As is tradition at the end of the Walk for Water, Interact Club members douse the president — this year Krista Charters — in Sequim’s original irrigation ditch by Sequim Middle School. Charters said carrying two large buckets of water 2 miles was harder than she thought it’d be. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

As is tradition at the end of the Walk for Water, Interact Club members douse the president — this year Krista Charters — in Sequim’s original irrigation ditch by Sequim Middle School. Charters said carrying two large buckets of water 2 miles was harder than she thought it’d be. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Interact Club continues to ‘Walk for Water’

Fundraiser looks to build well for school in Ghana

SEQUIM — Thirty-plus students and a few adults took a Walk for Water as part of a fundraiser to construct a well in Africa.

It was the seventh year for Sequim High’s Interact Club and Sequim Sunrise Rotary members to hike about a 4-mile trek from the Sequim Middle School to the Dungeness River. On March 9, they filled buckets and recycled containers with water and brought them back to the school to symbolize the daily, hours-long journey people must make for clean water in Africa.

Students have raised about $3,000 so far and need $4,200 to construct a well for a school in the Republic of Ghana. Interact Club President Krista Charters said they sought support from 40-plus businesses and through their personal contacts.

Charters said part of their goal is to help remind the community of what goes on outside of Sequim.

“It means so much to give back,” she said. “I’m so lucky to be in our community. I’ve never had a need for something I don’t have.”

As a Sequim High senior, she said this year’s event meant a lot to her, saying it “changed my life.”

Chelsea Reichner, Interact Club adviser, said the event helps students better understand the daily reality for many women and children who haul 40-80 pounds of water home, sometimes repeating the journey many times in a day.

“(Students) begin to realize the value in the resource that is so abundant in our community that touts “Where Water is Wealth” and come to appreciate the massive effort it takes to haul water for daily activities and basic needs,” she said.

Jay Diallo, a Rotarian representative for the well project, recently posted gratitude for the Interact Club along with a video of a student from a high school with a new well reciting a poem about water’s importance.

“The impact of their work has touched lives, fostering health, hope, and opportunity. But what’s truly heartwarming is the response from the community that has benefited from their kindness,” Diallo wrote. “This is a testament to what we can achieve when we come together to make a positive change in the world. Let’s celebrate the spirit of giving and the difference one group can make.”

Reichner said club members resonate with helping fellow students so they can focus more on their education.

Sequim junior Cooper Hiatt said the event feels meaningful because it’s “cool we get to help fundraise for kids like us. As someone interested in being in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), I believe everyone should have an education.”

Rotary past President Ann Flack said the Sequim students’ efforts are inspiring.

“It’s good for the community and helps these kids understand Service above Self while helping people that are less fortunate,” she said.

Rotary International serves as the intermediary for the funds to help find communities with installation of a well or pump. Local Rotary leaders’ long-term goal, Reichner said, is to continue raising funds and send students to help with the installation of wells. She traveled in 2016 through WE Charity and EF Tours to Ecuador to help build a school.

“It was inspiring to work alongside Ecuadorian teachers and students and see first-hand how similar and different we are despite cultural and geographic distance,” she said. “This type of hands-on learning really shows the power of living locally and thinking globally. Until then, we’ll keep leaning into social media to keep us connected.”

Those looking to help Interact Club’s efforts this year can mail a check to: Sequim High School, 601 N. Sequim Ave., Sequim, WA, 98382; make checks out to “Sequim High School” with the memo line: “Walk for Water, Interact Club.”

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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