Not just a drop in the bucket – RCS students set sights on helping global community

“We are showing the world that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can make a change for better in the world.”

A group of student and two coaches wear medals and hold a trophy, while smiling

When the 2017-18 FIRST Lego League (FLL) challenge was announced, a team of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk students went to work. The FLL program theme was ‘hydrodynamics.” After researching and discussing different ideas, team members Maxwell Deyoe, Julia Meyer, Arianna Ortiz, Elizabeth Robertson, Will Robertson, Gavin Trosclair and Camden Williams looked to their education for inspiration.

“In seventh-grade English class we read a book called A Long Walk to Water which is about someone who grew up in an area that didn’t have water, and goes back and starts drilling wells there,” Trosclair said. “We thought that was really inspiring.”

And so, “We Give Water” was born, as a project focused on developing a sustainable method to getting clean water to communities in the developing world.

“There’s 2.1 billion people who do not have access to water,” Elizabeth Robertson said. “And as a result young girls are having to walk to find water for their families and are not able to go to school.”

The students’ project will therefore not only bring clear, filtered water to communities, it will also allow young girls attend school. The students even thought about how to make the wells sustainable and scalable by using eWaterPay to collect a small two to three cent fee for five gallons of water.

“We found out that with the amount of money it will collect daily, it will take about six years to build another well,” Will Robertson said.

So, while their current goal is to raise $20,000 through crowd funding to build one well. Their ultimate goal is to see the use of that first well generate enough profit to build another well, and then another.

But getting the project off the ground was no easy task.

“The hardest part was starting the not-for-profit,” Deyo said. “There was a lot of paperwork and challenges.”

Those challenges included being denied not-for-profit status the first time due to leaving out the word “incorporated” on the paperwork. After resubmitting, the group was granted status and now focuses a bit harder on the small details as they learned that even a tiny mistake could have big consequences.

All that hard work is paying off and the students are excited to see donations coming in on their website wegivewater.org.

“We are showing the world that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can make a change for better in the world,” Ortiz said.

The team says they also hope to inspire other kids in the RCS community to create or join FLL teams so they too can feel what it is like to impact the world.