jones added. “That’s how we came up with putting on a race.”
“We’ve been to a lot of races before,” said Pitts. “We know how they work. I just really like the whole vibe of a race raising money. I love people getting out there. People like coming to an event. It’s more fun than just asking people for money.”
And the community rallied behind the race as more than 50 runners participated in and about 30 volunteers helped put on. The race, which happened on May 11 in Birmingham, Ala., raised approximately $2,600 for Charity:Water.
“In 6th grade, I did this program called ALMUN (Alabama Model United Nations), which is a model UN program,” Pitts said. “Our (fictional) country (in the program) had a lot of water issues, which we resolved with biosand filters, which help clean water. I’ve just always had an interest in clean water. I just wanted to do something active to help.”
Just in case you think these young ladies went through all this trouble just for a line on their college applications, think again.
“We’re going to do it again,” Jones said. “It’s going to become an annual thing.”
Charity:Water is one of several charities in the water industry. Other industry charities include Water Equation, which provides funding for workforce advancement, scholarships, students, young professional and Community Engineering Corps, and Water for People, which exists to promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses, and governments.
Photo credit: Janice Pitts