We had the good fortune of connecting with Isabelle and Katherine Adams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isabelle and Katherine, what do you attribute your success to?
Paper For Water’s success over the years is driven by the fact that people can very easily relate to our mission, the people we impact, and the volunteers who do the work. Everyone at some point in their life has been thirsty. It is usually not a pleasant experience. It is not hard to imagine what it would be like to always be thirsty and you wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Water access is foundational to all the other good works that people want to accomplish in developing countries. You can’t live without water. You can’t grow food without water. You can’t wash your hands and prevent diseases without water. You can’t keep a job if you can’t clean your body after a hard days work. You can’t go to school if you don’t have access to water. Our volunteer base is made up of predominantly youth but we have volunteers of all ages. It is inspirational to see young kids working so hard for other people. This positive message of generosity is counter to the generalized media message that our youth want handouts or are lazy or are only engaged in video games and the internet. It provides people with hope for the future when they read or see that our volunteers are so engaged in trying to make life better for people they don’t even know.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As a non-profit business, we are unique. We blend a model of youth empowerment, corporate and donor engagement that we don’t see duplicated elsewhere. Paper For Water grabs youth and provides them with a meaningful way to give back that is both tangible and reproducible. In this day and age with liability being such a concern for most volunteer organizations, Paper For Water provides volunteer work that other organizations like Habitat or the Salvation Army can’t duplicate. Our youth volunteers have volunteered so many hours that 8 youth were awarded Presidential Volunteer Service Awards this year, even youth as young as 10! We are also able to engage corporations in volunteer service days that allow almost 100% participation. Because of medical issues or weather or transportation, other volunteer service opportunities for corporations can’t get everyone involved but Paper For Water does and HR loves that!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
From the airport we’d take them straight to dinner at Tei Tei on Henderson because all our friends love sushi and that’s just such a great place to go. From Tei Tei we could walk through Vickery Place to Lower Greenville and Steel City Pops for dessert. And from Steel City Pops we’d head home, grab the car and drive to White Rock Lake T&P Hill for a nice little evening stroll in the cool breezes of the lake. Next morning after a great bacon, cheddar, and jalapeno croissant from the Boulangerie on Lower Greenville we’d go down to the Crow Collection of Asian Art to view the beautiful Paper For Water installation in their gift shop. We’d grab a quick snack at one of the food trucks by Klyde Warren Park and pop over to the Gabriel Mueller Samurai Museum to see what new pieces they were showcasing. Then we’d walk to the Perot Museum and enjoy a couple of hours there. We’d grab lunch at El Fenix downtown and then walk back to our car and take them up to the Galleria Mall and show them where our butterfly installation above the skating rink was. From the Galleria we’d take them over to Talulah and HESS and show them our latest ornaments for sale there. And lastly we’d dine at The Porch because they are such huge supporters of Paper For Water.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people we would like to highlight. Our volunteers, our donors, our corporate sponsors all do so much for us and provide us daily with encouragement and the energy to keep going. One story to highlight is from one of our partner organizations, Dig Deep. Their Chief Relations Officer, Annie Lascoe, traveled to Dallas for a corporate meeting we had with Kimberly Clark. She is always so energetic and kind and after this particular trip she sent Isabelle and Katherine some books. One of them was “The Education of an Idealist” by Samantha Powers. It was an incredibly inspirational book about the power of persistence. We are so grateful that Annie is part of our community!
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherine-adams-90992812a/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabelle-adams-4b9270125/