Water Blog - WaterStep

“I want to do my part.”

WaterStep is well-known for the work we do internationally. But, what often goes unnoticed is our local impact. WaterStep is dedicated to the cultivation of young people, challenging and equipping them to change the world and serve others. Not only are you saving lives in the developing world, but you are a part of shaping the valuable, young minds of our future. For this month’s Works of Water, it is our honor to introduce you to Rachel.


unknown-1“Hi, I’m Rachel. I am from Louisville, and graduate from Assumption High School.  When I was young, I really never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. All I knew is that I wanted to travel the world and help people. Girl Scouts and my mom instilled in me ideas of compassion and the importance of seeing, and helping those around you. My passion for helping others, and desire to understand new cultures, has been a fundamental part of my life for as long as I can remember. 

In January 2016, I had the opportunity to travel to Uganda for a month. The most meaningful part of the trip was the village home-stay. No documentary or textbook could prepare me to actually experience someone else’s life. It was there that I met Rachel. She was the same age as me, had the same name as me, goes to college, likes boys, and does chores too. It was interesting to experience the similarities, but also be faced with the reality that she gets water with jerry cans from the well. This trip gave me a personal, firsthand connection in cultural understandings, as well as the experience of limited access to water. I was reminded of why I want to do my part in creating a better world. 

In high school I had the opportunity to be a WaterStep Ambassador. It was WaterStep’s first time piloting the Ambassador Program. Despite my involvement fizzling out, I never forgot their awesome mission. Five years later, I wanted to find a summer opportunity where I could gain experience in the Public Health field. It was this past summer that I made my way back to WaterStep, and once again, fell in love with the mission.

WaterStep gave me more than I could have ever imagined this summer. This opportunity allowed me to be surrounded by passionate individuals, innovative technologies that solve real world problems, and to observe successful, international partnerships.

WaterStep also gave me direction and skills that I know I will value in my future. Just wanting to help people isn’t enough to create change. I need skills and experience, and working at WaterStep strengthened in me new areas, such as Development. Having a fundamental knowledge of ways to bring safe water and sanitation to communities, paired with Development skills, means I can begin bring change in multiple ways, both to the field and behind the scenes. Being at WaterStep helped me develop my passion, skills, and goals, better preparing me for my next step, and my future.

I am currently interning in Washington, D.C. for Women of Peace Corps Legacy, and Health Volunteers Overseas, and will graduate from Centre College this spring. I have decided that I wanted to pursue Public Health as my venue for creating positive changes in communities, both close to home and abroad. In one month I will begin the year-long process of applying to the Peace Corps. I hope to volunteer in a health posting for 2 years. I fully anticipate that water and women’s health education will be an integral part of my future, especially since working with WaterStep.

I want to continue to explore the world, and gain new experiences that open my eyes to different perspectives. I want to continue to change and grow as a person, so I can better help others.

Thank you for supporting me. Without your support of WaterStep and the work they do in developing communities, I would not have had this valuable experience. I consider you an agent of change in helping me develop the skills I need to see and bring change to the world around me. Thank you.”

Save MORE Lives at Give Local Louisville

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The excitement is building as we get closer and closer to September 15! Stay tuned for some big announcements that we’ll be making on Facebook over the next few weeks. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you stay connected by “liking” us @waterstep or signing up for our newsletter here.

Give Local Louisville is organized by the Community Foundation of Louisville, and is the biggest day of online giving in our community. You can make your gift between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, September 15 by clicking here. This year the incentive pool is over $200,000 and includes more prizes.  Unique gifts (1 gift of $10 or more) can be made multiple times throughout the day by the same donor, which increases the chance of prizes. Giving isn’t limited to only those in Louisville, so please share this opportunity with your friends and family

Please read below for specific details on the prizes,  and contact Jessi about how to maximize the impact of your gift.


Bonus Pool
The $150,000 Bonus Pool will be distributed equally among nonprofits that reach certain tiers:
Tier #1:            Secure 25 unique gifts – receive an equal split of $50,000
Tier #2:            Secure 50 unique gifts – receive an equal split of $50,000
Tier #3:            Secure 75 unique gifts – receive an equal split of $50,000

Grand Prizes
Most Dollars Raised: Awards will be given in each of the three income/size categories (small, medium, and large nonprofits) Courtesy of Harshaw Trane.
First place:      $3,500
Second place:  $2,000
Third place:     $1,500
Fourth place:   $1,000
Fifth place:      $500

Most Unique Gifts: Awards will be given in each of the three income/size categories (small, medium, and large nonprofits) Courtesy of Harshaw Trane.
First place:      $3,500
Second place:  $2,000
Third place:     $1,500
Fourth place:   $1,000
Fifth place:      $500

Strategic Prizes
Early Bird: $1,000 to the organization that receives the first single online gift of $500 or more.
Morning Rush: $1,000 to the organization with the most unique online gifts between 5:00-8:00 a.m.
Evening Surprise: $1,000 awarded between 4:00-7:00 p.m.; surprise criteria will be announced on social media at 4:00 p.m.
Late Night: $1,000 to the organization with the most unique donors o online gifts between 10:00-11:59 p.m.
Newcomer Prize: $1,000 to the organization participating in Give Local Louisville for the first time that raises the most dollars.

CQ Jam 2016

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Join us this year at the 4th Annual CQ Jam!

CQ Jam will be held at Captain’s Quarters Riverside Grille on Saturday, September 10 from 2pm to 10pm.

The night of great music and beautiful scenery benefits WaterStep, the Louisville-based organization that works to save lives around the world with safe water. There will be feature performances by Lonza Bartlett of the Legacy Platters and Motown artist AJ Mullins.

Doors open at 12pm and the suggested donation is $20 per person, which will fully go towards saving lives with safe water.

For more information, call (502) 568-6342, or contact Jessi at Jessi.Gross@WaterStep.org


“Water Is Everything”


“Hi, my name is Mercy. I am from Kakamega, Kenya, but I am here because of your gift of safe water. Water has been a challenging thing for me from primary to high school. There was one well for 2,000 students, but during the sunny season, the well would dry, making us have to go to the river, where nearby factories disposed chemicals into the water. It was not safe. Sometimes kids drink this water and they die from it. In America, everyone has water inside. We don’t have that in my village. At home, in my village, there is a pump and a well, but both are far away. We would walk with jugs and fetch the water. The water was very heavy, and we would have to make several trips. We had to use chlorine solution to make our water safe. But many people didn’t have it, or they didn’t know how to use it, or that drinking their water without treatment is dangerous for their health. People don’t understand. Kids are suffering from waterborne diseases, and many of them are dying because they gather and drink from a stagnant stream, where there are many mosquitos, which have Malaria, then the kids get sick. Many people die. This summer I am interning at WaterStep. When I was in high school, WaterStep gave my high school, Covenant Peace Christian School, a WaterBall, and it changed how we carried water. It was much easier, and faster, making more time for studies. I first came to Louisville in 2013 through a student extension program with Christian Academy of Louisville. I had the opportunity to come study in America for 3-4 months, which inspired me to pursue a career in Public Health and Business. During the extension program, I became close with my host family, and they invited me back in 2015 to stay with them while I attend university. They helped me apply and become a student at University of Cumberland, where I can continue to educate myself on how I can help others. I have just finished my first year at university. It is important to me for my future career to understand how business works, so I can help others have the tools they need to see their lives changed. I came to WaterStep because I was inspired to expand my views on how to work with this organization, so I can eventually help other communities. If I can have knowledge, then I can apply it to help other people. To be a part of a business that is doing a good thing is really empowering for me. I have a passion to help people, and see children live. If I can learn how to do this good work in my future, I can share this great news in other communities. In these growing countries, kids die every single day from things we can prevent with safe water. If we can do one small thing to prevent millions of kids from dying, it is better than not doing anything. There is not enough safe water for everyone. Water is everything. And if it’s not safe, nothing is safe. There is good improvement with the water. We have to do something.”

Works of Water

“I was thirsty, and you gave me drink,”
is a mantra that governs WaterStep’s mission to save lives with safe water.


Each day we are engaging with multiple communities, empowering them to be transformed by equal access to safe water, however our followers and supporters rarely see the faces of those they are saving. You may find yourself asking, “Who am I really helping?”

WaterStep is introducing a series focusing on Works of Water. The Works of Water series will connect you to the faces of those impacted by your support.

On behalf of those impacted by safe water, and our staff at WaterStep, “Thank you.”

Together, we are doing so much more.