The annual Walking for Water fundraiser, run by 25 local high school students, is set to take place Sunday, June 2, from 12-3 p.m. at the Laguna Beach High School track.
Walking for Water, a project of Wisdom Spring Inc. is run by Laguna Beach High School students and raises money to dig wells that can bring water to indigenous villages in West Africa, India, and other parts of the world suffering from the global water crisis. Over the past 16 years, walks have been held in other areas that have raised over $330,000, which has been used to dig 28 wells in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and the most recent well in Nyingmapa Monastery in Gondia, India.
Following this year’s walk in Laguna Beach, students hope to have raised $40,000 with the intent to put one well in West Africa, one in Nepal, and one in South India’s Tibetan Refugee Camp.
Additionally, the students are involved in the fight to end female genital mutilation practices in Loita, Kenya, and will continue educating youth in Burkina Faso and hope to increase education for elementary students in Gondia, India.
The students in Walking for Water spend several hours a week working to make a change. They meet every Tuesday during their lunch period, as well as two to three times a week on their own time.
“I think it’s important for other people our age to have an example to follow, because a lot of people in our generation underestimate themselves and their ability to make changes in the world,” said club member Eric Cortellessa.
Outside of the high school, more and more students from the middle and elementary schools are becoming involved. Club co-president Sophia Costanzo said she looks “forward to younger kids joining the cause and working to inspire those around them.”
Susan Hough, the project coordinator of the walk, said she had no idea in 2004, when the first walk was held, that it would continue to grow and be embraced by so many people.
“The beauty of it is that so many young people are involved, and the walk speaks to how wonderful our youth are and how they can make a difference when given an opportunity,” Hough said. “I am so touched that it has continued to thrive, and that the kids not only motivate the adults, but they also learn as students to become leaders.”
Wisdom Spring, Inc. is a nonprofit that partners with the student club making Walking for Water’s donations possible. Sobonfu Somé, the founder of Wisdom Spring, Inc., who passed away in 2017 due to her childhood struggle with Burkina Faso’s unsanitary water, once said, “We know that by providing water and education, we help to preserve the culture of the Dagara people of Burkina Faso, who are very connected to the natural world. We are a people who carry an ancient wisdom and an understanding of the great cycles of the Earth. The wells have revived the people, the animals and the land itself.”
The walk also features booths, music, food, and a silent auction. The majority of the funds are raised through the entrance fee, which includes a Walking for Water T-shirt created in partnership with Hobie Surf Shop—$20 for adults and $15 for LBHS students.
Jewish Teens Gather to Honor Memory of Laguna Local
Local high school students and their friends gathered Sunday, May 19, in celebration of Israel. Members of CTeen, a network for Jewish teens, learned history about the State of Israel and packed care packages for the Israeli Defense Force Lone Soldier program. The afternoon was dedicated to the memory of Laguna Beach local, Sgt. Alex Sasaki, who joined the IDF two years ago as a lone soldier and served in the Golani Brigade. The care packages will be taken to his Golani unit in Israel next month
CTeen has over 500 chapters in 37 countries and six continents. To learn more about the program, visit CTeen.com or call the Laguna Beach Chabad office at 949-449-0770.
Annual Composting Classes Return
The city’s solid waste hauler, Waste Management, will offer the second of four free composting classes planned for 2019 on Saturday, June 1, from 10-11 a.m. at Lang Park, located on Wesley Drive off Coast Highway. Compost and worm bins will be available for purchase during the class at a discounted price. For more information, visit the city’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling, or contact the Waste Management class instructor, Lisa Ryder, at 310-874-2499.
City Repainting Bluebird Park Restroom
From June 4-7, the restrooms at Bluebird Park will be closed for maintenance and painting of the floors and walls. Portable toilets and a hand washing station will be provided for the public for the duration of the project. For more information, contact Maintenance Supervisor Wayne Chintala at 949-464-6644.
Community Pool Closed for Maintenance
The Laguna Beach High School and Community Pool will be closed for maintenance and repairs until June 9. A list of other pools in the area is posted to the city’s website. Visit lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/community/aquatics/poolhours.htm or call 949-497-0788 for more information.
Shops at Montage Opens New Clothing Boutique
Scottsdale-based, family-owned clothing brand, R&R Surplus, will open its first California location at the Shops at Montage this weekend. “We are delighted to welcome R&R Surplus owners Steve and Andi Rosenstein to Montage Laguna Beach,” said Anne-Marie Houston, the resort’s general manager.
R&R Surplus is an 8-year-old clothing company known for its casual wear including sweatshirts, hoodies and sweatpants for women and men produced in Los Angeles. Andi Rosenstein designs the women’s collection and son Luke designs the men’s line of clothing. The Montage, 30801 S. Coast Highway, will be the only location to carry their new kids line.
Emergency Kit Backpacks for Sale
The city is continuing to sell Laguna Beach-specific emergency kit backpacks. The kit includes: AM/FM hand crank radio with flashlight and cell phone charger, 4-in-1 gas and water utility shut off tool, glow sticks, bio-hazard bags, nitrile gloves, N95 mask, 54-piece first aid kit, duct tape, emergency poncho, solar blanket, and a personal hygiene kit. Additionally, the kit contains emergency plan templates and disaster-specific information. Each red backpack features an official City of Laguna Beach seal. Residents can purchase the emergency kit backpack for $50 on the city’s website at bit.ly/2DlnFGy or in person at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street, during normal business hours. No profits are being made from the sale of the backpacks.