Charity Angels...Celebrating Those Who Give of Themselves
By Judith Lawrenson
Photography by Bill Lawrenson
Helen Price is on a mission to make a difference. “Our mission statement says it all: To enthusiastically educate our kids to learn about the value of clean water, while building scholarships for high school seniors entering into the field of environmental sciences,” said Helen, who is the founder of Watercookies. Watercookies is a relatively new charitable organization with a solid goal for the future. Read on to find out how this organization plans on flourishing.
Pink: Helen, tell us about how you came to be so interested and dedicated to the cause of water as an invaluable resource.
Helen: I visited Tuntutuliak, Alaska, and immediately noticed that most of the local children had very bad teeth. When I inquired, I learned they did not have clean water to drink and mothers substituted sugar drinks for water, even when they were pregnant. I saw infants drinking sodas. The result was severe dental disease. I couldn’t stop thinking about those kids. I wanted to reach out to help them make better choices.
Helen explained that at the same time she was living on the marsh in the Lowcountry, surrounded by beautiful waters, but did not know how to combine that resource with some sort of purposeful activity that would be educational and also fun for both children and adults. She looked to combine the resources of families, schools and local commerce to think of a way to reward students for success in their efforts to become more aware of the value of clean water not only to themselves, but also to the community as a whole.
Seeing there are more than 10,000 students in Beaufort County schools, Helen’s goal is to reach at least 20 percent and influence them to learn more about the value of clean water.
Pink: What are some of your dreams for Watercookies?
Helen: I would like to use the reward of a cookie for a child when they learn something about the clean water project. We are hoping for a partnership with a company like Nabisco or Keebler. It would be something like the school box top idea. If a company would donate pennies per purchase that money would go toward educational materials and scholarships. We have a board game called Rivers and Streams and also an activity page for grades K-5 that we hope to have out soon for hotels, restaurants and after-school programs. As you can see, the project is big.
Pink: Yes, the project is big! What else do you have in your plans?
Helen: I am not an educator. I am a mom, a grandmother and a consumer. I want to inspire our community and the people who live here to make smart choices, consider the options about the water they drink, whether it is bottled, tap, filtered or purchased. I am reaching out to the educators to employ ideas that work for their curriculum and their grade levels. We are encouraging input from professionals. When students go out into the world, they will hopefully have a foundation based on competencies in science so that they can carry those values and skills with them. Issues such as water scarcity, drought and sanitation are everywhere.
The Outside Foundation shares our mission and together we have produced a coloring page that will be ready for delivery May 1. We are happy to share this learning tool with anyone who in interested.
Pink: How can readers find out more about your ideas and the Watercookies Project?
Helen: Our web site, www.watercookies.org, has information about the project, what we do and who we are. I am also available to speak to any classroom, group or interested volunteers. We are very welcoming of anyone who shares our core values about natural resources and our passion for the planet!
Helen’s enthusiasm is catching. She has big ideas for something that needs big ideas. We live in such a unique environment. Water is the catalyst that preserves our ecosystem and brings not just tourists, but also a huge variety of birds, plants, fish, turtles and a wealth of natural gifts.
What are you reading? "I am currently reading The Boys in the Boat, but if you asked me what I like to read in general, I really enjoy reading what people recommend to me. I always ask others what they are reading and if it is a person I like or admire, I never go wrong."
What is your favorite Island location? "I love the new Shelter Cove. I actually used to row and skull around here and in other local waters. It is beautiful here now. I love the marsh, the colors, and yes, even the people."
Who do you admire? "No one specific person. I admire anyone who actually makes a difference for the better in the lives of others."
Make a wish. "I would like to be one of those people who make a difference. That is my wish."