Thirst: Regis students work to provide clean water

June, 2015 Posted in Other
Regis High School Student Council

Regis High School Student Council

By Mary Owen

This year, several dedicated Regis High School students took the concept of “service” far beyond Stayton’s borders.

“There are serious issues outside of those we see here at home, and more importantly, we can do something about those issues,” said Andrew Kelley, Associated Student Body president. “We’re happy with our decision to serve a desperate community in a Third World country, in this case, Swaziland. They needed our help, and we answered that call.”

The student council spearheaded an effort to raise funds for the Thirst Project, a nonprofit organization that builds wells to provide clean, safe drinking water.

The students raised more than $1,900 by hosting a clothing drive through Clothes for the Cause, and hope to raise another $1,000 before the school year ends by selling coffee at Regis and St. Mary’s for $10 a bag.

“We have also a few donations and are hoping for more,” said Anna Boedigheimer, student council advisor. “Our goal is to raise as much money as we can, and we will be paired up with another school and all the money raised will go toward building a well.”

Cost to build and sustain a well runs from $8,000 to $12,000, a small price to pay to help small children with weakened immune systems to fight off diseases like cholera, dysentery or schistosomiasis. According to the Thirst Project’s website, providing a community with safe drinking water can drop these diseases up to 88 percent.

Additionally, the Thirst Project reports women and children spend an average of 6 to 8 hours a day walking an average of 3.75 miles to fetch clean water, keeping children from attending school.

“Community service was one goal the student council had for the year, and the Thirst Project was something new and different,” Boedigheimer said. “Some 748 million people don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water, and the student council wanted to help.”

But with only 13 students on the student council, working to raise money has definitely been a challenge, she said.

The Regis Student Council raised $1,900 in their clothes drive.

The Regis Student Council raised $1,900 in their clothes drive.

“Regis students have a lot on their plates,” Boedigheimer said. “Our biggest highlight was completing the Clothes for the Cause fundraiser. They worked really hard on getting the word out and going to houses and picking up bags and bags and bags of clothes!”

Some 560 large black plastic bags full of clothes were loaded onto the truck, but once done, senior class representative Maria Miller said, “It was nice to think about where all the clothes were going. They will make an amazing difference for the people receiving them. Also, the money we would receive that will go to the people in need of clean water.”

Miller said she was surprised to learn about the desperate need for clean water in the world, and that, according to the Thirst Project, waterborne diseases kill more children every single year than AIDS, malaria and world violence combined.

“Knowing this made me more aware of the fact that we take for granted the water we drink, clean with, irrigate with, shower with, and enjoy,” she said. “People in those Third World countries don’t even have enough to drink. I realized I needed to be more thankful for what I have and help others in need.”

For Kelley, the project exemplifies unconditional giving.

“Service is the epitome of brotherly love, and brotherly love is something that every one of us is called to demonstrate for one another,” he said. “Our service project taught me this very important lesson, and I will hold onto this lesson.”

“It’s hard work, but very satisfying,” Boedigheimer said. “We know that every little bit helps, and our hope is that we can make a difference.”

People can contribute to the project by donating money and/or buying coffee, she added.

For information, call Regis, 503-769-2159 or e-mail Boedigheimer at




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