Students and faculty at Sunset Heights may notice some peculiar scents during the week of April 23 to 30. All five second-grade classes and their teachers will be abstaining from their daily hygiene routines to raise money for water wells in Kenya. Students are encouraged to wash up, but not shower or wash their hair. The Shower Strike will last the whole school week.
“The point is helping other people,” said Sunset Heights Second Grade Teacher Dawn Scholtens.
The Shower Strike is made possible through the Well Aware organization.
According to its website,Well Aware is a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Austin, Texas that provides innovative and sustainable solutions to water scarcity and contamination in Africa. The organization funds and implements water systems to drive economic development and build self-sufficient communities.
Scholtens started the annual event at Sunset Heights 5 years ago. Scholtens heard about the event from her sister-in-law, who was on the Well-Aware Board at the time.
“My sister-in-law actually was, at that time, on the board for Well-Aware and she told me about it. I thought it sounded like fun and a good idea for my kids to learn that they can make a difference and they can help other people,” said Scholtens.
Scholtens said she’s excited about the sixth year of fundraising and noted it is a special one. This is the first year of the event that all five second grade classrooms and teachers are involved. In previous years, Scholtens’ second grade class alone had been involved.
“We’ve set a goal of $10,000. In the past we have raised $2,000 plus each year, my class, so this year we’re going to go for $10,000,” Scholtens said.
The students and teachers will be wearing the same shirt throughout the entire week. Each day a student doesn’t shower, they get to check off a box on the back of their shirt.
“Their shirts are so filthy after they’ve worn them all week long,” said Scholtens.
Next week, second graders at Sunset will begin a Kenya unit. Students will have the opportunity to learn about water scarcity, animal life, and what schools are like in Kenya through project-based learning. Presentations on matters of interest to students will also occur during the week of the Shower Strike.
Scholtens said the Shower Strike has been a positive experience each year her class has participated.
“It was a lot of fun and the kids really liked it and they really get the understanding that people are dying because they don’t have clean water to drink,” said Scholtens.
“We had a little boy, two years ago, and he sold some of his action figures and brought in $42.87 … It was the most touching thing ever. I just cried,” said Scholtens.
A staff jean day and student hat day will be happening during the week to help raise money for the Shower Strike. The last Friday of the month, teachers can wear blue jeans if they pay $5. Students will be able to wear a hat to school for one of the days during the Shower Strike if they pay $1.
“We’d like to bring the community on board with us,” Scholtens said, “We thought maybe we could put containers around town, or if there were businesses that just wanted to donate, we’ll be glad to get that site out there,” said Scholtens.
Donations can be taken to Sunset Heights with checks should be made out to Shower Strike.
“The kids really do get into it. I think they feel good that they can make a difference. That they learn they can do that. Hopefully that’s something they’ll continue to do as they grow up, be involved in things and try to make a difference,” said Scholtens.
For more information about Well Aware visit wellawareworld.org. For more information about Shower Strike.
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