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Forestview students raise funds, awareness of water crisis

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Students carry 2 gallons of water 3 miles around an indoor track Thursday to raise money for H2O for Life at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. The water walk seeks to teach students about the global water crisis and raises funds for water, sanitation and hygiene education projects at partner schools in the developing world. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video2 / 4
Gallon jugs of water become more challenging to hang on to as laps progressed during the H2O for Life water walk Thursday at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video3 / 4
Gallon jugs of water become more challenging to hang on to as laps progressed during the H2O for Life water walk Thursday at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video4 / 4

BAXTER—Students carried 2 gallons of water 3 miles around an indoor track Thursday to raise money for H2O for Life at Forestview Middle School in Baxter.

The water walk seeks to teach students about the global water crisis and raises funds for water, sanitation and hygiene education projects at partner schools in the developing world.

"Our whole school supports that. Kids in Forestview have supported water for Nicaragua," said Lori Larson, a language arts teacher speaking on behalf of the team of educators at Forestview Middle School. "Kids do all kinds of activities—buy T-shirts, donate money. They had over 300 walkers carrying 2 gallons of water for 27 laps, which is 3 miles. They sell things early in the morning, they sell doughnuts. It's the Forestview awesomeness."

Thursday, about 250-275 kids participated with 600 gallons of water filled for the trek. Students and a few adults took part in walking the 27 laps in the Forestview Middle School gymnasium. Since its inception in 2011, the program has raised $48,767.

"Another successful H20 for Life week at Forestview!" the school reported on its Facebook page. "Thanks to Sandy Loney for heading up this wonderful fundraiser! We have helped so many kids in the developing world access safe water and sanitation."

On its website, H2O for Life reports it provides a service-learning opportunity for schools in the United States aimed at helping teachers and students raise awareness about problems accessing water while taking action to provide funds for schools in the developing world.

Over the past 10 years, H2O for Life reports 550,000 U.S. students have participated in its service learning projects, raising $3.2 million. Those funds were matched by H2O's implementing partners for a total impact of $6.4 million to provide safe water and sanitation for over 295,000 students in the developing world.

H2O for Life reports every 20 seconds a child dies from lack of access to clean water and women and children in many communities spend up to 60 percent of each day walking to collect water.

The H2O for Life program began in Minnesota in 2007. H2O for Life states Patty Hall was asked for help from a small Kenyan village desperate to build a water project. Hall then introduced the idea to her New Brighton school—Highview Middle School. Both staff and students organized water walks and other fundraisers before donating $13,000 to Kathungu Village. Hall, along with parents and teachers, established the nonprofit H2O for Life. Forestview Middle School students collected pledges for their walk along with their fundraising activities.

There are additional ways to help, such as www.water.org, founded in 2009, which works to provide developing countries with safe water and sanitation through long-term economic solutions. Go to www.h2oforlifeschools.org/page/about for more information.

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