July 13, 2014

Good Deeds: Teen raising money for clean water for Liberia

Cheryl Oldland helped raise $2,000 last summer to build a clean water well in Liberia. And she’s only 14.

Cheryl Oldland helped raise $2,000 last summer to build a clean water well in Liberia. And she’s only 14.

“It’s something that just gripped my heart,” Oldland said of her fundraising efforts. “I realized how much we took for granted.”

Last summer, Oldland organized a benefit concert with performances from friends and fellow musicians in a partnership with the national nonprofit The Last Well. The organization, which is headquartered in Texas, aims to spread the word of God and bring clean water to Liberians, organization founder Todd Phillips said.

It costs $1,500 to build a well in the African country, Oldland said, so The Last Well was able to build “a well and a half” with the $2,000 she collected. And she said she hopes to do it all over again this summer.

“I was overwhelmed that she was wanting to do this again,” Phillips said, “and make it a normal thing.”

Oldland started out playing piano at a Wichita retirement home. She said she became inspired to do more, though, after attending a conference for young volunteers about a year ago.

“I was looking for charities that promote the gospel and fresh water,” Oldland said. “…I wanted people to know God.”

About 40 other projects — similar to Oldland’s concert — raise money for The Last Well. Young people, Phillips said, are the organization’s target fundraisers.

“It’s exciting for (young people) to realize that they can do more,” said Oldland’s mother, Denise. “The world is a big place to go out and help others … Every little rain drop that comes down makes a big impact.”

This year’s benefit concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive, across from the East Warren Theatre on East 13th Street. Oldland said she hopes to continue the concert each year and by the time she’s a senior, raise enough money to travel to Liberia herself.

To help Oldland’s cause, she said to “come to the concert and just donate and be entertained.”

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