“It’s our job to give back. It’s crazy if we don’t.” -Mark Taylor, Water For People volunteer and Arizona Committee member
Across North America, more than 50 volunteer Committees support Water For People’s mission through community outreach, advocacy, and fundraising. Sami Carroccio leads the Water For People Committee in Arizona, where she passionately spreads the word about ending the global water crisis.
“It’s such a great cause and an important mission,” Sami shares. “The biggest thing I learned from Water For People is that unlike groups that build wells and leave, Water For People is different because they get communities involved. They educate the people they serve and help them build a sustainable future, instead of just doing the work for them.”
Sami and her Committee meet monthly to learn about Water For People’s work and share it with new members. Outside of their meetings, they plan five events a year that raise money for Water For People, including a 5k run, golf tournament, wine and beer tastings, and a bike ride as part of the Tour de Tucson. The committee’s all-time fundraising totals over $760,000!
For Sami, knowing the funds raised from these events are helping women and girls around the world is what keeps her coming back to volunteer her time.
“Women and children are often the ones tasked with getting water,” she explains. “For me, it stands out that we’re so focused on helping women and girls, to give children the time to go to school and for the adults to have paid jobs. The Committee finds so much value in being involved.”
Mark Taylor is another member of the Arizona Committee who finds value not only in participating in the group, but by volunteering his skills as a water and wastewater engineer through Water For People’s technical volunteer arm, the World Water Corps.
Mark has been participating on assignments with the World Water Corps for ten years. These projects, which can take up to nine months to complete, have taken Mark to visit Water For People’s work in Africa and Central and South America. Even though the projects are a commitment of personal time and resources, Mark says he keeps coming back because he truly believes in Water For People’s model.
“Water For People really spends the time to train people and design something that is operational and functional for the resources that exist, so it can be maintained for a long time,” Mark explains.
Mark says he learns so much through doing these assignments. He recounts one of his first assignments where he went to Honduras. He visited a reservoir in need of repair in a mountainous region and immediately believed he knew how to fix it, based on what would work in the U.S. When he proposed the solution, he realized it would mean families at higher elevation would lose their water access. The solution he would use in the U.S. wouldn’t work – he needed to find what would be sustainable for that specific context.
“I’ve gotten as much out of the assignments as the people we’ve helped,” Mark says. “I’ve walked away from every project having learned something, expanding my horizons on how things are developed and built.”
To Mark, Sami, and hundreds of other Water For People volunteers globally, giving back is just a way of life.
“Most of us are so lucky, and have such great lives,” shares Mark. “It’s just our job to give back. It’s crazy if we don’t.”
If you’re Arizona-based and are interested in joining the Committee, you can email Sami.
If you are interested in getting involved with the World Water Corps, click here.