Peninsula students head to Mexico to help locals with water crisis

WOODSIDE, Calif. (KGO) -- This weekend, some local high school students are traveling to Mexico. It's not a Labor Day party getaway. They'll be delivering a gift that most of us take for granted: clean water.

Six seniors from Woodside High School's Green Academy are packing their bags for the next "H-2-Open-Doors" mission lead by Jon Kaufman, from the Peninsula Rotary Club. They will be delivering clean water to the poorest neighborhoods of Ciudad Guzman, Mexico -- Redwood City's sister city.

"Three hundred-and-fifty people there, even at their homes, can't drink the water out of their tap," explains student Julie Hennessy.

The Green Academy is a school within a school, where students learn about plants, animals and the thing they all need: water. "I still can't get my head around it completely, it's just heartbreaking hearing that this one thing that we've always had and I've never known not having. Water is just so hard for them to get," says Mikaela Manchia, another one of the students heading to Mexico.

Just as the rotary club did in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Yolanda, the students will help Ciudad Guzman set up a sunspring water filter. It purifies 5,000 gallons a day and is powered by the sun and the wind.

Student Keely Camply is just as excited as the others. "I''m really excited to do something and try to make a difference involving the water crisis around the world."

The students will spend a week in Mexico, but they've already spent the better part of the last year preparing for it. That includes raising money for their travel and for the water filter they'll be installing. They raised money through bake sales, going door-to-door and also relying on donations. They raised $7,000 in total.

After their work is complete in Cuidad Guzman, they will attend a seminar with former Mexican president Vicente Fox. David Bejar says he interested to learn about US-Mexican relations, and "How we can make stronger bonds with Mexico."

Overall, it seems that the chance for an experience that'll change many more lives than just their own, may be the best part of the trip ahead. Student Alondra Caballero summarized it by saying: "I'm looking forward to interacting with the kids, seeing their lifestyle and making a difference in their life."
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