Lanham Christian students cancel out sodas to raise money for well in India -- Gazette.Net


No soda, no juice, no milk and no sports drinks — for two weeks.

About 100 middle and high school students at Lanham Christian School are being challenged to drink only plain water from Monday until March 2 as they raise money to build a well in northern India, an area where clean water is a scarcity.

“We have so much water, but there are people out there dying every single day for a drink of water,” said student body vice president Maria Centeno, a junior from Hyattsville. “We take it for granted.”

The student government-driven effort aims to raise $1,000 through student donations to fund the materials and labor necessary to drill a well by Gospel for Asia, an international nonprofit that supports Christian missionary work.

About $75 had been donated by press time, said Danny Long, a high school history teacher who advises the seven-member Student Government Association.

SGA members introduced the campaign Feb. 15, calling on classmates to donate the money they save by not purchasing sodas or other drinks, which will be replaced by bottled water in the school’s cafeteria and at the snack shop during the two-week effort, said Victoria Walton, the student body president. Proceeds from the sale of bottled water, at 50 cents per bottle, will go to the well effort.

Some students were hesitant to give up all drinks except water, Victoria said, but “it makes people realize how important water is and how grateful we should be.”

Victoria, a senior from Bowie, said a mission trip to Nepal last year through the Garden Valley, Texas-based Teen Mania’s Global Expeditions inspired her to help bring clean water to those in third-world countries, where she saw people drinking and bathing in brown water.

According to The H2O Project, the Houston-area nonprofit on which the students are modeling their drive, almost 1 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water, and about 5,000 children die each day from water-related diseases that are preventable.

Gospel for Asia, an international Christian mission organization, will use 100 percent of the school’s donation for installing the well, Long said.

Students at Lanham Christian, a school that enrolls about 200 kindergarten through 12th-grade students, often perform community service in Prince George’s, but Long said this is one of the school’s first student-led overseas efforts.

“I see that kids growing up in America have a very narrow view of the world,” he said. “I’m always trying to broaden kids’ horizons and get them thinking globally.”