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The 411 of Project Water

Project Water is well known in the North Allegheny School District, but what is unknown are the roots of this organization.

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Children and teachers gather around the new water harvesting system.

Project Water is in full motion at NAI.

Students have already assembled their teams and are preparing for the dodgeball tournament. While the dodgeball tournament is important, most students don’t recognize the cause, or even how Project Water started.

Josh Thomas, a 2017 NA graduate, is the spark that started the fire.

“Seeing firsthand the global need for clean water and humanitarian relief was life-changing. Experiences with my family in India and while on several international missions trips opened my eyes to injustice around the world”, he says.

While Project Water is a huge foundation now, it started off a as a small dream, crafted by a few teenagers. “When I got together with Dave Bjorklund, MJ Barton, and Ben Cinker, we were excited to jump at the opportunity to get others involved…We raised just over $3,000 with the first tournament at NAI back in 2015”.

The first dodgeball tournament occurred on April 1, 2015; 30 teams participated, with each team having 5 players in an all-day tournament at NAI.

Since then, Project Water has seen a 600% increase in attendance since the first tournament, and over 150% increase since last year alone.

“It is rewarding to have watched this organization grow from day one to what it is today. As I look ahead with anticipation and expectation, big things are coming soon for Project Water, and I am more than happy to have a front row seat along the way,” Thomas adds.

“Nothing would be possible without our volunteers! Their willingness to serve our cause is both humbling and inspiring,” Thomas says. “There are plenty of opportunities to get involved, and there are virtually no limits to what our team can dream up and accomplish. Every year presents a new set of challenges. Watching everything come together by tournament day is an incredible journey.”

 

Since Project Water started, they have funded:

In Kyenjojo, Uganda:

-1 Water Harvesting System for a school

-1 Septic Tank System for a Medical Center

-1 Septic Tank System for a School Dormitory

-1 Community Bore Hole Well

-1 4-Bedroom House for Homeless Families

 

Location Undisclosed (For security reasons, until a later date):

-1 Mechanized Clean Water Well

-Other global clean water initiatives

 

Project Water isn’t all about the dodgeball tournament. While it is an important element, it is good to take a step back and look at the cause.

 

Thomas adds, “Many people in Africa have to walk the distance from NAI to downtown Pittsburgh to collect clean water for their family. These gifts change lives beyond our years in high school. These gifts change everything, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of NA students, teachers, administration, and parents.  Students who participate are also deeply impacted by the experience components of our tournaments. After having spent time in someone else’s shoes, many have a renewed perspective and desire to serve others in communities both locally and abroad.”

 

Click HERE to access the full interview with Joshua Thomas 

 

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The 411 of Project Water