Stephanie Hellman is a Water Advocate...Turned Fundraiser...Turned Community Leader

Stephanie Hellman has worked with Blue Planet Network since 2012 and raised over $15,000 for safe drinking water projects. Her "Hope For Water" events at schools in Northern California raise awareness and inspire thousands of kids to help bring clean, safe drinking water to people around the globe.

Why are you committed to Blue Planet Network and the safe drinking water cause?

A few years ago I set out to create some type of learning opportunity or event that would help my 3 children understand their privileges in a way that would not make them feel guilty or ashamed. A friend and board member of Blue Planet Network connected me with Blue Planet Network during this period when I was searching for ideas. Water, and the experience children face related to lack of clean water accessibility, became the issue I latched on to and have since become very passionate about.

Blue Planet Network has a clear vision, mission and strategy coupled with an effective team - these are critical to success with any type of organization.

I appreciate the mission and the model of Blue Planet Network. Sharing best practices and cross-consultation via the peer network on various water issues and solutions is extremely valuable. Blue Planet Network has a clear vision, mission and strategy coupled with an effective team - these are critical to success with any type of organization.

Can you share some stories about your work with Blue Planet Network that are especially important to you?

Stephanie with kids in India.

In 2012, I developed my first "Hope for Water" event in Marin County, Callifornia. I targeted kids ages 7-11 to come and learn about this global issue in a fun and engaging way. I was particularly focused on sharing what girls face with regard to water responsibilities around the globe. In parts of the world without access to clean water, girls their age are responsible for fetching the water which entails walking up to 5 miles each way with a five gallon jerry can that weighs 40 pounds when full. The trip can take all day so it means they can't go to school; they often go alone, exposing them to dangers on the road.

I partnered with Blue Planet Network and Global Fund for Women on content development for the presentations and thought provoking activities for the kids. The children were really engaged and the feedback from the parents and the community was amazing. This was just the beginning.

Blue Planet Network and I hosted another Hope for Water event at Hidden Valley Elementary school in San Anselmo the following year, presenting to over 400 kids. This journey and the power of these efforts continue to unfold and reveal themselves to me. Recently, a mother in my community approached me on the soccer field and said "I just want you to know how meaningful your water event was. My daughter recently received some money for her birthday and she asked to donate it to Blue Planet Network." To create awareness and inspire advocacy in our community is such a gift.

Why did you decide to make the trip to India to support Blue Planet Network members Project Well and Watershed Organization Trust (WTO)?

India has long been on my "bucket list," and the time felt right. I was ready to get closer to the water issue and see for myself what communities face, understand the mechanics of well engineering etc.

Taking some time to meet locals.

You've completed three successful campaigns with Blue Planet Network. What's next?

I would like to continue hosting the Hope for Water events - I see a lot of potential with these and the feedback has been tremendous. I am interested in helping communities in Africa as well. In 2016, we are planning to take our family on a humanitarian effort there - still a work in progress!

What's important when looking for water programs to work with?

Documented results, verbatim from community members and images really help tell the story. I look for a specific opportunity where I feel I can make a difference. 

Why is Blue Planet Network the best partner for you in your fight to solve the world's water crisis?

Blue Planet Network has a "best in class" working team with both the thought leadership and support I need. Additionally, Blue Planet Network members are water sector experts with a broad network of projects and partners.