Choosing Action: A Walk for Water Yields Big Payoffs

On a beautiful Saturday in May, students from schools in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area came together to lend their support to the people of the Azawak by participating in A Walk For Water. After a week of drenching rains, the sky radiated clear blue and the sun shined brightly. Students and their families had the opportunity to be with each other outdoors in nature, and at the same time collaborate for a greater purpose. The rally before the walk brought everyone together to celebrate their own potential as global citizens, who, in coming together for a cause, contribute toward making the world a better place.

Andrew Kutt, Executive Director of the Oneness-Family School, emcee'd the Rally. “It’s a big statement for children to put aside their video and sport games, teachers to give up their free time, and parents to delay their errands to come here on a Saturday. That says something.”

It says that we can choose to make something happen. What a powerful message for children! A kernel of experience, that when sprouted, will bear the fruits of action and difference, and a message that with effort, hard work and persistence, change can manifest.

Nineteen months ago when Ariane Kirtley brought the Amman Imman project to the Oneness-Family School, a seed borne of determination and passion was planted. Tended by the compassion of children and nurtured by the hard work of teachers, a tree began to grow. A Walk For Water, through which children lend their energy to walk and raise funds, has helped spread these seeds. This collaborative event, now in its second year, has harvested a small forest of schools. *

Whereas last year 120 people gathered on the field and walked around Lake Frank, this year over 200 people, including students and their parents, from five different schools, put aside their Saturday activities to come together for the people of the Azawak. Through the efforts of the students and adults who registered and those who asked their friends and family to sponsor the walk by making a donation, over $11,000 has been raised, one of the largest single donations to date for Amman Imman’s project.

The message this sends to students will take them far beyond the trails around Lake Frank, far beyond their days as elementary school children, and into their potential as people who, by nature of their action, can choose to do something that can change the world.

We extend a great big THANK YOU to everyone who donated, sponsored, walked, chaperoned, volunteered at the walk, helped before the walk, provided support and inspiration. A special thank you to the coordinators in each of the schools: in addition to Oneness-Famly School, Sara Grossman from the Barrie School, Suzanne Stork from Aidan Montessori School, Rodney Berthold from the Boyd School and Nicole Hambleton from Henson Valley Montessori School. A Walk For Water could not have taken place without months of planning and effort from these individuals.

A special appreciation goes out to Sara Grossman for hours of trail walking in preparation for the walk.

The event went without a hitch; to accomplish something like that with so many people helping and participating requires teamwork and collaboration. A warm appreciation goes out to the Amman Imman volunteer team of Peter Novick and Catherine Wagner for preparing the accounting spreadsheet and check-in sheets, Catherine Wagner, Teresa Weathington, Kristine Odina and Nicole Hambleton for running the check-in and refreshment table, Cori Lathan for transporting the supplies, Michael Kirtley and Andrew Kutt for speaking at the rally, Brian Fisher for making amazing signs and driving the shuttle bus along with Zephyr Cottrell, Peter Megginson for managing the banner, Kathy Minardi and Cathy Carpenter for handing out certificates as all the walkers completed the trail, and Mary Pat Evans for working with Sara G. and Peter M. to "sweep" the trail after the last people completed the route. A special thank you to Attaher Mohamed, an international student in Harrisburg, PA who was born in the Azawak, for representing his people.
* In addition to Maryland, schools in New Jersey, Washington State, Ohio; and across the globe in New Zealand have held A Walk For Water. Read about A Walk For Water around the world in these posts.


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