San Diego High School Students Unite to Walk for Water

How far would you walk for clean water? To your kitchen? To the store? Imagine walking up to six hours each day in search of water. Around the world, more than one billion people lack access to clean water, causing more deaths each year than war. Additionally, 50% of all schools in the world don’t have access to fresh water or sanitation. In fact, a woman in a water-stressed area could spend 10 years of her life collecting water.

At PCI, they have worked since 1961 to address basic health concerns in developing nations like the lack of access to clean water. They are proud to host their 5th Annual 5K Walk for Water on April 28, 2013 in Mission Bay. Participants carry water in a simulated journey that raises awareness and funds to address this global crisis. Donations and proceeds from the event will go toward funding water systems for remote water-deprived regions and PCI’s lifesaving programs around the world.

The Walk for Water is one of the many PCI initiatives made possible by the generous support of Southwest Airlines, their longtime corporate partner. Lidia Martinez, Southwest Airlines Manager of Community Affairs, has been an enthusiastic advocate for our work. “We believe in PCI and its power to change lives. We are proud to be partnering with such a wonderful organization,” Lidia tells Giving Back Magazine.

What makes PCI’s Walk for Water so unique is that since its inception, it has been completely organized and run by a county-wide group of high school students. Students from 17 high schools meet monthly to plan this 1500-person event, which includes live music, food booths, kids’ activities and water conservation tips. Among the schools participating are Bonita Vista High School, Canyon Crest High School, Carlsbad High School, Cathedral Catholic High School, Francis Parker High School, La Costa Canyon High School, La Jolla Country Day, La Jolla High School, Pacific Ridge School, San Diego Jewish Academy, Torrey Pines High School and The Bishop’s School.

The students creatively added an additional way to raise awareness about the event through an online peer-to-peer fundraising platform: On this website, they create their own personal page about the cause and promote it to their networks.

“This event promotes awareness and compassion toward the water conservation issues that affect the rest of the world. With the energy and passion of these students, we hope to create that awareness starting at a local level,” said George Guimaraes, President and CEO of PCI.

PCI has seen an increase in interest in global issues among local high schools, with global learning and travel programs as well as the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Because of this trend, they recently launched their Global Youth Leadership Program, a semester-long program focused on global leadership skills through a leadership based curriculum and service-learning. Open to high school students across San Diego County, this innovative program provides teens with the opportunity to develop concrete leadership skills and apply them in the planning and execution of PCI’s 2013 Walk for Water. The inaugural class started in January 2013 with 13 students from five different high schools.

Westfield Malls, Roadrunner Sports and PCI have partnered to promote access to clean, safe water locally and globally. Promotional events will be held Sunday, April 21 from 1:00pm-4:00pm at various Westfield Malls, and the Road Runner Sports store in Clairemont Mesa will sponsor a participant day on Saturday, April 27 including store giveaways and prizes.

Additional event sponsors include Nika Water, Whole Foods, UPS, Southwest Airlines, and Viejas Casino. Registration is open to the public. Visit today for more information and to register.

Lidia S. Martinez
Manager, Community Affairs & Grassroots
Southwest Airlines

 Lidia S. Martinez 2014