Since we have moved our organization to Hopewell, we have made our property available to the neighborhood kids. During the summer months our campus is overflowing with children. Camp Skillz is in full swing, activities are happening at the Community Center, and the basketball court, soccer field, skate park, and playground are hosting hundreds of children in and around our neighborhood. But what hasn’t been available for them is an outdoor drinking fountain.
Throughout the years, we have improvised with a ‘drinking station’ (water cooler with cups). But it always ran out of water quickly (within minutes on a hot summer camp day). The kids always found their way to the garden hose, which is neither a sanitary or safe way to get water (read more). As much as we wanted to provide the children with an outdoor water fountain, we had to wait for the funds. (An outdoor water fountain with a bottle filler can cost up to $7,500.)
We may not have had the money to purchase one of these fountains, but we did what we could: we prayed and asked God to help us meet this need. Elizabeth Kagay, our Community Development Manager for The Hopewell Project, wrote an e-mail to the Tennessee Clean Water Network, requesting help with a water fountain. They informed her that they had just received a grant to provide water fountains in Nashville, and we fit the criteria for who they could offer them to! G.O.D. then became the first recipient from the Bringing Tap Back program in Nashville! We received not one fountain, but two at our Community Center (one indoor, one outdoor), as well as one at the Academy for G.O.D. Praise God!
TCWN's Bringing Tap Back project aims to give children free access to water fountains in hopes of decreasing their consumption of sugary beverages. In a recent report published by the TCWN, Tennessee was found to have the 3rd highest rate of obesity and the 6th highest rate of diabetes in the U.S.--diseases caused by a poor diet and compounded by the prevalence of sugary drinks. TCWN is doing a great thing by helping kids have healthier alternatives, and they have now helped the kids in Hopewell!
We are so thankful to this organization for helping the kids in our neighborhood make healthier decisions. The water fountain sits a basketball court away from our community garden, which is teaching the kids how to take part in growing nutritious food at our after school program and summer camp. When combined with the opportunities for athletics, we believe we are giving the kids the opportunity to learn good habits that will hopefully turn into healthy lifestyles.
Community involvement continued in the installation of this project as Home Depot (Madison, TN) provided the equipment necessary to install the fountain free of charge. Likewise, MCH Nashville provided plumbers to set it up! It is truly inspiring to see so many businesses and organizations work together to provide a necessary amenity to kids!
The children in the neighborhood were lined up on the first day after the fountain was installed. “Wow, is this for us?!” asked one of the boys who just finished playing a game of basketball. "Yes, it's for you!" we responded. As they gulped mouthfuls of cool water and tried out the bottle filling option with their various containers they repeated, "It's amazing!"
From all the kids in Hopewell to everyone involved:
Written by Laurie Kagay and Rosemary Sherrod