Join us and our team as we support Emma Rider to continue saving lives with safe water. If Emma wins the Jefferson Lead360 Award, she could travel to Thailand, Fiji, Tanzania, Peru, India, Costa Rica, or next year’s Super Bowl as a WaterStep Ambassador. Join us in furthering WaterStep’s mission of saving lives with safe water. Here is what you can do:
1. Commit to voting for Emma at least once a day until May 21st, here. It’s just one click! Set up a reminder on your phone or laptop and start voting today. And by the way, you can vote multiple times a day as log as your internet source changes. So vote throughout the day if you can.
2. Share the link on Twitter and Facebook, or copy and paste this post to an email and send it out to friends to encourage them to join in. Check the pages each day to learn more about Emma and share or retweet our posts.
3. Champion Emma’s cause at your work, school or organization by motivating them to vote every day.
Together, we can support Emma to save lives with safe water all around the world.
Read more about Emma’s story with WaterStep below.
Teenager Emma Rider, from southern Delaware, has collected over 80,000 pounds of shoes to support WaterStep. Those 80,000 shoes have supported safe water projects all over the world, thanks to Emma’s dedication.
Emma first heard about WaterStep through her brothers who took mission trips with WaterStep. Emma soon heard about the trips and joined in. When Emma’s brother worked for WaterStep over the summer as an intern, he shared facts and statistics with her about the world’s water crisis.
“The statistics that got me were that a child a died every 10 seconds due to a water related disease. I love kids so I couldn’t hear that and ignore it,” she said.
She set her first goal to collect 4,000 pairs of shoes, which would pay for one purification system at the time, but she exceeded her goal, collecting 8,500 in just five months.
She quickly set her next goal of 22,000 shoes, and collected even more than her goal again. “I’ve stopped setting goals because they always exceed my expectation,” she said. Members of the WaterStep staff have even called her the “Shoe Princess,” because of how successful and hard-working she has been with her shoe drives.
To promote shoe drives, Emma speaks at different 4h groups, schools, organizations, and churches. “At first I would contact a church and try to get in the newspaper to gain some attention,” she said, “ But at this point, people contact me to ask me to speak.” When she speaks, Emma shares the story of the world’s water crisis and what WaterStep is doing to help.
In January 2013, Emma went to Kenya to help install three water purifiers and was able to experience her own work come full circle. Emma’s older brother, who was supposed to lead the training, became sick the final day of the trip when he was supposed to train locals how to use the chlorine generator.
The missionary that was with them looked to Emma and said, “You’ll have to train them.” Emma stepped up to the plate and trained 12 African men how to install a chlorine generator. “It was cool to see that they listened to and trusted me, this American teenage girl.”
Emma also is passionate about the WaterBall, and speaking about it when she can. At a WaterStep event, she met a woman from Uganda who told her about how she grew up hauling water everyday and she had to walk for miles, knowing that this water she was hauling would eventually make her family sick. “The fact that I met her and she had so many stories and she didn’t go to school because she hauled water for her family really motivated me,” Emma said.
Emma talks about the WaterBall because her audiences are often groups of women who can connect to the women in developing countries who must sacrifice hours each day for their families.
Emma has made a huge impact on WaterStep’s mission through shoe collection, leading a training in the field, supporting the WaterBall and so much more. Her story is a reminder that anyone at any age can make a difference in the world. For more info on collecting shoes, check out our Why Shoes page.