By Jessica Acklen
As the spring semester draws to a close, many students focus on internships, summer jobs or summer classes.
One Baylor student has something else on his mind — a 300-mile bike ride across Colorado.
Trinidad, Colo., junior Eric Danielson is biking across his home state this May, a ride that he estimates will take two or three days, to benefit and raise awareness for his Well: Done campaign. Danielson is working to raise $5,000 to provide a well for a village in Africa.
“I’m not really a biker, but it’s something I’ve come to enjoy,” Danielson said. “[The ride is] over 300 miles, so I’m a little nervous. I wanted to do something to challenge myself and also show people I’m committed to this. So, I’m going to be really challenged. I’m not asking for people’s money so I could just donate it. I’m making a sacrifice.”
Danielson’s campaign is the result of a family challenge over the Thanksgiving holiday. After Danielson’s family members reflected on their blessings, they decided to do something to help those less fortunate, Danielson said.
“[The family] gave each of us $100 and they said, ‘We want each of you to take this out and double it and give it to some charitable cause, someone who needs it, basically,’” Danielson said.
“I just spent some time thinking about ‘Who do I want to help out?’ or ‘Who is this going to go to?’ … Giving to some charities kind of makes you wonder where the money goes.”
Danielson decided to start his own charitable campaign to ensure that money raised was all used for charitable works. That decision led him to organize his campaign through the nonprofit organization Charity Water.
Charity Water has already provided 1,794,983 people in 19 countries with clean water through 3,962 projects like the one Danielson is leading, Charity Water’s website states.
“Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. Unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation cause 80 percent of all disease and kill more people than all forms of violence, including war,” the website said.
Danielson said he chose Charity Water because the organization uses its funds efficiently.
“One hundred percent of the donations go to the digging of the well and the training of the people who live in the community,” Danielson said.
“They show you how it’s broken down, where your money goes. All of their expenses, like salaries and stuff, are covered by private donors. … That’s why I chose Charity Water.”
With Charity Water, those interested in raising money to build wells in Africa can set up their own campaigns on mycharitywater.org, which is what Danielson did earlier this semester.
On the Charity Water website, donations can be made directly to Danielson’s cause, which, according to the website, has already received $945 from 21 donations.
In addition to the website, Danielson is taking other measures to inform his fellow students.
“I’ve started to go around to different groups on campus, like Student Foundation and Greek organizations, and that will continue,” Danielson said. “There’s so much that we can do real easily by just donating a few dollars. … My goal is to raise $5,000 to drill a well and provide a community of about 250 people with clean water for 20 years.”
Danielson caught the attention of one member of Alpha Delta Pi, Brandenton, Fla., freshman Ariel Pecoraro.
“[Danielson] came to talk to us about all that he’s doing and I have a real passion for service and Africa so I though it was a great cause to donate money to,” Pecoraro said.
Pecoraro started her own nonprofit organization this year, too: My Child Ministries. This organization will work in the future to build orphanages in Africa.
Pecoraro sees a need for student involvement in charitable efforts like My Child Ministries and Well: Done.
“There’s so much need for it that someone needs to step up and start to make a change,” Pecoraro said. “Even if you don’t drink coffee for a week, you can donate your money in little ways and save money and help other people.”
Pecoraro and Danielson agree that even the smallest amount of money can make a big impact, with Danielson noting that even $20 will provide one person with water for 20 years.
“I hope that someone will be blessed, even if it’s just one or two people,” Pecoraro said. “Even if it’s a small amount, every bit counts. Every person is important.”
More information about the Well: Done campaign can be found at http://www.facebook.com/welldonecampaign.