“Guatemala is so different than anything I’d ever seen before,” Hunter Smith, 16, admits.
Hunter had traveled before, but nothing could prepare him for his trip to Guatemala—an experience that would change his life.
“The poverty we see in the U.S. is nothing compared to what is typical in Guatemala,” Hunter explains. “We went to villages and saw people living in deplorable conditions. They were living in houses built from scrap metal they found at the dump. Those same people did not have clean water.”
This new experience opened Hunter’s eyes to a very real problem—the lack of a basic resource necessary for life: clean water.
“Seeing this problem firsthand motivated Hunter to take action. A few weeks after returning from Guatemala, he began raising money to drill a clean-water well.
“Seeing people without the basic necessities of life, like water, really makes you appreciate what you have. When you see that [others] don’t have [clean water] . . . that’s not right. I’m a person who wants to make a difference in the world, and this is just one way for me to do that and help others,” Hunter said.
To raise money for his well, Hunter has coordinated a 5K run/walk along with a kid’s run, which he named “Agua Pura,” Spanish for “clean water.” The event takes place at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, on March 31, and all of the proceeds will go toward bringing clean water to people in Guatemala. The $20 registration fee is enough to provide clean water for one person for up to 20 years, and Hunter’s goal is to have 400 people participate.
“There’s a lot of planning that goes into a 5K, and this is my first time doing something like this,” said Hunter. “It’s been very time consuming, but it will be worth it to give clean water to the people in Guatemala—something we take for granted.”
When asked about future goals, Hunter said he wants to continue campaigning for clean water.
“It’s definitely something I’m passionate about. I’m planning on directing another 5K next year and hopefully grow [the event].”
Registration is still open for the Agua Pura 5K. For more information or to register, click here.
You don’t have to coordinate a 5K to make a difference—the options to bring change are endless. Host an event, make artwork, shoot a video—you can do just about anything to fundraise for clean water. How will you choose to contribute? For more ideas and ways you can help, click here.