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.
“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.”