June 26, 2024

McCallum PALS Raise $8,600 for Clean Water by Skipping Showers

In an inspiring display of empathy and creativity, a group of high school students turned a simple daily routine into a powerful fundraising campaign for a cause that’s changing lives worldwide. By choosing to skip showers, these young activists raised significant funds for Well Aware, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing clean and sustainable water solutions in East Africa.

The Global Water Crisis’ Effect on Students

In regions experiencing water scarcity, many children walk an average of 3.7 miles each day to gather water for their families, usually carrying 5-gallon jerry cans that can weigh up to 40 pounds. They often miss school to do so, and can easily fall behind and drop out.

With access to clean water, education increases by 34% on average, and 58% for girls specifically.

For every year a girl remains in school in Kenya, her future income increases by 12%.

Students across the world have the same heart, ears, eyes, and dreams, but what significantly makes their realities different is what basic rights they have access to. In East Africa, it is rare that students have access to clean water, meaning they end up skipping school in search of this precious resource. And education is power. This is why the McCallum Alliance went on Shower Strike: to help students in East Africa.

Meet the McCallum PALS

The PALS at McCallum High School, led by teacher Richard Cowles, raised $8,597 in one week for Well Aware’s 2024 Shower Strike, impacting 430 people through clean water. Cowles, long time supporter of Well Aware, first introduced our organization into his classroom in 2015, sparking what we know as our Classrooms to Clean Water Initiative today.

By Cowles inviting Well Aware into his classroom, we have had an opportunity every year since to introduce the global water crisis to his students and empower them to make a difference. To date, the PALS have raised over $30,000, impacting more than 1,958 people through access to clean water, which is no easy feat.


“I didn’t expect us to raise as much money as we did so it’s very impressive. As a class, it makes us feel like we are able to make a change.” senior Ellaiden Margrave

430 More People Now Have Clean Water

Their involvement over the years has shifted as each year students want to focus on fundraising in new and innovative ways, but many skipped showers this year causing some noise throughout the school.

“I heard a lot of students sort of questioning it, saying that it was gross and different, but I personally think it meant a lot being able to contribute to a cause that is going to help people out,” senior Ana Meija said. “The whole point of this strike is to raise awareness towards this situation.”

Read the original article written by McCallum Journalism where this quote is featured here.

“The students raised money during Shower Strike by walking around the school carrying around big buckets to ask for donations. They also all went on a unified Shower Strike to preserve water and to publicize the inequitable access to water around the world. Everyone in PALS participated in Shower Strike, but only four did the full Shower Strike by avoiding running water for the entire week of the strike, April 22-30. Most did water-conserving showers, either three-minute daily military showers or bucket baths.”

By being bold and participating in a quirky campaign, these students changed the lives of 430 people in one week.

Students Make a Difference

Our team and partner communities are so thankful for the PALS’ commitment to clean water and doing their part in changing the world. It is an honor that we can make a difference in the world with students who are desperate to do good in the world. Clean water is life and all the building blocks sit upon this foundation.

In a world facing numerous challenges, these high school students remind us that innovative thinking and a compassionate heart can pave the way for significant change. Their continued story is a testament to the power of youth and a beacon of hope for a brighter, more equitable future. Thank you McCallum PALS from the bottom of our hearts.

Interested in getting your class involved for the 2024-2025 school year? Learn more here.

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