School raises about $12K for Wells of Life

Alex Audette , Opinion Editor

More than 100 Mater Dei students, along with many other volunteers from Souther California, participated in the fourth annual Wells of Life Run4Water on April 22. The 1K or 5K runs, which took place in Laguna Niguel Regional Park, were an effort to raise money toward the building of wells in Uganda, Africa, where water is generally unsanitary and difficult for families to access.

Along with many other organizations in attendance at the Run4Water, Mater Dei had the goal of raising enough money to build one well in Uganda. The school exceeded this goal and was able to raise about $12,000, enough money for two wells to be built. Overall, this year’s Run4Water raised more than $240,000, which can fund the construction of about 40 wells.

“What drew me to do this was the cause in which we are walking for: to bring fresh water to underprivileged countries,” junior Elena Van Eenanaam said.

Wells of Life was founded by Executive Director Nick Jordan, who experienced firsthand a childhood without clean water. Jordan grew up in Wexford, Ireland, and his memories of the multiple treks to the watering well served as his inspiration to begin the mission of bringing clean water to villages in Uganda in 2009. Through his mission, Jordan has inspired people to fight for his cause and walk to make a change.

Most of the MD participants were members of ASB because they could earn points required for ASB membership.

“Initially it was just a way to help those students who were way down on points because it was a large number, basically enough to be earned in four events,” Associate Director of Student Activities Jeanette Costa said. “But we had a huge number of participants and quite a few were not ASB so I think that it was really something that helped build up the community.”

The Wells of Life organization has extended its roots and has inspired young people from within Orange County to take action in order to provide fresh water for families within Uganda.

Alice Conboy, a sixth grader at San Juan Capistrano’s Mission Basilica School, another Diocese of Orange school, is a member of a group known as the Precious Flowers, which also participated in the run. This group consists of young Catholic girls who meet once a month, helping different fundraisers and charities raise money to donate towards Wells of Life.

“Each well costs about $6,000 and we have been working on the Wells of Life foundation for about four years now,” Conboy said. “We are working on our fourth well to be built in Uganda.”

The organizers for the Run4Water strived to recruit 40 different teams in order to help fund 40 new wells in the villages in Uganda. Each well provides clean water for up to 1,000 people and lasts 25 years. Each well built brings a family one step closer to safe fresh water, without the hassle of treading many miles for it. Individuals who participated in the Run4Water donated $25 each to run or walk the 1K and $50 to complete the 5K; all proceeds benefitted Wells of Life.

“In Southern California, or anywhere in the United States, you simply think to turn on the tap so that you can get water,” said Mary K. Jordan, a Run4Water volunteer. “People in the United States can’t even fathom the idea of not being able to go to school because you have to walk to get water for the family. I think that once kids gain that knowledge, they become civically active and they understand that not everybody has the privileges that we do.”