Paper for Water

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Paper for Water

Travis Nolan, Writer

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Paper for Water is a non-profit organization started 7 years ago by two girls, Isabelle and Katherine Adams, who were 5 and 8 years old at the time. They had learned to fold some origami models from their father, Kenneth Adams, who is a Cistercian alumnus. The girls decided to fold origami modular ornaments for a month, and sell them to raise money that would be donated to bring water to people in a third world country. They were so successful that month that they decided to continue, and the project has been growing since. They have now raised over $1.6 million, and built more than 170 wells in 17 different countries.

I have folded origami obsessively for about ten years now, and had recently begun doing volunteer work with Paper for Water. In November, I attended a seven year anniversary Gala for the organization. The event was very well put together and enjoyable, and it was great to see how big the Paper for Water volunteer community has grown. Their speaker at the event, David O’Brien, announced Paper for Water’s “Fund a Well” initiative, in which a person or group of people can pledge to raise twenty thousand dollars, which is enough money for Paper for Water to fully fund the production of another well in Kenya.

At the time, my class had not yet decided on our ring speaker, and we had been discussing what our class “legacy” might be. Talking with a few classmates, we thought that working to get the class of 2020 to raise twenty thousand dollars to fund a well would be a fantastic opportunity to create our legacy and to help those less fortunate than ourselves. We announced it to the class shortly thereafter, and it was enthusiastically taken up. We have met since then during many lunches and activities periods to fold and assemble origami ornaments. Our project has taken on the name “Well Done 2020.”

Evan Anderson agreed to include this initiative in his ring speech, and we sold ornaments after the ceremony to raise money. We will be working throughout this year with Paper for Water to reach this goal. You will likely see me or members of my class promoting this cause and selling ornaments or other things. If you would like to donate, donations can be made online. Check the Informer website for more details on how to donate!

There are other fundraisers taking place this month. The first of these was a booth we manned at a Lunar New Year’s Celebration on February 9th at Watters Creek in Allen. Members of the junior class folded and sold origami, and promoted Paper For Water. All proceeds we raised at the event will go towards our goal. The event celebrated the beginning of the year of the pig, and featured taekwondo, tai chi, and lion dances. This was a very successful way to promote our cause.

The second fundraiser will be done through Cistercian directly. Well Done 2020 is collaborating with Student Council on their Valentine’s day fundraiser. This year, upper schoolers will have the option to buy a handcrafted origami heart, folded by members of the junior class, that will be delivered with the chocolate and note to any Ursuline or Hockaday student. All money made from origami sales will also go towards our goal.

Another program that Paper for Water has recently announced is their Christmas Tree Project, in which a donor can purchase an entire tree covered in origami ornaments for a more substantial donation. We will be working to find potential donors interested in this project throughout the year as well.

As we see this project to its completion, we will be able to dramatically change the lives of the people of a Kenyan community. We hope that this project will also serve to further unite us as a form in our final year-and-a-half at Cistercian, and that it will help us to carry a habit of generosity into our lives after Cistercian. But this is not just a project for our form. This is a chance for everyone in the Cistercian community to get involved in a good cause. Whether it be by donating or by helping fold origami, all of the support given to us helps. This project would not be possible without you all. So thank you for that support, and we hope to see you at an event in the future.

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