#CoffeeMeetsWater: An Evening of Photography & Film

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In support of World Water Day, which is celebrated annually on March 22nd, we held a special event on March 19th  to showcase photography and film from our most recent trip to Sidama, Ethiopia.  On this trip, in partnership with Let it Flow, we repaired broken water wells for thousands of people, and taught the local communities how to maintain and fix them on their own in the future.

Did you know that 783 million people worldwide do not have access to clean and safe water, and that 43 million of them live in Ethiopia? Through our photography and film exhibit, we were able to share the journey that the people of Sidama faced to restore clean water, so that over 2,000 people in their community no longer have to walk hours to collect water from  dirty rivers and streams.

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Held at The G2 Gallery in Venice, CA, the evening consisted of drinks, light bites, and coffee from one of our campaign partners Demitasse! And special thanks to our friends at Pop Art Snacks and Yum Yum Donuts Lynwood for their contributions of insanely delicious gourmet popcorn and tasty donut holes that perfectly complimented our film screening and coffee station.

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And a HUGE thank you to our partners 925 FILMS and See Mimi Go for their truly amazing film and photography. To see more of Mimi’s photos, visit her on Instagram; and see the film here:

Check out some of the fun photos our guests took throughout the evening and at the photo booth, and follow along on Instagram and #CoffeeMeetsWater to see more photos!

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Want to learn more about our water projects around the world? Click here to help bring clean drinking water to thousands of more people throughout Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi and Chad.

 

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Our LA Big 5K Team: Meet Our Youngest Members!

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It’s the last week of our Meet the LA Big 5K Team series, and we want to introduce you to our two youngest (and cutest!) team members! Camille and Brennan, 3 year old twins who can’t wait to turn 4,  will be joining their mom and dad this Saturday to support our Good Sisters project! They gave us a couple minutes from their busy day and told us about themselves on camera:

After filming, Camille still had a few things to talk about with us:

Q: Hi Camille! What’s your favorite part about school?

I like playing outside and doing all of the activities. I like everything!

Q: Would you be sad if you couldn’t go to school because you’re a girl?

Yes, I would be very sad because I wouldn’t learn how to do new stuff.

Q: Do you want all girls to go to school?

Yes, and I want all boys to go to school too.

We want all girls and boys to go to school as well! Thanks for sitting down with us Camille and Brennan, can’t wait to see you out there on Saturday! To support Camille, Brennan and their parents, check out their fundraising page here. Did they inspire you to run with us? There’s still time! Get more info here.

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OUR LA BIG 5K TEAM: MEET SARAH!

Next up in our Meet the LA Big 5K Team series is Sarah, an 11th grader who loves watching soccer. She’s really involved in social issues at her high school, and was super excited to join our team. She answered a few questions for us:

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Q: Hey Sarah! Have you ever run in a race? How’s your training going?

This is my first time running in a race! Most juniors are done with PE credits, but I’m staying in my JROTC Program for all 4 years, so it’s easy for me to practice running regularly! My friend Max (who is also in JROTC and also in The Net Project club), and I have been running together as well. Training’s a lot more fun when you do it with your friends, so I’m really thankful for JROTC!

Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

As nerdy as it may sound, I enjoy reading in my free time! I’ve always liked reading, because reading a work by a talented writer can introduce you to so many different feelings, stories, and opinions.

Q: What’s your favorite subject in school?

I do enjoy English class, but I would say Physics is my favorite class this year! At first I was wary because it seemed like a difficult subject, but it’s interesting to see how some scientists managed to explain (a few) workings of the world with a few simple variables. Physics is immediately applicable, so whenever I learn something new like how an object rotates, I’m surprised at how often I can immediately connect that concept to things I notice in everyday life.

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Q: What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

I was born with 27 teeth instead of 28!

Q: You’ll be running the LA Big 5K race to support The Net Project, but what are your thoughts about Project Good Sisters?

Although I’m running the LA Big5K Race to raise money for The Net Project at Van Nuys High School, I am a firm supporter of Project Good Sisters and its message of female education and empowerment. I recently read a book called “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in my English class, which covered how female empowerment was essential to the economic/social/etc well-being of a country. Its absolutely unfair that someone’s sex dictates what one can or can not do. Women are a wealth of untapped talent, intelligence, and compassion and I think we–people who have the resources to help out–should work to first, make it even a possibility for women to pursue education and second, do away with the stigma attached to female independence to safely encourage more women to take advantage of their academic opportunities. A study in “Half The Sky” actually dealt with the same cause that Project Good Sisters is advocating; except, in that case, they didn’t fully anticipate the stigma attached to female menstruation and how it prevented girls from attending school regularly. The fact that Good Neighbors thought of ways to comprehensively approach this problem, including book bags to hide the sanitary pads and even outhouses to take care of their business with dignity, won my support. I’m glad Good Neighbors is addressing this often-ignored problem and helping out girls my age receive education.

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Q: What’s The Net Project?

My friends, Hwi Soo Kim (Van Nuys High School), John Kim and Steven Lee (Fairfax High School), and I started The Net Project this school year. The purpose of The Net Project is to send insecticide-coated nets to help prevent malaria in Malawi, Africa. We realized that malaria drugs were too expensive (cheap for tourists, but definitely not for the average Malawian), and resulted in drug-resistant mosquitoes that were even more dangerous. And surprisingly, after research, we found out that something as simple as a net saved lives. Finally, research also showed us that malaria isn’t just a health problem; it’s more than that. For example, Africa loses 12 BILLION dollars in productivity EACH year due to malaria. People sometimes say that fundraising for a disease like malaria is like throwing money down a hole because the community is often unreceptive to the programs that are trying to be initiated. However, Good Neighbors has already established a deep connection with communities in Malawi through their constant and varied aid (such as through building water wells through Water For Life and now, Good Sisters) and thus will be providing welcomed aid to a community whose trust they have already earned. This year, The Net Project as a whole is working together to raise $3000, enough to support an entire community with nets.

Q: What’s special about The Net Project?

I personally think The Net Project is special because as a high school club, it depends on young people being involved. When young people are involved in a humanitarian cause such as this, we’re not only helping others, we’re helping ourselves. Through technology, the world is becoming more “connected” and “globalized”, but often that same technology can make one feel insignificant in the face of the big, quite overwhelming world that exists out there. Helping out in events such as these reminds us that we too are significant, so I really hope that my club members and I will learn the valuable lesson of empathy and our own self-worth through our events this year.

Thanks Sarah, and congratulations on starting such a special project in high school! To support Sarah, please visit her page here and check out the rest of our team here! Want to join? There’s still time – just head over here!

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Our LA Big 5K Team: Meet Max!

Meet Max, an 11th grader at Van Nuys High School, who loves basketball and JROTC! He’s running the LA Big 5K with Team Good Neighbors and we’re excited to introduce him!

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Q: Hi Max! What made you lace up your running shoes & join the Good Neighbors team?

I’m a member of the Net Project Club at Van Nuys High, and Good Neighbors collaborated with our club, introducing us to their cause and allowing us to sign up for the LA Big 5K. I personally joined because I love helping a good cause whenever possible.

Q: How’s your training going?

This will be my first race. I’ve been taking brisk jogs every now and then before I head off to school, and I’ve also been practicing my runs with a friend, Sarah, who is also running the LA Big 5K.

Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

I love working with computers, technology, and the like. I enjoy spending time with my friends, whether it be outdoors or otherwise.

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Q: What’s your favorite subject in school?

JROTC (something many schools don’t offer). The Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps is a substitute for regular P.E. that also teaches today’s youth discipline and determination. It’s benefited me by boosting my self confidence and allowing me to meet great people (in turn, leading me to Good Neighbors.)

Q: What’s a fun fact about you that people might not know?

When I was in elementary school, I played six different instruments: guitar, violin, piano, flute, uke, and cello. I can only play guitar and piano somewhat now.

Good luck with your first 5K, Max! Visit his page here, and meet the other team members here. Want to join the team? Visit our page

 

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OUR LA BIG 5K TEAM: MEET ESTHER!

This week, we’re introducing you to Esther, who will be running her first 5K ever with Team Good Neighbors! We’re thrilled to have her join our team, and we wish her the best of luck during her last few weeks of training!

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Q: Hi Esther! What made you lace up your running shoes and join the Good Neighbors team?

I’ve actually been wanting to run a 5K for a little time now, but never really went out of my way to do so. I haven’t intentionally run since probably P.E. class! Now I have a great opportunity and motivating reason to run, and for a great cause too!!

Q: So, we heard that this is going to be your first 5K! How are you going to train, and what do your family and friends think about this?

I’m still transitioning myself into training mode and got a bit sick just recently. I’m still recovering, but I am so excited!! My friends and family were so surprised when I told them that I was going to run the 5K. “YOU’RE gonna run?” is the overall shocked response I get. To train, I’m going to try as much as I can to go to Griffith Park and prepare!

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Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

I recently became interested in learning calligraphy and have been trying to brush up on my calligraph (pun intended!). I also like to play the piano or read, and love shopping and hanging out with my friends! I’d like to make it a hobby to travel more, too.

Q: What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

I love solving riddles or reading/watching a really good mystery.

Q: Finally, what drew you to the Project Good Sisters  cause?

As a woman who has had the privilege to freely attend school all my life — constantly being encouraged by others to squeeze out and learn as much as I can from my education, and perhaps even feeling forced at times to go to school — I know many times I have taken for granted my basic right to receiving an education. I never really recognized the hardships that people in many other parts of the world had to face in order to receive an education. I am so inspired and encouraged by these people who are each fighting for their basic right to education, and I feel really privileged to be a part of this great cause that is making a difference!

I love this quote by Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education: “In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It’s their normal life. But in other parts of the world, we are starving for education… it’s like a precious gift. It’s like a diamond.”

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Thanks Esther, we love that quote too, and we hope it motivates you while you run on March 14th! To support Esther’s campaign, visit here, and check out the rest of the team here

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