By Amber Georgenson, Current Staff
After graduating from West Bend East High School, Laura Burns didn’t know what she wanted to do when she grew up. Now she works for a global non-profit organization, and students at her former school are trying to help.
Burns is a member of Water For People, an organization that works to provide access to clean water and sanitation around the world. The Spanish III students at WBHS have expressed their support by fundraising through creating presentations, posters and announcements to inform the school about the organization and their mission.
“In many parts of the world, women and children spend more than four hours a day walking for water and more than 840,000 people die each year from diseases contracted from unsafe water,” said Burns, who graduated in 2005.
West Spanish teacher Shelly Krueger had Burns as a student and knew she worked for Water For People. Krueger reached out through Facebook and a plan was set for students to help fundraise for the organization. She is content that students are able to be educated about the living and working conditions in countries that do not have the same privileges as many Americans do.
“A part of me feels like a lot of young people, kids in the high school, have no idea how important access to clean water and sanitation and a toilet is,” Krueger said. “Because it’s just taken for granted by us.”
The Spanish III students have recently read about the poor working and living conditions that many people face in countries like Guatemala. Seeing this has led to a change of perspective in the minds of students.
“It’s a wake-up call in a way,” East ninth grader Selah Garrison said. “You really realize how different some people’s lives are from yours. So to even have the privilege to be able to help is really cool.”
Students and staff are able to donate in the high school office, the bookkeeper’s office and rooms U80, U45 and U65. Checks can be made out to the WBHS Spanish Club. The fundraiser lasts from May 3 through May 14.
(Top photo: West ninth graders Kayla Dodge (left) and Alyssa Ray pose next to a bulletin board advertising the Water For People fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Spanish teacher Brenda Henschel.)