Dear Young Future Clean Water Advocates:
My name is Greta Zwyghuizen and when I was 7 years old, I learned about the world water crisis. I knew something had to be done. It wasn’t fair that there are people in the world who didn’t get to go to school, who got sick and even died all because of dirty water! But how could I help? (I was only 7 at the time!) You may be asking yourself the same kinds of questions, so let me share what I’ve learned.
Getting everyone in the world clean water IS a big task, but you don’t have to do it all alone! When people team up together, it becomes a little easier. Anyone can join 20 Liter’s efforts to help make dirty water clean. Don’t worry about how big the problem is, just take one step at a time. You can take your passion and creativity and combine them to help the efforts! It’s hard sometimes but never give up on your passion for helping others, as it fills your heart in a way that no other thing ever will. You will change the lives of so many and it will change your life. You will learn, grow, and struggle in your pursuit of getting everyone clean water, but it will be worth it as you fight to change the world for the better! We need you!
Being a clean water advocate has drastically impacted my life. There are few people who find their passion at age seven, but I’m among the lucky few. Through the years, as I have learned more and more about the water crisis, my eyes have also been opened to so many other issues in the world. My passion, dedication and persistence to keep working toward making this world a better place have been fueled by this knowledge. I am currently majoring in Justice Studies so that I can focus my career efforts toward my passion. I cannot imagine my life differently!
My family is incredibly supportive and have walked with me along my journey of being a clean water advocate. They never hesitated to learn with me or to teach me more. They’ve all joined me in different ways, each bringing their own unique ideas and efforts to the table. Being passionate about clean water as a family has enabled all of us to participate together, whether we are simply having deep family discussions about our world and our part in it, or joining in on the many opportunities we’ve been able to take part in together. I think most of all it has provided a tangible focus for our love; when you are aware of how others live in this world, you become more aware of and thankful for the blessings in your own.
If you have the fire to do something, DO IT! Start a fundraiser, participate in an event, volunteer, donate to a nonprofit (no amount is too small!). There are so many opportunities to begin changing the world. Don’t be afraid to jump in and participate. I can guarantee it will change your life too.
Let your creativity and passion for clean water FLOW!
P.S. For Parents of Young Clean Water Advocates
Young children are full of crazy ideas — some of which may seem unreasonable. Adults are so quick to dismiss the wild ideas, as many don’t seem feasible. Often times, however, with a little bit of help, those ideas can turn into something wonderful and change the world. I had a crazy idea for my eighth birthday party. I wanted all my friends to donate money (instead of bringing me presents), then walk to a nearby river and collect dirty water in buckets, and finally walk back carrying it on our heads! I had seen the young girls in Africa doing this in videos when I first learned of the water crisis and I wanted EVERYONE to understand and know about this! Though my parents decided it probably wasn’t the best birthday party idea for second graders (my mom feared I wouldn’t have any friends left after the party!), they didn’t shut down my idea. They helped me turn it into something even more amazing. Now it is the biggest fundraising event for 20 Liters. A child may need a little help or may need a lot of help. It’s very possible it will create a LOT of work for the parents too, but helping your child change the world is an experience of a lifetime. Back up your kids and stand by them, there are few things more beautiful than a child with a vision and a heart full of passion to help the world be a better place!
(A note from Greta’s parents: While NOW this Walk for Water is a huge event, that first year it was not. We simply invited several friends, family and church families and asked them to join us in our backyard. We walked to a nearby river and back, toting several different kinds of containers full of dirty water. We collected the money and donated it to the water efforts. Trust us that there wasn’t anything “fancy” or “formal” about it! No signs, no pamphlets, no advertising. We just simply BEGAN. Our sons soon followed with their own ideas – one of them grew gourds and sold them in front of our house like a “lemonade stand” and the other had people come to our pool to “tread water for water”. We encourage to listen to your child’s ideas and help them turn those into a creative way to follow their passion for helping others!)