By Hannah Sleight
“You Ladies are Doing What? That’s Crazy!”
When you tell people that you and your friend plan to inline skate 119 miles across the Florida Keys, “crazy” may seem the natural response. But you know what’s even more insane? 785 million people lack clean water to drink, and inexpensive solutions exist to purify water. Crazy, right?
Let me tell you how a dream led to an audacious adventure that ended with friends, and strangers turned friends, all rallying to aid those in need. My friend Katie and I love to inline skate. We were rolling along Old Orchard Beach, Maine one summer morning when we began wondering, what adventures are possible with three wheels fastened to each foot? And could we help others too while doing it?
That’s how Skate 4 water was born! The plan was to skate a 119-mile across the Florida Keys covering an ultramarathon (31-miles) every day to raise funds for clean drinking water. And that is what we did. Our journey began at the northernmost island, Key Largo. We followed the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail from island to island, over bridges, under palm trees, and along the highway till finally, we reached Key West – the southernmost point of the Continental USA!
Waves on a deep blue ocean, tailwind pushing us forward, a seven-mile bridge – there were many little moments that brought exhilarating joy. However, the most amazing piece of this journey was witnessing the kindness and generosity of family, friends, and complete strangers. The goal was to help 500 people in Haiti gain access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education on behalf of a nonprofit organization called H2O for Life. The goal was not met. It was surpassed! Two water projects were funded through the skate and 2,300 people will be aided.
A problem like 785 million people lacking clean water may feel insurmountable, but even a normal person like me could do something. When you have a passionate dream and a worthy cause, others are thrilled to help. You can be a changemaker too – yes you! You are unique, talented, and intelligent – more than qualified to take on the big challenges. When you choose to be brave, it bears fruit. Do the “crazy” thing.
Hannah Sleight is passionate about pursuing meaning and telling good stories. In 2019, Hannah graduated from Geneva College where she studied international business and played soccer. During the summers between semesters, she served as a white water raft guide and trip leader at Journey Quest – a wilderness and whitewater nonprofit. Over the past two years Hannah has served as a traveling representative and a content creator with Compassion International. Hannah believes we should nurture dreams, tell stories, and develop talents.
Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-sleight/
Hannah’s Portfolio: https://hannahsleight.blogspot.com/