It was a drizzly, grey day, and an icy goose-flesh-inspiring breeze blew across the top of Ojai Valley School. And yet Evelyn Brokering and Liam Castagna were outside hunched over a computer making sure, as the wind blew small bullet like droplets at their backs, that they were both on beat.
She was strumming her ukulele and he was beating his drum, as a fine mist rolled over them. They were practicing for a performance they would give at Ojai Day, a fall festival full of small town vibes, sticky lemonade, and residual summer heat.
But this was no ordinary musical performance.
On her own, Evelyn, a junior, came up with the idea of supporting a foundation called The Water Project, which helps to drill wells and supply water to African families and people in need.
As she plowed through research and paperwork to take part in Ojai Day, she developed the goal of raising a hefty $500 — the amount needed to supply a year’s worth of water for one family.
In order to reach her goal she gathered a group of people, all volunteer students, to perform musical numbers for donations. And about a week before Ojai Day she was notified that she would also have a booth, at which she sold her dreamcatchers, pottery donated by the ceramics program, and cards featuring her photography of student silhouettes.
“It was a really good day,” Evelyn said about the OVS booth, which raised nearly $1,200 for the Water Project. “It was definitely not just me. There were a lot of people who helped out.”
Evelyn came up with the idea after she made a dreamcatcher for a friend’s birthday in the first week of the school year. After receiving the gift her friend casually mentioned the possibility of selling them, and this slowly developed into the idea of supporting the foundation.
She got permission from the school and filled out the paperwork to set up a booth at Ojai Day. She then rallied her friends to help out on the big day.
“She is the Joan of Arc of African well digging foundations,” said teacher Fred Alvarez, who has Evelyn in his world history class.
But instead of wielding a sword she wields dreamcatchers and a ukulele.
Her original idea of supporting a fundraiser was spurred by her motivation to support a foundation like Relay for Life. Eventually another friend approached her with information about The Water Project and all her ideas fell into place.
After a hot and sticky day of sales, she made $1,185, a little over twice her goal. She continued her fundraising campaign with her silhouette cards on Ojai Valley School’s family weekend, where she raised more than $600 for the Water Project.
Already, plans are swimming through her mind about continuing the fundraising project.
“It would be great to do it next year and it would be great to have more time,” she said.Share