Since 2015, Lusher Middle School–led by 6th grade social studies teacher Christa Talbott–has raised over $83,000 for the Water for South Sudan project, “partially sponsoring one new well, fully sponsoring four new wells, one rehab, and one hygiene program. Their contributions have positively impacted the lives of more than 2,500 people in South Sudan.”
WFSS has named Mrs. Talbott their “Super Supporter of the Month” for June 2020! Please take a few minutes to read this inspiring interview with Christa and join us in congratulating her on such an incredibly meaningful achievement. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
WFSS: Once you get the buy-in from the kids, what do you do? You’re raising between $18,000 and $19,000 per year. That is a lot! How do you guys do this?
CT: During “Heart and Soul Week” we fundraise; we do this all in one week. Prior to that week, we have what we call a “Walk for Water.” It’s similar to a fun-run. The kids get sponsors, and then during their recess, they walk laps around the track. They give up their recess time for the “Walk for Water”. Some kids even choose to run their laps. At the end of recess, they record their laps and this number determines how much their sponsors will donate.
I distinguish the “Walk for Water” from your everyday “Oh, I’m asking for money again”-type fundraiser by explaining before they even get their sponsor forms about the importance of how they present this idea, how important it is, not only for the people who are going to benefit from the well, but how important it is to you, and why you are doing this. We, also, have a lot of conversations about asking for donations; you’re not just gonna send Grandma a text and say, “Hey, will you sponsor me?” You’re going to call on the phone and say “Hey, we’ve been reading this book about a young man named Salva. He has this story…” and tell them whatever you’re thinking, what stood out the most for you about it, why it is important, talk about how we’re reading about this little girl walking for water twice a day, and the things that come from not having good drinking water. We’re all sitting here with water bottles at our fingertips and need to understand what that means. I ask them to share how this is meaningful for them and money can help, and that they should share this message with others. Dr. King’s birthday is a school holiday, and I always tell them it’s a “day on”, not a “day off.” Because most kids can’t go volunteer or do some big community service event, they can make phone calls on this day and get sponsors for the walk. I tell them to take that day, take an hour, go through your phone, call anybody and everybody: Nanny, Grandma, Papa, anybody that would sponsor you and get you more sponsors. This way they can set goals for their laps. And that’s what they’re doing on their day off. I have some kids out there running 15 laps and our recess is only 20 to 25 minutes.