At the beginning of my sophomore year at Wartburg, I had the idea to get more involved on campus and that idea quickly morphed into starting a campus organization. With the help of Gail Sexton, Wartburg College Water to Thrive’s advisor, I met a man named Ed Scharlau. Ed is a Wartburg grad from 1961 and one of the founding members of Water to Thrive, a faith-based non-profit organization that dedicates itself to bringing safe, clean water to those who need it in rural Africa. Ed opened my eyes to see that there is so much more to life then what I know in Waverly, Iowa. He showed me that there is suffering and pain in the world over issues as simple as water. And most importantly, he showed me that one person with a lot of passion could change those issues. When my best friend, Liz Shull, and I were introduced to Water to Thrive, we knew this was a crisis Wartburg College could help change. In just a few short months, we filed the paperwork and prepared for our first official “Wartburg College Water to Thrive” meeting.
Over the last year and half, I have seen God develop Water to Thrive on Wartburg’s campus in ways I didn’t think were possible. Donations and support have come knocking on our door and the giving spirit of others has constantly humbled me. But recently, I have felt called to do more for those 783 million people around the world who do not have access to clean water. As January approached, I started to wonder what I wanted for my 21st birthday, which falls on the 18th. The more I thought of a present that I needed, the more I realized I would much rather give something of great significance than receive a material item.
I have decided to dedicate my 21st birthday to Water to Thrive, an organization and cause that I am so passionate about; it never leaves my mind. Therefore, I am asking all of you to help raise $2,100 dollars to give to Water to Thrive for my 21st. All of the proceeds will go directly to the organization and Water to Thrive will use the donations solely for the funding of a hand-dug, fresh-water well in rural Africa. Each well is $5,000 dollars and Wartburg College Water to Thrive is hoping to fund at least one well in Tanzania because a class studies there this May.
The last thing I want to tell you is the reason why I got inspired so many months ago about the water crisis and why I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Water changes everything. For example, a well is built in a village, a little girl doesn’t have to walk 6 hours a day to get water, she can go to school for the first time, she now has the freedom and opportunity to grow up and become anything she wants. She could be a world leader or she could be a mother to her children. Bottom line is, she has a choice, she has opportunity, and maybe for the first time in her entire life she has the chance to chase her dreams. Whatever the case, the opportunity and life that comes from water is something that keeps me awake at night and something I dream of giving to everyone who doesn’t have it. Knowing that I have clean, safe water at the lift of a finger and knowing that I take that opportunity for granted everyday is eye opening. I want to help give that opportunity to others and I can’t do it without the help of any of you. So, if you’ve decided to join me for this birthday wish either through a monetary donation or through a share on Facebook, through email, or any other way of spreading awareness… I cannot thank you enough. The water crisis is vast, but it can be solved.
Wartburg College Water to Thrive's Facebook page
Water to Thrive's website
- Kathleen Dahlstrand
- Bob & Diane Larson
- Timothy Thalacker
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