FFA member inspired at annual Washington Leadership Conference to help create safe-water drinking well in Kenyan village

Jun 10, 2014, 13:00 ET from National FFA Organization

INDIANAPOLIS, June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Last summer, Paul Thieme learned about the power of one. A week of hard work at the National FFA Organization's Washington Leadership Conference helped him focus on who he is, what he's good at and how he could help others. He researched causes that might possibly need his skills, talents and passion.

He discovered Kager, Kenya, where safe water is miles away from the village of 3,000. Securing even a questionable state of safe water is the job of women and their children, who three times a day walk up to four miles for water. Then he found Healing Hands International, an organization that raises money through walkathons to cover costs of drilling community wells in Kenya and a host of other African nations.

"I was inspired. I was called to serve," said Thieme, a senior FFA member at Hamilton Southeastern High School in central Indiana. "Because I have the ability, I had a responsibility to do something."

He organized his own walkathon and called on his FFA chapter and fellow students to join the cause. Toward the end of the school year, dozens of students and teachers walked two miles, filled five-gallon buckets with reservoir water and walked back to school with the buckets on their heads. The event raised $7,000 for Walk4Water.

The Washington Leadership Conference draws 2,400 FFA members from throughout the country together in Washington, D.C. Through July 27, students spend a week to define strengths, set goals, learn leadership skills and create a community service plan to help people back home. They will also tour several historic destinations.

Their week ends with a day of service to the D.C. community. This year, students will pack 400,000 meals of chicken, rice and macaroni and cheese for distribution in the greater D.C. area.

The 2014 National FFA Organization Washington Leadership Conference is sponsored by title sponsors Monsanto and CSX and weekly sponsors TransCanada, Crop Production Services and Farm Credit. Each week's Day of Service is supported by Land O'Lakes, RAM Truck, Elanco, Nationwide Insurance Foundation and Tractor Supply Co. For more, visit www.FFA.org/WLC. Follow the conference on Twitter at #WLC2014.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Duane Brodt
National FFA Organization
(888) 332-2589

Video - http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/Walk4Water.mp4
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140610/116584

SOURCE National FFA Organization