Change Makers

Walking in the shoes of those without clean water

Two teenage girls pose in their bright orange World Vision Global 6K shirts.

High school seniors Catherine and Vera have both participated in World Vision’s Global 6K for Water® in the past, but for their senior year, they wanted to do something extra — so they worked on fundraising together. They shared a little bit of their story with us via email. Content has been edited and condensed for clarity.

How did you get involved with Team World Vision?

I [Catherine] first found out about the Global 6K through my church, Chinese Bible Church of Greater Boston. I participated in the 6K with my mother during my freshman and sophomore years. In my junior year, I introduced Vera to the fundraiser.

Why did you want to be involved in fundraising for clean water?

Clean water is a necessity that people as privileged as us never have to think twice about having access to. We use it every day unconsciously, to drink and wash and clean. This isn’t the case for most people, and though we don’t claim to be any sort of leading rights activist, fundraisers like this are our small contributions to a greater solution.

Why is that important to you?

All people deserve clean water, to feel secure in this basic human right. Our actions won’t solve the world’s issues at large, but we want to help people in our own small ways.

Describe the fundraising you did this year.

Learn about fundraising from World Vision Global 6K participants.
Catherine (left) and Vera (right) have a fun day baking to fundraise for World Vision’s Global 6K. (©2021 photo courtesy of Catherine Yu)

This year, instead of only participating in the run, we also organized a bake sale to increase donations. Because of COVID-19 precautions, we had to do our bake sale virtually, so we contacted our friends, family, and teachers about our cause. We designed informational posters and created a Google Form to keep track of our donations. Then we baked brownies and Rice Krispies Treats™ and delivered them to those who ordered.

What did it mean to you to be able to do the fundraising with a friend? Did that make it more special? Why?

It was definitely more special because we held each other accountable. We both had the same goals and worked together to make them happen. We created a timeline and went on FaceTime frequently to complete our tasks together.

Tell me about people’s response to the fundraising you did.

Many of our peers were really encouraging and supported us throughout the fundraiser. We also connected with friends who were also running in the 6K for Water in other states.

Why did you want to do a Global 6K instead of just donating money?

Just donating money can feel impersonal. Running the 6K puts us into the shoes of the struggle others face daily; feeling that challenge for just one day in no way compares to the magnitude of the obstacle others face to get clean water, but it puts some of the struggle into perspective. This run, which felt like a huge challenge to us — which we prepared to face one time — was what others were dealing with every day.

Does the actual event make a difference to how you feel?

Yes — not only did it put the challenge into perspective, but it made our fundraiser hands-on and more than just an email campaign. Being a part of our community for this run and wearing that bright orange clothing to raise awareness for any onlookers really connected us physically to this event.

How much money did you raise?

We raised $2,027 through this bake sale from over 80 donors.

What does it mean to you two to be among the top youth fundraisers?

“Top youth fundraiser” is a funny title — what it really means is that we’re fortunate enough to be surrounded by a community of kind and financially able people. All the money we raised came from our teachers, our friends, and our relatives. So being among the top fundraisers this year is another reminder to us of how incredibly lucky we are to be in these generous, privileged communities.

What would you say to people who maybe hesitate to do the Global 6K because they’re worried about the fundraising part?

Contributing to this cause is not merely a record of the amount of money you are able to raise. Simply participating in the 6K and providing one person with access to clean water shows your dedication to this cause. Whether you raise hundreds of dollars or just enough for one person, you have made a contribution. If you don’t participate, you can’t help anyone. So, just try!

What advice would you have for people who are considering doing World Vision’s Global 6K?

It’s cliché, but you can make a difference. If you raise enough money for one person’s clean water access, you’ve made a huge difference to that person. It’s not about racking up huge numbers or amounts of people — if you don’t participate, you can’t help, so go all out!


by Catherine Yu and Vera Choi, as told to Laura Reinhardt

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