How Two Sisters are Using Origami to Raise Money for Water Wells
NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris Commends Isabelle and Katherine Adams for Helping People Stay in Their Homes by Providing Access to Water
April 29, 2015 09:01 AM
For nearly four years, Isabelle and Katherine Adams have been folding origami in order to help bring clean water to people around the world. Their project, called Paper for Water (www.paperforwater.org), raises money for wells across the world through donations they receive for their origami Christmas ornaments and decorations.
Val J. Halamandaris, the President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, sat down with Isabelle, 11, and Katherine, 9, last week to discuss Paper for Water. The Caring Institute, an affiliate of NAHC, in 2013 awarded the sisters the Caring Youth Award for their efforts.
One of NAHC’s guiding principles is to support people in their homes. Halamandaris commended the sisters for, in their own way, helping people stay in their homes by providing access to water, which is one essential thing that everyone needs.
“Our purpose is to bring clean water to people in third world countries who don’t have any,” said Isabelle, the older of the sisters.
So far, Paper for Water has raised nearly $650,000 and funded almost 70 wells in nine countries. In addition, this year they are doing a project for people who do not have access to water in New Mexico.
Halamandaris applauded the sisters’ accomplishments so far and asked them to describe their goals for the project moving forward. Both sisters emphasized the importance of setting higher goals, even if they might seem unachievable at first. “We’ve gone way over our goals usually,” said Isabelle. “One year we raised $50,000 more than our goal.”
Katherine similarly said they don’t want to limit themselves by setting goals that are too low. “If you set a goal higher than you think you can do, you’re probably going to do it,” she said. That’s why she wants to aim high. “My goal for the future is maybe to solve the world’s water crisis, and that would mean that everybody in the whole wide world has clean water.”
Halamandaris commended the girls for setting high goals and said he always adopts an “outrageous goal,” while in his own mind aiming to achieve two to three times more. “When you shoot for the stars, occasionally you actually catch a star and certainly perform at a higher level,” he told the sisters.
In addition to their efforts with Paper for Water, the sisters said they manage to do well in school, even though it can be challenging to complete their homework. The time they devote to Paper for Water does prevent them from participating in sports and other extra-curricular activities.
However, they have learned that helping people is very rewarding. Isabelle said her favorite part about the project is seeing pictures of those who now have access to water as a result of their efforts.
“I love just seeing pictures of people who’ve gotten a well and how happy they are. It’s just great – I love it,” Isabelle said.
The biggest lesson they have learned is that helping others makes one’s own life more fulfilling. “When you give a lot, you almost always get back more than you gave,” Isabelle said.
On this point, Halamandaris said he could not agree more. “When you give to others, it comes back to you many, many times over. That makes you happy and it certainly makes the people you’ve helped happy.”