By the time you finish reading this article, at least six mothers will have lost a child due to a water-related illness. That is just one of the facts that Briarcliff Middle School students learned in a school-wide focus on advocating for clean water worldwide.
Briarcliff Middle School science teacher Robert Iovino, who is also the school’s Greenhouse Club advisor, is helping spread awareness through a campaign that the club is sponsoring and meets with all students in their physical education classes.
Recently, he met with a group of seventh graders.
“I hope you realize as you get older that you have impact on this planet. What you do matters,” Iovino told the students. “I guarantee that you don’t think about the need for water – for drinking or for taking a shower – because it is always available to you.”
Iovino introduced the students to the organization Charity Water and the work they do around the world to provide clean water to those in need.
Students learned what it is like to live in an area without easy access to water. They viewed a video portraying women and children in Africa who walk three miles each way to water wells and carry 40 pounds of water on their back. The walks are grueling and often dangerous, the water is often unsanitary. Because those who collect water spend nearly all day doing so, they cannot work and children cannot attend school. According to the video, babies are affected most by this; every 19 seconds, a mother loses one of her children to a water-related illness.
Iovino told the students that the school is participating in a campaign aiming to raise money towards drilling new wells at locations that are much closer to villages that need them, as well as implementing water-sanitizing systems.
“Charity Water shows exactly where they build wells and often posts photos of those wells on their website,” Iovino told the students.
He shared with the students the accomplishments of past campaigns at Briarcliff Middle School. In 2012, the school raised nearly $5,000 for Charity Water.
Mr. Iovino told the students that he will send them an email with a link for how to participate in the campaign and asked them to send that link to people in their life that they think might want to be part of it.
“Speak to someone you know who cares about other people,” he said.
He encouraged students to sign droplet-shaped pieces of paper in which they pledge to spread awareness about the global water crisis, as well as pledging to share the link to the charity with others who may be interested.
Students hung the droplets on the wall of the middle school gymnasium.
The campaign will culminate in a student and faculty basketball game on Wellness Day, May 26.
Students who want to participate in the basketball game can write their names on a post-it note and put in a jar. Iovino will randomly pick 18 students (six from each grade) to play against the teachers.
“I am super excited to bring back the 11th Annual BMS Charity Water Campaign this year,” he said to the students. “Taking a look around the world and seeing where these is a need for help is part of being a human being.”
This is in line with the district’s commitment to civic engagement, encouraging students to be informed and willing to promote the common good through service and civic duty.
Here is the link to donate: