Mispillion Elementary School students, with the help of parents, teachers and classmates, raised $2,800 for the “Wish for Water” project to provide water filters for families in Central Asia and Africa who lack access to clean water.

Kiersten and Mariah Todd seem like average little girls at first glance, but their family and teachers believe the success of their “Wish for Water” initiative has proved that even the littlest ladies can make a huge impact.

“It’s just a blessing to see them wanting to give back and help other people, and inspire their friends to do the same,” said the girls’ mother, Megan Todd.

The two Mispillion Elementary School students, with the help of their parents, teachers and classmates, proposed the “Wish for Water” project to raise money and awareness for clean water and those affected by limited access to an often overlooked resource.

The school worked for a month to raise $2,800 for water filters for Central Asian and African families, allowing them to purchase 28 filters that will serve 50 to 75 families for three to five years.

Megan Todd said her family has been volunteering with the Global Aid Network, the organization that will distribute the filters, for about five years. Their volunteer work with the organization tied into Mispillion’s science curriculum for third-grade students, and with the help of dedicated students and staff, a “Wish for Water” became an effort not only to raise money, but to educate as well.

Todd said she visited each class for an instructional activity, and shared a statistic that silenced the elementary school students. As she explained how the water filters work and the effects of limited access to clean water, a teacher passed through the students, tapping the shoulder three students every minutes. At the end of the presentation, those students who were tapped stood up, demonstrating how many people would have died during that time frame because of limited access to clean water throughout the world.

According to a statistic shared by Mispillion teachers from water.org, a child dies every 21 seconds from lack of access to clean water.

Seven-year-old Kiersten Todd said that’s exactly why she and her sister spear-headed the local effort to raise funds.

The original goal for the school was to raise $100 per grade, which would have funded five filters. But the Todds’ enthusiasm for the project was contagious, and inspired their classmates to take the effort to the next level, said third-grade teacher Nikki Bordley.

“I am so ecstatic about how much money the kids have raised so far. It’s overwhelming,” Bordley said. “It was a third-grader who decided, hey I wanted to do something, which is awesome.”

First-grade teacher Donna Gibson said she wasn’t surprised when she found out about the Todd girls’ plan.

“I wasn’t shocked because they’re just caring little girls and I see that reflected in their classrooms,” she said. “This is a way of showing them hard work really does pay off.”

That third-grader, Mariah Todd, said it was all about helping families have clean water, even though an assembly on Friday allowed the kids to dunk some staff members and enjoy popsicles in celebration.

“I am so proud of Mispillion, because we helped families,” she said.