Sweet 16 donated to water

Madison Berryman

Junior Abby Washkowiak showcases her money she raised from the support of her friends and family to Charity: Water | photo Baylie McLaren

To help give India access to clean drinking water, junior Abby Washkowiak gave up her 16th birthday to raise money towards an organization called Charity: Water.

“I was feeling selfish about my birthday coming up, and how I wanted a lot of things,” she said. “We talked about in church on how we own nothing, and that God owns everything and how everyone in my society are considered rich. That made me think of how selfish I was being,” she said.

Her pastor gave the opportunity for the whole youth group to give at least $20 or more if they chose to give to the charity. She also had a birthday dinner in which her friends didn’t buy her any gifts, but donated $16 each to represent the age she was turning. Ten of her friends attended her party to support her charity. Also anyone can go to the website and donate to the campaign.

She first heard about the opportunity to give at a weekly church service at Indian Springs Baptist Church. The service showed a video about the people of India needing clean water and what givers can do to give saturation systems.

“The third week of the series we were doing at church, we watched a video on the Charity: Water campaign and about what they do for it. I already felt selfish about the things I had and wanted for my birthday, so I thought what can I do, and I need God to talk to me or to show me something,” she said. “When I watched the video, I knew right then, and there that I can do that and I can give up my birthday to do that, which was an amazing feeling.”

After that service, she told her youth pastor she wanted to give up her birthday and raise money for charity. He told her that it was a great idea, and that they would announce it at the next service. Then they created a video of her testimony and what other people could do to give.

She said their goal was $3,200 and they raised $1,647. Anyone can still go online to donate through Dec. 31.

“It’s so amazing how people who don’t even know me just hear my story and they want to donate,” she said.

She said she loves to see the generosity of people, and is excited to see all of the rewards of giving to the charity.

“It made me see what I have and do not have, and it made me happy to give back because of all the things that I take for granted in my everyday life and just to see the overall accomplishment and impact it is taking,” she said.