Gummow students provide clean water for life for 30
CECILIA NASMITH Northumberland Today C.R. Gummow Public School student Lily MacKenzie (second from left) organized a number of friends among them (from left) Taylor Graham, Libby Ricker, Brianna Lane, Cameron Deviney Martin and Emily King Simpson to collect pennies for the Safe Water Solutions campaign to provide clean water for life. Seen Feb. 7, partway through their campaign, they eventually collected enough to provide clean water for life for 30 people.
A group of students at C.R. Gummow Public School have turned the end of the penny into the beginning of a lifetime of clean water for 30 people.
Free The Children, the charity begun 18 years ago by a young man named Craig Kielburger, launched a campaign called Safe Water Solutions that offered young people the chance to collect pennies to provide clean water to people in countries where this luxury we take for granted may not already exist.
Gummow student Lily MacKenzie was delighted to bring the campaign, and awareness of the issue, to her friends, her mother Erin reported.
"She has done a great deal to raise money for Safe Water Solutions, but this is a nation-wide campaign run by Free The Children. For every 2,500 pennies they collect, there's enough to provide one person with clean water for life," MacKenzie said.
"She really, really loves the work they do, and she's passionate about this."
Lily brought a group of friends together to approach principal Alison Kneen, who encouraged them to organize a campaign, making announcements, going class-to-class to collect, and then counting them up into bags of 2,500 (each representing a lifetime's worth of clean water for someone).
All last week, bags of pennies were heaped on Kneen's office floor, as Lily and her friends counted toward their goal of 20 bags.
"I am very proud of Lily," Kneen said.
"It was her idea, and she approached me about running this campaign at the school. We thought, 'Why not?' It's very important to make a difference, and this helps to raise global awareness for all our students, Junior Kindergarten through Grade 8, in a concrete and practical way."
Kneen was pleased to see how a simple, co-operative effort among her students could make such a difference.
"It's really, really nice each morning when we come in to collect the pennies. The kids are so excited, even the really young ones, telling us how much they have tallied in their math classes and how hard they have worked," Lily said.
"I am really excited I have the opportunity to do this, and that I could start a project like this, because of the penny being phased out, and people are more willing to donate when it's a very small amount. So I know we will make a big change," Lily said, echoing the slogan of the campaign.
When all the counting was over, MacKenzie reported, the students collected 65,000 pennies and had enough cash donations to bring their collection up to $755. For 30 people who will be able to count on having clean water, that's a big change indeed.