Water for South Sudan is pleased to highlight Michelle Hammond, the students and staff of Stephen Decatur Middle School, and their community for their outstanding support. Since 2017, they have raised over $33,000, enabling us to drill two new wells and deeply impacting lives in South Sudan.
We sat down with Michelle Hammond, a 7th grade teacher at Stephen Decatur Middle School in Maryland, to learn more about how she and her students have been inspired to support Water for South Sudan.
WFSS: How did you first get involved with WFSS?
MH: About three years ago we started implementing the state standards to bring more non-fiction into the curriculum. I connected with our social studies teacher and selected A Long Walk to Water to read with my class. The social studies teacher helps students to understand the geography of Africa while I focus on South Sudan. In science, the students learn about natural water filtration and why the aquifer is safer than ground water, as a great way to connect to the book.
I will never forget that first year reading the book. One of my students stood up and said, “We have to do something to help these people.” We found the WFSS website and set a goal to raise $2,000 at our first Water Walk. We had 350 kids participate the first year and I was blown away by how much money the kids were bringing in—they shared their ice cream money, birthday checks, and change—helping to raise over $8,800.
WFSS: What has surprised you most about WFSS over the years?
MH: I could not believe WFSS only had four full-time and one part-time staff members in the U.S. to help manage everything. They make it so easy to support this cause.
WFSS: What do you wish other people knew about WFSS?
MH: I wish they knew how far the money goes. A donation of $15,000 will save hundreds of people from illness and help to provide schools and jobs.