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why I’m partnering with charity: water

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My Dad & I at the charity: water HQ with Stacie Zellmer & Kevin Lai

About two months ago, I began to understand the word “partnership” through a completely new lens.

Before my 21st birthday, I decided  to do something different. The big 2-1 usually signifies a liquid-saturated celebration  that leaves you forgetting what you celebrated in the first place. I wanted to remember this milestone, but utilize it to bring life, rather than waste away my own.

I had originally heard about charity: water through a 9-year-old’s story. Rachel wanted to give her life away so that other’s could, in turn, have life. For her 9th birthday, she set up a birthday campaign with charity: water. After her birthday, Rachel was killed in a tragic card accident. Hearing her story, family, friends & strangers carried on Rachel’s legacy in raising over $1.2 million. What started as a dream of raising $300 for a 9th birthday celebration, turned into a much bigger reality than Rachel could have ever dreamed of.

Hearing Rachel’s story, I couldn’t help but be inspired. I immediately researched what charity: water was all about and instantly bought into their vision of bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. I love the 100% model and the fact that I can literally track where my fundraiser’s donations are going in complete confidence that every dollar given is released to people in need. In 18 months, I will even receive GPS coordinates and pictures of the LIFE we were able to give to people.

charity: water gives a simple, clear, yet extremely compelling story:

800 million people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. We’re working to change that. Join us and learn how you can help.

This is partnership at its core. For the past few years, I have seen the word “partner” spring up and didn’t quite grasp its true meaning until my 21st birthday. Partnership is coming together. It’s going beyond yourself and taking a stand against injustice. It’s seen in the faces of friends huddled together in prayer, encouraging messages on donation boards, re-tweets, likes on Facebook, a team in NYC working to make giving clean drinking water a reality, a girl giving up a new tattoo to make a statement with her life, one family building a home for another family who doesn’t have one—this is partnership. Once you’ve tasted something bigger than yourself, you can’t help but want to be a part of the story.

I’m stoked about my partnership with charity: water. I couldn’t be more excited about what this organization is doing and how I can partner with them. What are you passionate about? Is it giving clean drinking water? Partner with charity: water. Is it rescuing girls enslaved in sex trafficking? Partner with the A21 Campaign. Stoked about building houses for families who don’t have anywhere to live? Partner with Habitat for Humanity. These are just a few ideas…find a story bigger than yourself and dive in. You won’t be disappointed.

Update on my birthday campaign: I reached my goal! I wanted to give clean drinking water to 21 people for my 21st birthday and you partnered with me in making that dream a reality! Thank you! Stay tuned for more campaigns.

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