RACINE — Not many middle school students would say they have a passion for water filtration. But Shritha Reddy is not what most people would consider a typical middle schooler.
The 11-year-old Prairie School student, who recently founded a nonprofit organization, is definitely going places — and she plans to do it with water.
Shritha’s passion for water began in third grade when she tested streams from local water sources in school. Her interest continued and, in fourth grade, she created her own water filtration system using a Gatorade bottle.
“Water scarcity is such a big problem in our world right now,” Shritha said. “We have to preserve water as long as we can.”
As Shritha began studying and researching more about water, she quickly realized that many people around the planet did not have access to clean water.
“I just find it really unfair that we can just turn on our tap and we get clean water that we can just drink, but other kids and other people around the world have to walk miles just to get water — and it’s still not fresh and you can’t just drink it,” Shritha said. “You have to boil it and do different preparations to get it ready to cook, to bathe in or drink.”
Driven to act
Shritha decided she wanted to do something to help the situation. In fifth grade, she approached her parents with the idea of starting a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating others about the importance of clean water.
“From the beginning, she’s always been passionate about something,” Shritha’s father, Pula Reddy, said. “Whatever she does, she wants to do it right and then go on.”
“She’s a hard worker,” Shritha’s mother Sabitha Reddy said. “If she wants to do something, she will drive through. She’s very organized.”
Shritha started an organization called SHOW (Start Helping Our Wateresources), and a week and a half after applying, it received nonprofit status. The organization’s mission includes “everything from educating others about the importance of clean water to actually building clean water resources around us such as wells, filtration systems, etc.,” SHOW’s website states.
“I just want everyone to have equal rights to get clean water,” Shritha said. “That’s the main passion driving me towards kick-starting SHOW and getting it to work out.”
Shritha plans to use her nonprofit organization to make a real difference in the world.
“When I’m looking into the future, the more funds I get, the bigger the projects are going to get,” she said. “In the end, I want to be able to go around the world and build wells.”
And her ambition and passion is being noticed. Shritha’s been asked to be a presenter in the “Ripples Make Waves: World Water Day” Virtual Youth Summit, which will be held March 22 of next year.
Her next goal is to use SHOW to benefit the Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization (HALO), where she has volunteered since fourth grade.
“When I was creating the name of the organization, I wanted to choose a name that connects to how I’m going to raise funds,” Shritha said. “So, SHOW is going to host shows.”
Fundraiser at RTG
To help her raise the funds necessary to install two filtered water fountains at HALO, Shritha will merge two passions — water and dance — in a fundraiser show featuring dance and musical numbers performed by Shritha and her friends.
The show will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Racine Theater Guild, 2519 Northwestern Ave. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $7 each, or three tickets for $20 and four tickets for $25. Tickets are available online at www.shownonprofit.org%20" target="_blank">www.shownonprofit.org or at the Mobil gas station at 3700 Spring St.
“You can do something to change the world,” Shritha said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. You just have to drive for it and achieve it.”
"You can do something to change the world. It doesn't matter how old you are. You just have to drive for it and achieve it."
— Shritha Reddy, founder of SHOW