The Thirst Project’s Brad Thompson told the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students that although clean drinking water often is taken for granted in the United States, people living in developing countries often walk miles just to access water that isn’t fit for consumption.
In fact, Thompson told students that illness related to dirty drinking water contributes to the death of one child every 15 seconds in those countries.
Founded in 2007, the goal of the nonprofit Thirst Project is to build freshwater wells in developing countries and educate young people about the global water crisis that impacts over 1 billion people.
Since its inception, the Thirst Project has addressed students at more than 300 schools around the country.
“We travel to schools and college campuses and call students, like you, into action,” Thompson said. “The students from schools that we have made presentations in have come up with some creative ways to raise money — video game tournaments, paper/rock/scissors competitions, and individuals giving up their birthdays to raise money for the project and help people to have clean drinking water.”
Thompson asked Gate City Middle students to get involved with the Thirst Project by connecting with them on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and come up with ways they can raise money to help the organization’s work in places like the African country of Swaziland.
Gate City Middle School teacher Sarah Burke, who helped organize the event, said she and her fellow educators were impressed with the Thirst Project’s presentation.
“The assembly with the students was great,” Burke said. “Brad was able to help our students understand concepts that we have been working on in the classroom for weeks. The principal deserves credit for allowing our students to have access to this resource.”
Gate City Middle School Principal Cindy Dorton said the presentation also touched on topics that correlated to the school’s social studies curriculum.
“Our teachers are using the information provided today in many classes,” Dorton said. “Geography, Civics, Foreign Language, and English classes are incorporating the materials into their lessons to improve SOL scores.”
Expenses for the Thirst Project’s presentation were covered in part by donations from the Gate City Civitan Club and the Estillville Bed and Breakfast.