Solana Beach girls send $22,000 flowing to Thirst Project in Africa
Almost 1 billion people on the planet don’t have access to safe drinking water, and keenly aware of this sobering statistic are Alexa Geyser, 10, and Sarah Maloney, 12.
The Solana Beach friends and neighbors have teamed up to do something about it. Through the Thirst Project — a foundation devoted to reducing this statistic — they have raised $22,000 in three months and hope to raise a total of $24,000 by June 30.
This amount will fund the building of three clean-water wells in Africa, each well saving about 500 lives, said Alexa.
Their fundraising efforts have involved designing and selling T-shirts with their logo, giving presentations, doing extra chores around the house, and asking neighbors for donations.
It was through a family friend, actor Drew Seely, that Alexa learned about the project last year.
“I looked up the charity online and thought it was a very good cause, so I decided I wanted to raise money to drill a well, too. I had about a month, so I went around my neighborhood and raised $7,880.” The funds drilled a well in Uganda.
Along the way, Alexa made friends with celebrities who have supported the Thirst Project, including Debby Ryan and Karan Brar (“Jessie” on The Disney Channel), Dove Cameron (“Liv and Maddie” on Disney) and China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm” on Disney), according to her father, Russell Geyser, who has also purchased wells for Africa through the Thirst Project foundation.
It was when Alexa was approaching her neighbors that she and Sarah teamed up. Together they started a fundraising T-shirt campaign in February.
“Luckily my guitar teacher, Peter Pupping, conducts an orchestra and they decided to all buy the T-shirts and wear them during their concerts,” said Sarah about her involvement. “He asked me to speak about it at their last concert and get more donations.”
The two share empathy for the girls of their own age in Africa who spend hours of their day collecting water, forsaking an education along the way.
“I imagine myself and my friends doing this if we did not have the resources that we do have,” Alexa commented. Having clean water wells means that these same girls can now attend school. “I feel really proud that we are also helping their future,” she added.
Clean water means saving lives, too. “In Africa, a lot of children are dying every minute because the water is so contaminated,” said Sarah.
The Thirst Project, which calls itself the World’s Leading Youth Water Activism Organization, was co-founded by Seth Maxwell with seven of his closest friends when he was 19. To date it has helped raise $8 million that has funded the 1,754 water projects serving 285,599 people in 13 countries.
“And what’s great about the project is that you know that all the money is going to it, because they actually send you a video of the village before the installation and then a video taken afterward,” Sarah explained.
The annual Thirst Project gala will be held at the Beverly Hills Hilton on June 30, when Alexa will buy her three wells, watched by many entertainment celebrities and supporters of the project. Sarah will not be able to attend, she said, because her family will be watching her sister compete in the Junior Olympics.
Both girls are very proud of their accomplishments. “It’s a really great charity and I want to help it every year,” said Sarah, who aims to speak at larger conventions to help spread awareness.
Sarah’s mother, Diane Maloney, said her daughter likes to be busy and sets high goals for herself. Sarah told her mom, “It feels really good to be doing something, not just talking about it.”
Alexa’s father commented that his daughter is an “extraordinary adult fundraiser in (a) small package.”
Alexa said, “I’m very proud of showing that no matter what your age is, you can still make a difference.”
Visit https://www.thirstproject.org/ to find out more about the Thirst Project.
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