*six-two 35 under 35 changemaker of 2018 - water category
When a whole community comes together for a good cause, amazing things can be accomplished, and this has been showcased beautifully by the fantastic achievements of student leader Kristen de Guzman, and her fellow students at West Career and Technical Academy.
Kristen was inspired to make a change at the young age of 16 when she met a fellow Thirst Project supporter from a neighbouring school at a leadership conference. She quickly embraced her desire to be a leader in the school and community by getting involved in her Student Council, and in 2016 she set a year-long goal to raise $12,000 to build a water well in Swaziland.
Kristen has been nominated in the Water Champions category of our 35 Under 35 initiative by Seth Maxwell (founder of the Thirst Project), for her amazing work ethic and grit to get things done.
She rallied her school and citizens all over Nevada to give back to her cause, and to this day she remains a strong advocate for the effects that providing clean water has on developing nations, especially on the women and children who are so often tasked with water collection and devote countless hours to hydrating their entire communities.
“Kristen has a magnetic personality and a unique ability to activate her peers for positive social change.” - Seth Maxwell
Kristen combined her passion with creativity as she spearheaded diverse and engaging fundraising efforts during her quest to raise $12,000. She organized a Walk for Water along the Vegas strip and even got teachers and administrators involved with Pie in the Face fundraisers and a t-shirt drive, just to name a few.
"Kristen’s life has impacted so many people, including my life and the lives of our entire staff." - Seth Maxwell
By the end of Kristen’s senior year, she accomplished her goal and fully funded a water project in Swaziland with the Thirst Project. She was recently able to travel to Swaziland to see the amazing effects of her efforts, and to connect with the communities and people whose lives she helped change forever, in particular in the village of Mgamude.
Kristen is now a student at the University of Nevada and continues her quest to make the world a better place. Read more about Kristen’s amazing work on her blog, No Bad Days.
"It is important that we, as humanity, advocate for not only ourselves, but for every self. And when people across the world are lacking access to water, of all things, there is no doubt that it is our job to stand up for those that don't have a voice." - Kristen de Guzman
To learn more about the six-two 35 under 35 initiative, and to see the individuals who made the list, head here.