One day in 2011, I grabbed a cup of coffee and watched the morning news. Living in a large city, checking the traffic flow becomes a must do before hitting the road. That particular day I was listening to “Good Morning Texas.” I heard the anchor say, “Coming up next two young girls who want to bring water to the world.”
Having been a nonprofit professional all of my career, I had to watch this segment. Grateful I didn’t have an urgent morning meeting, I waited to see what two children could do on a global scale.
Soon, the anchor returned and introduced the cutest little girls, just 8 and 5, Isabelle and Katherine Adams. I honestly thought they were doing something like a lemonade stand or selling cookies to send to a project somewhere.
Soon, I would learned how wrong I was to assume.
The girls and their mom Deborah Adams explained they heard from a neighbor that every 15 seconds a child dies due to unclean water. They also learned that many girls around the globe spend their days hauling water instead of going to school. It was at that moment the girls told their mom that they wanted to do something to help. So, the entire Adam’s family, including 1-year old Trinity, would soon accept the challenge.
They founded a 501-C3 called Keiki International with the DBA of Paper for Water to raise awareness of the need for clean water around the world. Mom, Deborah, had worked in Japan after college and could do basic origami. Dad, Ken, whose Japanese mother had also taught him, decided to teach the girls how to fold ornaments. Thus, began the project that no one ever imagined would be a global effort in the coming years.
Hundreds of school children in the US and elsewhere began “folding”. The project became full-time, raising funds to build water wells internationally and even in the US on a Native American reservation. I remember watching the video of the children on the reservation turning on a faucet for the first time. Children in developing countries jumped and cheered when clean water began to run right in front of them for the first time in their lives.
Today, they have thousands of volunteers from school age to old age. They have hundreds of water projects pumping clean water. The precious little girls I first saw on TV are now young women. Co-CEO’s Isabelle and Katherine and Trinity, Chief Creative Officer-In Training still manage to balance education with their passion to “Bring Water and the Word to the World.”