About H2O For Life
H2O for Life provides a service-learning opportunity for schools in the United States that helps teachers and students raise awareness about the global water crisis while taking action to provide funds for a water, sanitation, and hygiene education project for a partner school in the developing world.
In the past 11 years, H2O for Life’s program has supported implementation of WASH programs for more than 865 global school partners impacting over 385,000 students in the developing world who now have access to clean water and sanitation. H2O for Life has engaged more than 1,500 U.S. schools, many for multiple years, impacting over 625,000 youth in the United States. Youth have been inspired to take creative action through walks for water, water fairs, bucket drives, and a host of other events that has raised $3.5 million dollars for these WASH programs. The funds are matched by our NGO partners who design and implement the WASH projects at the local recipient school communities. This funding model has provided a $7 million-dollar impact for much needed programs in schools around the world.
What is H2O for Life doing to address the global water crisis?
H2O for Life’s service-learning opportunities are designed to engage, educate, and inspire youth to become global citizens. Our innovative school-to-school approach helps young people develop a concern for others by taking a major global crisis and scaling it down to a manageable size; one water project in the developing world. Through the service learning opportunity we provide, students learn that they can make a tangible difference for the students in their partner school.
The Impact of Service-Learning
Research studies of service-learning, an educational method that intentionally connects community service to classroom learning, demonstrate that service-learning programs can have positive impacts on youth in three general areas:
- Academic engagement and achievement
- Civic attitudes and behaviors
- Social and personal skills
The studies also demonstrate that students gain the maximum benefit when their service-learning experience includes a direct tie to the curriculum, planning and design of service projects by students, structured reflection on the service experience in the classroom, and continuity of service for at least one semester.
In 2007, Patty Hall received a cry for help from a small village in Kenya that was desperate to build a water project. Could she help?
She introduced the idea to her school, Highview Middle School in New Brighton MN, to see if they could help raise funds for the project. Staff and students embraced the challenge with open arms. Students learned about the global water crisis and created action plans.
It was an amazing and inspirational school year as students organized walks for water, sold wrist bands, note cards and t-shirts. They also held piano concerts, pizza parties, baby-sitting events and asked family and friends for donations. In the end, Highview Middle school donated $13,000 (twice the amount requested for the project) to Kathungu Village. Today, Kathungu Village has water available year round due to the efforts of Highview Middle School. Highview students and teachers didn’t stop with one project. They wanted to do more. This led Patty and a group of committed parents and teacher volunteers to establish H2O for Life as a non-profit.