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Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch to host virtual Walk for Water

Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch continues its annual Walk for Water fundraiser as a virtual event.

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After seeing success with the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch’s virtual Walk for Water last year, the club decided to keep the walk virtual.

“We actually increased the amount we were able to raise,” said Susan Courter, the chair of the Walk for Water.

The Walk for Water raises money for the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch’s clean water and sanitation program, which helps select communities around the world have access to clean water.  

This year’s Walk for Water begins 10 a.m. March 26. People can walk around their neighborhoods or parks, then take a photo of themselves and post it to the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch’s social media. People can donate on the club’s website to help the community of Villa Talandracas, Peru. 

The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch started its clean water and sanitation program in 2008 and has since completed 51 clean water and sanitation projects for about $3 million in countries including Peru, Guatemala, the Philippines and the Bahamas. Through the projects, the club has helped thousands.

“One of the things I love most about Rotary is that I, as an individual, can’t make a significant impact, but as a Rotarian contributing to these projects, while I’m not in Peru building these water wells, I feel like I’m a part of these projects. I’m participating in giving to the foundation and giving to the fund supporting these projects,” Courter said.

The walk first started as an in-person event where participants would carry buckets with them to a water source and fill the bucket to symbolize the journey women and children take each day to collect water. 

“Often the water they’re collecting is filled with bacteria and so many children around the world are dying every day because they’re drinking this dirty water,” Courter said. 

As a virtual event, Courter said the club can have a wider reach during the Walk for Water.

“We have people from across the country that are friends and family of our club members who are able to participate since we went virtual,” Courter said. “Knowing that is a great feeling. We are so appreciative of everybody who supported our events. They see the need that’s out there, just like we do, to bring clean water to these communities.”

The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch has raised $50,000 for this year’s Walk for Water, achieving the club’s goal to raise $40,000. Each clean water and sanitation project can cost about $200,000, so every penny counts, Courter said. 

“The great thing about donating to the foundation for these projects is that the dollars are all matched — and sometimes up to three times — because we have individual donors who are matching and we have Rotary Foundation grants,” Courter said. 

Some Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch members visit the communities where the clean water and sanitation projects are scheduled to ensure the projects go smoothly and are sustainable. 

The members travel with engineers from Water Mission, a nonprofit Christian engineering organization that builds sustainable clean water solutions in developing nations and disaster areas. 

“They visit projects we have had in place for a while to do a check-in because these projects are all sustainable,” Courter said. “We don’t just go there and leave the community and say, ‘Good luck with your project.’ We go and do follow-up visits. They conduct assessments so we can identify where there’s going to be the most need and what communities are likely to have the best outcome with our projects.”


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