“How far would you walk for water?”
That’s a common question leading up to PCI’s Walk for Water happening in San Diego on April 19th and the first thing Dylan will ask you if you ask him about the event. (The second being: are you going?)
Dylan is the president of his county’s Walk for Water committee, where he coordinates over 40 students from 18 other high schools to raise awareness for PCI’s Walk for Water. He’s also captain of his school’s Model UN, President of the environmental club, Chief of Staff for the President of the student government, and he founded a non-profit that connects students around the world through online classes to work on projects and better understand each other’s cultures. Water aside, he walks for anything that is working to positively change our world.
Dylan’s first experience with PCI was in March 2013, on a community service trip to India, where he worked with orphans and vulnerable children.
“You arrive and you’re worried. The goal was to provide mentorship education to kids growing up in an entrenched caste system that tells them they deserve poverty; it’s their destiny. A big message to overcome was their sense of self worth. In turn, we reflected our own sense of self worth, and realized what we wanted to do, and how to be global citizens.”
He’s also been to Tanzania with PCI, where he saw firsthand that women and girls walk up to 6 hours to fetch water filled with cholera and typhoid. Attempting it himself was a humbling experience. “The buckets are heavy, and the girls who are doing the same thing as me are charging forward. It’s unbelievable.”
Seeing the process of how people actually walk for water made him more excited to participate. And given his schedule, he sees great value in hours, even minutes a day. By helping them gain access to water and sanitation, “it not only gives them health, it gives them 6 hours back. Six hours to get an education, support their family, join the workforce. It all starts with water.”
He met people in Tanzania who had been directly impacted by PCI’s work, who knew that impact came from the Walk for Water. “Seeing that impact validates the work.”
“The Walk for Water is a way for me to provide an actual impact on the world, and I love it.” And not surprisingly, this isn’t his first Walk for Water – it’s his third. As co-president last year, he raised $70,000, and he’s on track to raise even more this year.
What’s next for Dylan? He’s still waiting on decisions coming in for college, and isn’t sure what he wants to study yet. Maybe environmental science, computer science, politics, or business. Ultimately, something that will have a positive impact on the larger global community.
In the meantime, he’s pulling his group together for the last big push in the weeks leading up the Walk. “Walking for a few hours can change someone’s life. It’s more than just walking, it’s helping lives around the world.”
So – How far would you walk for water?